My birthday is coming up next month and I am just so thankful for all the blessings in my life through the years. There have been lean years and fat years but God has always provided.
Also, as I reach my travel through my mid-thirties, I am prompted to think about how powerful it can be to encourage young women and teen girls.
At that young age they are especially searching for ways to define themselves and trying to decide what to believe. The teenage years can be a confusing and scary as they struggle with the many physical, emotional, and hormonal changes that take place at this time in their life. On top of that, the world has a message and a path it’s inviting them to walk, but that message stands on uneven ground and that path is one of compromise and false promises. What truth do they need to hear?
“The suicide rate among teen girls reached a 40-year high in 2015. Researchers found a substantial increase in suicides among teen girls and boys in the U.S. from 1975 to 2015, with the rate among girls hitting a record high. From 2007 to 2015 alone, suicide rates doubled among teen girls and by more than 30 percent among teen boys.” (Rachel Lewis, TimeHealth.com, August 4, 2017.
If there was ever an urgent time to reach out to young women and girls now is the time! They need us.
I remember a time when I was a youngster in the grocery store checkout line with my mom. The lady behind the counter (probably in her twenties), noticed me and said something to me that impacted the way I felt about myself for the rest of my life. You see, I had lots of freckles on my face (and still do). I was always told that my freckles were angel kisses, but I just couldn’t decide if they were actually angelic blessings or not! Most everyone else I knew had clear, one toned skin. A spotless face just seemed to be the image of the beauty on every magazine.
The young woman looked at me and smiled. “Oh, I love your freckles. Do you have them on your shoulders too? Because, guys really like that.” She said in a playful tone. “They love girls with freckles.”
I was ten and didn’t understand everything she implied about “guys liking freckles”, but what she said stuck with me because she had freckles too and thought they were they were just so special.
Every time after that when I started to think that my freckles were ugly, I remember that beautiful girl who looked just like me and who told me just what I needed to hear. Her words would encourage and cheer me as I grew into a woman. She is one of the women in my life that have helped shape who I am today. Because of her and people like her, I can say with confidence that “I am a girl with freckles and there is nothing wrong with that! In fact, my freckles are beautiful. I am beautiful.”
So as I create the cards and messages for February, I am going to try to focus more on the how we can inspire and encourage the women in our lives, especially the young ones. Is there a young woman or teen that you can reach out to? You don’t have to know who they are, you just have to tell them something special. To those you do know, how can you tell and show them that they are valuable and precious? How can you show and tell them that they can have hope and peace in Jesus?