She is crying hard, hands over her face, hair falling all around. I sit for a moment, trying to gather my thoughts, finding a place to start. Where did this come from, so suddenly? Youngest is a soggy mess on my lap, the tears that seemed to come from nowhere still rolling down her cheeks.
“Please, tell me again what you’re feeling?”
A long, shuddery sigh, a hiccuping intake of air. “Nobody loves me, Mommy. Nobody thinks I’m smart or good and nobody likes to play with me. I just can’t do anything right!” Fresh sobs take over as she finishes those last, terrible words.
I sigh, wipe tears from her face, hold her tight. I rock her gently on my lap, wait a moment for the sobs to quiet, tilt her little face up to mine. “You know, those things are just not true. I know they seem true right now, I know how real that can feel. But those thoughts are just not true. They are lies that Satan would love you to believe, to make you feel terrible. The only power he has is to lie to you to try and get you to forget the Truth. He loves to whisper those lies in our ears and make us think we aren’t good and we aren’t loved. Those lies can feel very real, can’t they?” She nods, the tears have slowed and she is listening quietly, earnestly.
“Did you know that everyone feels that way sometimes?” A pause, a tiny shake of her head. “Well, everybody does feel like that sometimes. I feel that way and think those same thoughts sometimes. I guess the devil just isn’t very creative with his lies…because I sometimes have to put those very same thoughts right out of my head, too. It must be something he knows will make us stumble because pretty much every girl I know, grown-ups and kids alike, struggles with those very same lies sometimes. They feel so real, but they are nothing but garbage meant to make us feel worthless and useless.”
She is calming now, I can feel her little body relaxing into my lap and her breathing is ragged, but the sobs have stopped. I rest my chin on the top of her head, glad I can still hold her like this and rock her like this. Broken over the fact that this world is so fractured, that it is so easy to lose sight of Truth. I wish I could take these lies and hurl them back to hell, protect my daughters and my friends and all the sisters and mothers and women in my life and myself from these lies that are so easy to believe.
“You know what the truth is, don’t you?” She nods a timid nod, looks to me and waits to hear the words. “The truth is that you are so loved I can’t even start to describe it. I love you with all my heart, and Daddy loves you, and your brother and sister. You have lots of friends who love you and who love to be with you. The truth is, you’re smart and funny and so very creative and you can do so many things! And the truth is, you’re good and sweet and loving and altogether lovable. The truth is,” and I turn her around on my lap so we are face to face, “The truth is that God created you to be His special child, and He has great plans for you that are bigger than you can imagine. You are precious to Him and to all of us and nothing is ever going to change that. Do you understand?”
She is smiling a little now, nodding hard and sitting a little taller.
“You see, you knew that, didn’t you? Even when you were feeling so bad, I bet you knew in your heart what the Truth is.”
“I knew it in my heart,” she said. “My brain just forgot it.”
“Well, it’s pretty easy to let thoughts and feelings get the best of us. But you know what? We don’t have to listen to those lies. They’re just the same old lies that every one of us has to fight and they’re just plain wrong. What do you think you could do next time you hear those lies start in your head?”
“Pray?” she suggests, and I nod. “That’s exactly what to do. Pray those lies away, and ask God to take your thoughts captive. Ask Him to catch those lies and throw them away before they can make you sad.”
We prayed, and she slid off my lap smiling again.
I sat there for awhile longer, thinking. Thinking of how the very same lies can often tangle my own thoughts, can bring me crashing down in the same way. How it is so easy to see that these thoughts and feelings are lies when someone else is struggling with them, but they seem so real when they are infecting your own heart. Why do women believe these lies? Why is it so easy for us to forget our own value, to forget how loved and special and blessed we are? How can I, knowing these lies and seeing that the very same lies work just as well whether you are seven or seventy, still listen to them some days and let them steal my joy?
I am praying for these lies to be thrown down. I’m praying for my sisters and daughters and friends, for wives and mothers and grandmothers and women everywhere…that we’ll see these lies for what they are and recognize them before they take root. I’m praying that we’ll look at them, list them, name them and become so familiar with how they work that when we hear them whispered in our ears they’ll stand out like a flashing neon sign and we will stamp them out before they have time to tangle us up. I am praying that we’ll cover those lies with the Truth that frees us from them.
I know that men probably struggle with similar lies, too…but it just seems to me that women are so often struggling with these feelings…that we’re unloved, unlovely, not good enough or beautiful enough or….the list can go on and on. If you’re struggling, here’s a book that I have found very helpful…Lies Women Believe: And the Truth that Sets Them Free.