Lydia is trying to find herself.
One day last week, Lydia and I had a talk about the clothes she chooses to wear. She has, shall I say, eclectic tastes. And that is not only fine with me, I find it precious. She has, up until now, had an adorable self-forgetfulness when it comes to getting dressed. Two clashing stripe patterns? So what? They’re both pretty – why not wear them together? Snow boots and capri pants – why not?
I decided that I wanted to teach her what “matching” means, not to dictate her wardrobe, by any means. I wanted to teach her the “rules” of matching, so that if she still chooses to break the rules, at least she knows them.
I told her that our clothes are supposed to reflect who we are on the inside, and how we feel. I told her that I feel very like a fairy or an elf, so I like to wear pretty floral or leafy patterns and prefer earthy tones. I like little girly touches – a ruffle here, a gather or button there. And dangly earrings. That those clothes make me look on the outside the way I feel on the inside.
I told her that if she chooses, on purpose, NOT to match her clothes, that it’s fine. If she feels all stripey today, she should wear stripes, and to heck with the “rules”!
Poor thing teared up a little.
“Mom,” she sniffled, “I’m not really sure what I feel like on the inside.”
Guess I started this discussion prematurely, even though I tried to make sure she understood that what she wears isn’t really important, that it’s who she is as a person that counts. Sigh…
I held her and told her most people don’t really know who they are on the inside until they’re already grown up. That she has her whole life to try and figure that out. That Mommy didn’t really figure it out until my twenties, and that now that I really know more about myself, it’s much easier to decide each day what to wear.
She seemed comforted, and went on her merry way.
I didn’t hear another word about it from her until this morning, when we were getting ready for church.
“Mom, I don’t really have any clothes that tell how I feel on the inside,” she tearfully told me this morning.
“Really?” I said, “I thought you had a few things you really love to wear. What about those?”
“Well, those are nice, and I do like them.” She paused, thinking. “But Mom, I really just feel piratey on the inside, and I don’t really have any piratey clothes.”
By the grace of God, I didn’t burst out laughing at this very real dilemma my precious girl was having. Apparently, she has been processing what we talked about, and really trying to figure out who she is.
I told her that next time we go shopping, we can look for clothes that she thinks are more piratey, but that I think she has lots of things right now that are very “Lydia-ish.” The animal print shirt she has on today, for example, is very fitting for my little wild-child. She smiled and agreed, and seemed pretty happy about my attempt to help her feel a little better.
Who knew that seven-year-olds were capable of this kind of struggle? I certainly didn’t, but I’m glad I was the one she came to.
What a privilege to be a mother. I never knew it would take me to the very depths of my heart and character to try and lovingly guide these precious souls.
Who wouldn’t want this job?
Even as I’m writing this post, Audrey came up to me, and tearfully admitted that, “Sometimes, I feel weird because when I look at my face, I don’t think I’m very pretty.” She buried her face in my chest and cried – and I cried with her. She’s six!
She told me that she feels that way a lot, and I was able to share with her that this is just one lie the enemy of our souls will try to tell us to keep our hearts from the truth that every soul is beautiful, because we are each made in the image of God – fearfully and wonderfully.
I’m praying the truth takes root in their hearts, and blooms into humble confidence based on their identity in Christ – and not the arbitrary, changeable standards of the world.
Again – what a privilege to be the one Audrey opened up to. She came to me for reassurance and help. I don’t know how long this will last, but I hope I earn the privilege of being their confidant for the rest of their lives.
May God equip me thoroughly to guide my daughters into a place where the joy of their salvation is enough.
Grace & Peace,