Walking through the mall, my daughters and I are subjected to the sight of eight foot tall women in their underwear gazing at us seductively. “How strange that this has become normal,” I find myself thinking.
I run into a store to find a watch battery and we again find ourselves looking at more almost naked women peering from a store window. After only a few minutes in the store I come out to see that Kevin has moved our van so it is not pointed in the direction of the lewd women. I know that it is something that he is very sensitive to our sons being exposed to. I am thankful that he takes this seriously, and when we go shopping in the grocery store, he even takes our sons out of the store instead of having them stand at the check out counter with the magazines at face level.
It is easy to see how destructive this sexualization of women is on our sons and husbands. Men are tempted to see women as objects of lust and there is a lack of value and cherishing. Even godly men are facing the temptation to lust almost continuously, and pornography use in the church is reaching epidemic proportions.
What is more subtle, is the damaging effect that this is having on us and our daughters. Women are struggling with near constant feelings of inadequacy. We are being inundated with images of supposed perfection and there is no way to measure up. I remember Planned Parenthood coming into our school when I was a teen. The message was “everyone is having sex, make it safe.” Everyone was given condoms and the effect of that demonstration was profound on our class. Just another thing that had to be done to fit in. Sadly, we were lied to. Sex isn’t safe outside of a monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner, but nobody told us that.
It was around that time that I refused to have pictures taken of me. I was so filled with insecurity that I couldn’t bear the thought of a permanent record of myself. I hid when anyone brought out a camera. This went on for a couple years. I find it sadly humorous now looking back on the few pictures that survived that time. I wasn’t the hideous monster that I felt I must be.
I realize that there are still some lingering feelings of inadequacy that I struggle with. My husband isn’t profuse with his compliments, but once in a while he will say to me, “You are so beautiful,” and his words sometimes make me cry. It is difficult for me to accept that I might be beautiful in my husband’s eyes. I have spent too many years feeling like I don’t measure up.
There is a place that I go for healing though, at the foot of my King. I can go to God and pour out all my feelings of worthlessness and insecurity, and in my heart I feel Him say, that I am beautiful in His sight. I know that it is not for who I am or what I have done, but because of the blood of Jesus that makes me clean, pure and lovely. I am His beloved bride and with great joy I realize that there are no conditions to His love. I rise feeling ready to shine as the woman that I was created to be.