Beauty Words or Wounds?


“Wow, she’s got great hair!” she told me.

We were strangers, but the color of this beautiful African American woman’s skin matched that of my daughter’s so that made us kin. Standing at the finish line of our sons’ cross country race, we waited while our little girls giggled together.

I was thrilled that I’d passed the “white momma with an African baby” test. I’d been prepared by African American friends and others who’ve adopted African children that I might get stopped by a well-meaning sister. And she might give me a talking-to if I’m toting Aster around with hair that looks like her momma doesn’t know what she’s doing.

I’ve taken my assignment as hairdresser seriously. You should see me chasing my girl down to spritz her hair with water and smooth out her curls with lotion before we go ANY where.

The woman who had just complimented Aster then looked down at her 4-year old daughter and said, “I wish you had hair like that instead of that nappy mess.”

I nearly died. I wanted to tell her not to say those words. But I knew better. So I just bent down and looked into that precious little girl’s eyes and said, “YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!! Wow, you are so pretty! And I LOVE your dress!”

I so want to help my girl see the beauty God gave her. I know I’ll mess up. I’m sure we’ll all make a big deal out of something that makes our girl feel like she isn’t pretty enough. But oh with God’s help, I pray we’ll remember that our daughters see their beauty through our eyes and our words.

I have no doubt that mom loves her child. She probably wasn’t thinking, or maybe she was repeating something someone had said to her. Hurt people hurt people, right? Makes me wonder what I risk repeating.

This made me pray for all us momma’s, that we’ll bestow beauty words and not inflict what my friend Shari calls “beauty wounds.” And if we do, let’s ask Jesus to cover our offense with His love and give us words to affirm our girls’ beauty-seeking hearts.

I’ve learned that it’s a cultural thing for African and African Americans to emphasize a woman’s beauty by the length and softness of her hair. As a momma of an African girl who may one day wish her’s was straight like mine, I’m going to do all I can to make sure she knows that I love her hair!!

Pretty

 

Poofy
Curly
or…. Crazy!
I might even write a song about it… (you’ve got to see this precious video!)

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=enpFde5rgmw?fs=1]

Is that not the cutest thing? Aster loves it! It was written by Joey Mazzarino, Sesame Street’s head writer and Muppeteer, for his 5-year-old daughter Segi. His family adopted Segi from Ethiopia when she was one. Mazzarino, who is Italian, wrote it after noticing Segi playing with dolls and acting like she wanted hair like theirs. He wanted her to know HE loves her hair! He also said he’s happy to report his daughter loves the song — and her hair.

I wonder if it’s because her daddy sang words of love, laughter and affirmation over her. What a beautiful thing!

You know sweet friend, your Father thinks you’re beautiful! He loves your hair, eyes, nose, freckles, wrinkles, legs, feet, fluffy tummy, hips…everything! In fact. He’s so crazy about you He makes up and sings songs about you, too.

“The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17
Oh, that we would dance to our Father’s songs of deliverance from our insecurities. Letting Him speak beauty words into our beauty wounds. Then let’s sing songs of confidence over our daughters and friends. For our hearts will hear and so will theirs’ as we listen and look to our Father who thinks we’re beautiful!
About Renee

Renee Swope is a Word-lover, story-teller, heart-encourager and grace-needer. She's also a wife, mom, friend, daughter and author of A Confident Heart, a Retailers Choice Award winning book that became a best-seller and has been published in six languages, with over 150,000 copies sold. Renee is speaks around the country at women's events and and serves on the writing team for DaySpring’s inCourage blog. For twenty years, Renee served in leadership at Proverbs 31 Ministries and as former co-host of the ministry's radio program, “Everyday Life with Lysa & Renee.

Comments

  1. Renee,

    You have such a beautiful little girl! : ) I loved this post.

    My older daughter is in the third grade and is just entering that phase of wondering if she is "enough"- especially pretty enough.

    I'm trying to show her how beautiful she is, and how proud I am of her, but I'm always afraid of saying the wrong thing or passing on my own baggage.

    I'm so thankful that I don't have to parent alone and that help is there when I need it. I know I do say the wrong things or mess up as a mom, but I'm also so thankful I can pray, "Lord, please cover where I fail" and know that He will. : )

  2. Beautiful post! My first thought when I saw the crazy hair picture was of a song my sister in law sang to her daughter about her hair having a party last night – too cute!

  3. Renee,
    This was such a beautiful post. It is so important for our children to hear such beautiful words at an early age and all thru their lives.
    I see so many hurting women and I think so much of it goes back to our childhood. Your daughter is so beautiful. I love the verse Zephania 3:17. I don't have girls, I have boys. I have been blessed to see them become godly young men.

