About the Author

Jen encourages women to embrace both the beauty and bedlam of their everyday lives at BeautyandBedlam.com. A popular speaker, worship leader, and author of Just Open the Door: How One Invitation Can Change a Generation, Jen lives in North Carolina with her husband, five children, and a sofa for anyone...

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  1. Fabulous post…as a mom of a 6 yr. old, though these issues appear to be far away, they are really not…thanks for this!!

  2. This hits so close to home for me. i am fixing to turn 50 and I still struggle socially because of the way I was trained by my peer group to think of myself. if kids only understood how much they can hurt or help others with their words and actions towards others. Thankfully I have found my true identity in Christ and that makes all the difference. However I do continue to struggle with interacting with people in the social context of life. If only everyone could see themselves and others through the eyes of God. Cathy

  3. Yes, such a blessing with age & time & a few wrinkles…we get to taste God’s tender truth of His generous love for us.
    And oh, doesn’t the mommy-heart ache with longing to impart that to our children! Seventh grade, 8th, 9th…and still, her angst trickles forth with tears: “am I pretty enough? do I fit in? does anyone really like me?”
    And His answer, if I can help her listen: “Precious one! You are My Beloved!”

    Thanks for your gentle words of truth, Jennifer!

  4. Wow! Beautiful post. This is where my heart is – middle & high school girls ministry. Their hearts are so fragile, and that age can be so tough. I remember it, and I’ll never forget it. It’s amazing that when it all boils down, all of us woman have the same thoughts and worries regardless of age. I never thought of it that way – thank you for sharing!

  5. God’s grace and your time are awesome.
    As I view this, our 7th grader- to- be in a few months is also reading your entry on another laptop by me.
    I struggle daily with the harm caused by mean spirited young girls to each other. I am so trying to balance my own thoughts as I observe our church circle of girls interact with teachable moments. Trying not to pass along my own judgementalism and cloud her discernment of the actions of her peers.
    The evil one desires to break us down at any age. We must not let him do so!
    I myself experience many of these issues with my own “friends.” Currently as a family we are questioning friendships of many years. Filled with attached clear fishing wire strings and ladden with rejection, unkindness, blatant disregard for requests of help.
    I have fell my frustrations and dissappointments are road blocks causing me to stop and place my focus on God instead of man.
    As I heard a quote from Chuck Colson on Focus on the Family this week, “Fight evil with good.”

    • As I think of a mother/daughter team reading this side by side, it melts me.
      As believers, we are all in this together, but it’s amazing how even in our own circle, those choices and actions range so much.
      Thanks for your words.

      (P.S. Chuck Colson is a wise, wise man. :))

  6. Wonderful post. You could not pay me to repeat the 7th grade! Oh I just wince when I think of the real pain that entailed. One thing I will say though, how on earth do those girls all look so pulled together!! I sure never did when I was their age. 🙂 Beautiful photo of beautiful hearts!

  7. I read this and remember where I was just two years ago and I am now 34 years old….so it carries on for years but the good news is I found my true confidence in Jesus and it’s amazing how much he transforms us! Being a stay-at-home mother and running a daycare in my home has allowed me to share Jesus and his love even with “babies”! I think what kids learn growing up and see is what they carry with them. I think prayer and example of Jesus is what is going to show our future generation how to be more confident! Thanks for your posts! I just found this blog and I am truly already blessed by it:)

  8. This post is priceless. Thank you. It will have me deep in thought and prayer tonight.

  9. the one who deceives does not like this one. i am unable to post or to send as a message.

  10. Thanks for this post. I lead a small group of girls this age. I am looking for a “study” for us to do on these very topics. Can you make a recommendation?

  11. I loved this post! As I scanned 51 “Balancing Beauty” posts in my Google Reader (I am SO behind) I was actually thinking about how I miss some of the personal stories and mom-of-6 wisdom you wrote about in your early days. Then I stumbled upon this post. Love it. Exactly the reason I began reading you so long ago. XOXOX