Creating Shelter



Blog Bash

I missed my one year blogging anniversary so am excited for the chance to celebrate with the Blog Bash Link Up!  I chose this post as my favorite because it’s the one that still resonates with me.  Also, the one year anniversary of the Joplin tornado is coming up soon and I wanted to pick a post that wasn’t tornado related.  Because this year has been about so much more than that stinkin’ tornado.  It’s been about creating shelter in more ways than one.

The messages swirl around our culture mercilessly like debris in a tornado striking without discretion or compassion.

Your clothes are not good enough.
Your hair is not perfect enough.

I look at my two beautiful daughters and, knowing the hits will come, I try to build them a shelter out of words like brave, strong, smart, creative, kind, fearfully and wonderfully made — loved.

There’s something wrong with the color of your skin.
There’s something wrong with your body.

I build their shelters so words of hate and lies will bounce off them like debris off a storm shelter.

You are fat.
You are ugly.

And I stand watch. I watch for signs that the debris has left damage already. Because even the strongest shelter has points of weakness.

You are stupid.
You are worthless.

So as my seven-year-old daughter studied herself in the mirror and sucked in her breath, I tried to find all those words I’d practiced for this moment:

Our bodies are wonderful — they are strong and miraculous.
There is no such thing as perfect.
We are so much more than a body or a shape.
You are truly breath-taking and my eyes fill up with tears watching you because you are so, so beautiful.

But instead I simply asked, “Emily, what are you doing?”

She replied, “I’m trying to fly.”

While I thought I was seeing a little girl searching for worth in a mirror, I was actually watching a girl lost in potential and imagination.

While I prepared to repair and rebuild her shelter, I realized instead that she is my shelter. Because no matter what messages the world flings at me of unworthiness or less-ness, I am loved by this wonderful, joyful, beautiful child.

All the rest of it is just rubble.

And if this year has taught me anything, it’s what to do to with rubble.

14 thoughts on “Creating Shelter

  1. It is so wonderful when we can strip the layers of grime and reality that we bring along when we seek to understand our own children. Underneath, so often what we find is so pure, so light. BTW, I found you via RAS Jacobsen’s link on Facebook.

      1. Oh! I am honored, and so happy that I found you and your blog! Your post yesterday really made me stop and think–in a good way!

  2. OH WOW, what a wonderful moment you chose to describe – how we as moms sometimes take it all “too seriously” and worry too much when all they’re trying to do really, is fly. (-:
    Well done! Bravo – I loved this.
    Thank you SO much for choosing it to link up today at Blog Bash!

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