I’d say I was about 11 when my Mum gave me my first tube of mascara. It seems awfully young to start wearing makeup but in my mind, I was risking certain social rejection if I didn’t go to school with cherry coloured Lip-Smacker. I’m sure my Mum battled with making the right decision on when and how to go about embracing this rite of passage with me. After all, body image is one of the biggest issues that women in our world face daily and my sudden request for makeup was probably igniting a passion within her to teach me to love what God had blessed me with and embrace my uniqueness. In all honesty, I just couldn’t bare another day showing up to school without the Lip-Smacker – the Fidget Spinners of year 5 circa 2002 – a social currency. I am grateful to my Mum for the way she chose to introduce wearing makeup to me (go Mum). She wrapped up a tube of clear mascara (I know, you’re thinking “what’s the point”) and a Lip-Smacker (the hero) and showed me how to put on makeup while reminding me of my best physical features and inner attributes. Instead of using phrases like “use this to cover that blemish” she chose to say “enhance your wonderful cheek bones”. She convinced me that the clear mascara was all I needed because I already had wonderful lashes (plus I’d be safe from the dreaded “panda eye”). While it meant little to me then, I realize the significance of her carefully chosen words in encouraging a good self-image in me. Our daughters are growing up in a society obsessed with selling a lie that we need the latest new product to be beautiful. There is no escaping the pull towards chasing love and acceptance through altering our physical appearance and material possessions. We’ve re-packaged the ‘perfect’ female figure over and over with phrases like “bikini-body” or “summer ready” and on a daily basis, we (mothers) forget that our girls are standing right behind us, watching as we battle our own self doubt in the mirror. When the time comes and our daughters ask for makeup, we’re suddenly awoken to the importance of treading this territory carefully but sometimes a little too late? I look back on that encounter with my Mother as an 11 year old with such gratefulness for the way she navigated that conversation with me, yet, when I think about my self image as an adult I find that I struggle with the same insecurities that my Mum faced. When she complained that a dress fit a little too snug around her middle in the Myer change room – I took a mental note. When she teased her hair at the roots and sprayed it with extra strong hairspray because her hair was “limp and dull” – I took a mental note – in fact, I now buy exactly the same brand of hairspray and do my hair the same way. Our words, matched with our actions, are vital in shaping the next generation. 1 Peter 3:3-4 says: “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Rather 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.” We know it. We want our daughters to know it. But do we believe it ourselves? This week, the Holy Spirit has challenged me to immerse myself in my Word. I’m allowing His voice to speak deeply to my Spirit in the hope that my spirit will be quiet and His spirit will rise; that my words and actions will start to mimic His truth; because there’s a generation of young ladies watching. Sisters, can I encourage you to do the same? Immerse yourself in the truth of who God says you are and work to let this truth be on the tip of your tongue, always. Mothers, for your daughters; daughters, for your friends. Our world doesn’t need another fad-diet or make-up brand. It does, however, need a company of women who can rise in confidence, put on their cherry Lip-Smacker and proclaim . . . “I am more precious than rubies” (Proverbs 3:15), “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139) and I was “born for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14).