Slowly stirring the brownie mix at our kitchen island, I listened carefully to the delicate conversations occurring in our living room. It was our church’s middle school discipleship weekend, and our family hosted a group of ten seventh-grade girls in our home for two days.
One can only imagine how this house came to life. It was so loud — the rooms echoed with laughter, hope, and questions. All the questions. Around small groups, we pondered the topic of relationships: relationships with family, friends, boys, authority figures, and yes, frenemies. I witnessed girls’ hearts grow more tender to Jesus, but who also struggled to understand the foundational truth of their identity in Christ.
Do you remember those middle school years (or maybe more experiences jump out to you from high school)? So many tangled emotions. Feeling disconnected and uncertain. Everything seemed so complicated, pressured, and overwhelming. Friendships especially were a most sensitive matter.
Words mark us for decades, don’t they? They drip deep into the marrow of who we are and when we least expect it, the negative memories surface and challenge the truth about ourselves.
As I continued stirring those brownies, the girls shared around their intimate circle. By opening our home, they were able to open their hearts. I sat honored, yet burdened with their stories of struggle.
This new social media savvy generation deals with failures on such a heightened level. When I was in seventh grade, the slight verbal gossip behind one’s back stung, but only a handful might hear it. Today, gossip and personal opinions top internet statuses. Humiliation is public fodder, while fragile emotions erupt amidst ruined reputations in the wake of the all-knowing cyber world.
I continued to listen. Their list of worries tumbled out . . . comparison, loneliness, popularity, bullying, self-image, self-worth.
“I’ll never be as good. Everyone likes her more. I wish I had a friend like that.”
These were no longer seventh-grade girls voicing immature concerns. These were the heart cries of women of all ages. Struggles whispered throughout the generations. These voices might be younger, but the track being played is the same whether twelve or seventy-two.
How do we break the bondage of lies that start so young?
I could feel my momma bear rise up with fighting words towards the master manipulator, this father of lies. The enemy is cunning. He reaches across multigenerational plains and plants seeds of inadequacy at such a young age, but he doesn’t stop there. Those seeds fester and roots burrow deep and destroy across the decades. I still allow doubt to divide my heart. How can we counter this? I’m sure my questions echo yours, echoing the hearts of women everywhere.
There’s only one place for answers.
The girls and I turned there together. We opened God’s Word and explored verses that identified who we are in Christ. My heart cried out. Do they understand the power in these truths? Do we?
The only life-affirming, life-giving, life-changing way to counteract lies is with God’s truth. The only way.
The brownies had cooled by now. Their stomachs followed their noses as the chocolaty aroma filled the air. I knew they’d demolish them in moments, but as I cut each square, I claimed God’s truths for their lives, for my life, for my children’s, and yes, for yours.
This weekend was about more than just a social bonding time (although I am all about that). It was about feeding tummies, and souls, and encouraging a lifelong love affair with our Savior.
The weekend impacted me. I needed the same reminders.
Through the eyes of seventh-grade girls, I saw struggles that mimicked my own. I’m grateful that decades of experience now assure me that as we cling to His truth, lies are thwarted. When we walk in our identity as true image bearers of the most High God, everything changes.
So let’s allow these precious fighting words I shared with the girls to anoint us as we walk forward in His truth:
Lord, You make no mistakes. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalms 139:14)
I am accepted because I am Your daughter, (Galatians 4:6-7) complete in You, (Colossians 2:10) chosen and appointed to bear fruit. (John 15:16)
Lord, I am beautiful because You are beautiful and I am made in Your image. (Genesis 1:27)
I have been redeemed and forgiven (Colossians 1:14), free from condemnation (Romans 8:1-2), and any charge against me. (Romans 8:31-34)
Lord, I can find grace and mercy in You in my time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)
My personal list continues, but can we share more in the comments? Which one do you need as a balm for your soul? To be repeated often. For me, it’s “I am accepted.” No matter how on the fringe I feel, I am accepted because He knows me, and His love never wavers. Thank You, Jesus.
A few years ago, Jen created life giving truth reminders for her children. She thought you might enjoy these free printables too. Tuck them everywhere you need reminders of who you are and whose you are. If we don’t live loved and model it for the next generation, who will?