Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Women I Admire: My Daughter and Messages on a Wall

Several years ago, I was at a Relief Society mid-week activity that my cousin spoke at. She is married to one of my older cousins and actually was one of my Young Women's leaders growing up. She talked about body image and the way we see ourselves. She told us to close our eyes and imagine walking along a road. I imagined the road, long and empty, cutting through an expanse of yellow and orange dust. Then she said to imagine we came to a wall. We can't get around this wall. Our Savior is standing there. He reaches out and writes something on the wall. What does he write?

She never told us what the Savior would write. In my self-destructive way, I'd been harboring feelings of inadequacy and worthlessness. Up to that point, I'd only berated myself for falling short of the ideals she'd spoke of. To my surprise, when I imagined what my Savior would write on my wall, it wasn't chastisement.

He wrote, "I Love You."

My baby is three months now. The messages she gets are mostly from me. I try so hard to write "I love you" on her wall. I see another Young Women's leader and hear her voice as she spoke of her four young daughters. "I try to never criticize myself in front of them. I don't want them see themselves like that." Its hard, but that is what I'm trying to do as well.

I recently reconnected with another leader from my teenage years. It got me to thinking about these women God put in my life and the messages they wrote on my walls. I didn't always believe them, but they never gave up.

At girls camp one year, a leader came for only a day. Before she left that night, she sang to us. She wrote "You are a daughter of God." across my wall. I believed it then, but doubts slipped in. Months later, at another event, she sang again. Tears spilled down my face as she looked in my eyes and re-etched her message. "Walk tall, you're a daughter, a child of God."

My leaders wrote other messages.

"You're important." When she tracked me down when I didn't show up to one of my very first young women's activities when I was only twelve.

"I trust you." When she let me watch her babies for the entire summer, five years in row.

"You have something to give." When she asked me to sing a solo, even though I wasn't very good at singing.

"God Loves You." Over and over again. "You are his daughter."

The world was writing their own messages. Messages about how tall I was, how wide I was, the size of my feet, the number of pimples on my face. Messages about the times I failed, lost, or came up short. Messages that screamed across my wall.

But when I came to that imaginary wall all those years later and faced my Savior, the messages that stayed were the messages that mattered. The ones that were the truth.

He wrote, "I love you."

And now the messages of these leaders are being written in my daughter's life. "You are beautiful," I tell her. "I love you." "I want you." The women I admired as a young girl are changing my baby's life.

Others will write across my daughter's wall. Some will try to destroy her with lies. But then she will go to Young Women's. She will go to girls camp. She will meet beautiful women God has placed there just for her. They will tell her the truth. They will re-etch across her wall. I pray between us, we will be enough. I pray that when she reaches her own walls, she will also find her Savior, and, with faith burning in her heart, she will already know what He will write.

3 comments:

  1. This was so neat. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love this! I've never really thought about it, and I wouldn't have been able to put it into words, but I can really relate to this post. Thank you!!

    ReplyDelete