Friday, May 14

the seasonal heart changeover

Living with a large family in a beautiful area of the country that has four distinct seasons has required a twice a year task commonly known as the seasonal clothing changeover.  It's like we all have two distinct sets of clothing - one is for when the winter temperatures submerge below zero for weeks which keeps our home very chilly and one is for when our Northern bodies sweat with a little humidity as the temperatures climb into the 80's.  

Through the years this task has varied.  It wasn't too bad when we only had a couple of kids and very few hand-me-downs from others.  And it wasn't too bad when the following four boys arrived because it just meant bumping clothing around between closets, drawers, and brothers (and purchasing new pants for winter because of the lack of knees in the hand-me-downs!).  We are to the tail end of boys now and their high school clothing requirements are pretty simple as their wardrobe consists of lots of t-shirts and a new pair or two of jeans when they grow a couple more inches which means there really is no changeover required of them.  But I tell you, these last three girls may put me over the edge....

Now girls aren't difficult when they are little because their mom just dresses them totally in pink with every outfit after having so many boys in the house.  But those little girls tend to grow up and their tastes develop in a totally different way than the boys of the house.  Clothing suddenly becomes about color, style, feel, fit, and a host of other things which I'll never understand.  And I've handled that pretty well so far with the two girls who have totally different tastes in color, but as we began this task yesterday I noticed a new shift.  My littlest who has been so easy going about clothing and simply adored every item of clothing she had plus every item her older sisters had been wearing, well, she suddenly has become a little more particular.  I almost didn't notice that shift as I was feeling sooooo sad about how much she's grown and all those wonderful clothes from last summer that will definitely not fit this summer.  Pretty dresses, matching sets of shorts and shirts, little sandals...all being boxed up for my granddaughter.  But then when I was piling up all her older sister's things in anticipation of boxing it all up for when she gets bigger, she suddenly spoke up and told me all the things she didn't want passed down to her.  She didn't like the color of that shirt or the buttons on that skirt or the neck on that sweater. YIKES!  I was totally unprepared for her to already start becoming opinionated about clothing. Fortunately she is still quite girly so my heart calmed almost as quickly as she is keeping a majority of what her sister passed down.  Whew!  

It does make me wonder how much listening to her older sisters influences her likes and dislikes of clothing since she's typically a pretty easy going little girl.  And it does make me wonder even more how much the world around them influences my girls in general when it comes to their looks.  They are growing up in an entirely different culture than what I grew up in as a young girl.  The crazed media is full of airbrushed beauties whether in print, in movies, on the internet, or basically everywhere!  As females we are quick to compare ourselves with the thousand of images that we see daily.  Images which appear real but in fact are unreal as photography takes on a whole new dimension through the use of computer photography techniques and 'actions'.  

Oh how my mother's heart aches to spare them the pain of comparisons!  How my heart longs for them to discover how meaningless all the outside stuff is and how meaningful all the inside stuff is since the heart is the only thing God our Creator seeks!

"Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." ~ I Samuel 16:7b

It is God who our hearts should seek to please, not man. How important it is as a mother to model this before my young daughters.

"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes.  Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight." ~ First Peter 3:3-4

As a mother I need to daily seek that which is of great worth in God's sight for that is where the unfading beauty lies and where only true peace and contentment can be found.  With His help, may I instill that same seeking in the hearts of my daughters!

Tammy ~@~

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