  4. Thanks so much for this wonderful post. I've been thinking on the issue of beauty also lately and had a post on my blog about that very topic last week. In this day and age us mommas have to fight with everything we have to show our girls that they don't have to live up to the world's standard of beauty. May the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts bless the Lord AND our daughters hearts. Thanks for an important reminder to us all:)

  5. That was so sweet…that the Sesame Street writer wrote that for his little girl and God sings songs over us. He likes my fluffy tummy :o)

    Thank you. You are precious to adopt a little girl, love her and be a guard over how she feels about her intrinsic beauty.

  6. Hi–
    Thank you for this post. I was once a little girl that wished she was taller, slimmer, prettier–according to the way the world sees, not as God sees. I am slowly learning how to let God heal those "beauty wounds" and remember that I am His work, being shaped for HIS purpose.

    I needed this desperately today.
    Love,
    Lisa

  7. Oh, I love how you connected that verse with the video from Sesame Street. How tender…that daddy wrote that song for his little girl who he adores just as she is…and our Daddy sings songs He has written over us, the ones He adores just as we are. I really love that, Renee.

    I pray for my daughters that they will know how beautiful they are, that they will know that the King is enthralled with their beauty.

    And thanks for sharing all of those precious, precious pictures! 🙂 She is such a cutie-pie!

  8. Thanks my dear I needed that. Love and blessings

  9. Thanks my dear I needed that. Love and blessings

  10. Renee,

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful post. As an African American woman with a young daughter, I so related to your conversation with your friend. I get the impression that a lot of women have feelings (good and bad) about their hair, their body, their looks… and then pass these insecurities on to our daughters, nieces, and neighbors. Thank you for reminding us all of where true beauty comes from: it comes from the God who created us.

  11. Well said from the heart. I have had to stop my sisters, mil and others with picking on my 5yr daugther. They mean no harm, you see she has lots of "junk" in the trunk and I mean lots and they pick on her about it but they all think her figure and bottom is just precious. However one she started talking about herself being fat and having a fat bottom. Now she is one that lacks NO self confidence but I know things like this at an early age can imprint and change her confidence. I spoke words to her about how God made us all different and he and we all think she is beautiful and we shouldn't put judgement on ourselves of being fat or not thinking our body/hair/teeth and what not aren't good enough because after all…. GOD is good and he creates us precious.

  12. i am from Kenya and here, we like to have straight and long hair, the lighter girls are the prettier ones and this post was a beautiful reminder that God loved and so we should love who He made us. thanks Renee, say hallo to your wonderful family.

  13. beautiful words. beauty words. oh Lord, guard my tongue. let me speak beauty!!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for this post. My husband spent the better part of this morning comparing me to other women and pointing out how I fall short. I needed to be reminded that God loves me and He made me the way I am.

  15. Aster is a cover girl! Covered in love from her Father and earthly family. I see great wisdom in what you have learned. We have the priviledge of leaving beauty marks on others as we share His view of us. B

  16. I've stood before the mirror in recent days… naked. Raw vulnerability before the Lord as I touch my scars of what once was… as I run my hands over a scalp where hair once crowned me with warmth and normal.

    It's been a hard look at times, but it's been good. A strong realization of who I am in Christ and that despite the way this cancer is eating away at my flesh, my beauty isn't dependent on its clutch.

    There is a greater grip… my Father's. And I am beautiful in his eyes, perhaps even more so because of my raw exposure.

    I, too, try to affirm my daughter's loveliness. She's not a girly, girl at all, so we work beyond her preferences for everything "not pink" and paint a picture of who she is in Christ.

    Two beautiful women of God walking the road together in truth… me and my daughter.

    Thanks for the affirmation in your words here, Renee. Love you.

    peace~elaine

  17. Sometimes the Lord makes it obvious I am not writing the comment on a blog. Today yours felt like that as I typed it. I had prayed this morning for anointed words. I was asking for the anointing for our radio show but now I realize I should have ask for the anointing for every word out of my mouth ALL day long. (I talk a lot. lol) Isn't that just like the Lord? He gave me MORE to share! I love how He works. Joy! Joy! Joy! B

  18. Anonymous says:

    Anonymous,

    I'm sorry. I also have an insensitive husband who doesn't know how good he's got it… I will be praying for you to see yourself as God sees you… his beautiful princess♥♥♥ You are loved with an everlasting love! You are loveable!

    Sister

  19. Sister,

    Thank you. God bless you.

  20. Excellent post! As an Afican American/Hispanic young woman I must say you are doing excellent with her hair 🙂 keep going! As long as you love her and speak words of life into her sweet little spirit, nothing else matters! 😉

  21. Aster is so beautiful – and you're a beautiful mama! I so enjoy journeying with you all on your blog!

  22. I was just beating myself up for insecurities from the inside… like my need for affirmation that is not recently being met. I was hating that I have this need and thinking it makes me weak. Then, I read your blog and it spoke to me. God made me that way. He likes that I have that need and doesn't want me to feel like it's a bad thing to have. Thanks for your words of encouragement from our Father. Bless your sweet family!

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