In her book Yes Please, author Amy Poehler wrote something that really stuck with me. She said that early on, she determined that her currency was not going to be her looks- it would be her sense of humor. What did she mean by currency? It's whatever gains us entrance into the room and allows us to stay there. It's like our ticket at the door- that thing that sets us apart and makes us acceptable. For some people it's their intelligence, for others it's their physical attractiveness, it can be their money, their power, or the fact that they are always the nicest person in the mix. It's what you rely on to make you feel secure in a million situations in life. It's what we start to use to create our own sense of identity and security, and all too often, it's one that leaves us depending on something that can be taken away from us.
This caused me to think about how old girls are when they start to feel that just showing up as themselves isn't quite enough. When do girls stop twirling with joy, asking you to look at how pretty they are? When do girls stop standing up for themselves and telling on the mean kids? When do girls start editing who they are- holding back their truest, most beautiful selves for fear that they'll be rejected?
I believe this starts in earnest around age twelve- in middle school. And I have a middle school daughter, so this matters to me a great deal. At the end of her seventh-grade year, she came to me and asked me why I spent all my time helping women but I never helped the girls in her class. I told her that it was because I was pretty sure that the girls in her class didn't want to hear from her forty-something mother. She looked straight at me and said, “You haven't even tried.”
And that got me in the gut, because I deeply care about these girls. I would guess that there is a young girl in your life that you care about, too. Perhaps you, too, have observed what is happening to our daughters and their peers, and have felt powerless to do anything about it. This is what women always say to me when I travel around the country and speak. “What can you do for my daughter? What can I do for my daughter?”
Ask any parent today and they will tell you that this young generation is different from all others. Peer pressure has taken on new forms with social media following our children wherever they go. The need to look good, achieve, and constantly keep their image intact can create anxiety, loneliness and even depression. There have always been pressures, but the way in which kids today are glued to their phones means that there is never a break from it. It follows them from school to the home and causes the peer group to feel like their entire reality.
The problem is not that we don't see the issues. The problem is not that we don't care. The problem is that we aren't sure of the right words and are lacking the right tools to reach out to that generation and show them how to be strong, whole, spiritually solid women.
So I told my daughter that I'd try, on one condition. That she would do it with me. That she would help me to speak into her generation. That she'd be honest about what they are struggling with, about what helps them, and about what goes over their heads.
Together, we set out to learn how to meet this generation of young girls where they are and to point them to the only One who will love them perfectly and satisfy their need to belong and be valued. And Blaze was born.
Blaze is the Walking with Purpose program developed for middle school age girls. Our mission at Blaze is to speak truth into the hearts of girls who are bombarded by lies about their true worth and beauty. Every week, they are introduced to a lie in our culture, which is then countered with a Biblical truth. The Bible becomes relevant, and the girls begin to recognize the difference between the loving, affirming voice of their heavenly Father and the voices that tell them they aren't good enough. The girls in Blaze grow in confidence as they recognize there is nothing they can do to lose God's love. Even when peers hurt them, they know that God's approval is what matters most. They encounter an inner strength that changes everything. Teaching these young girls how to use the Bible as a tool for spiritual growth encourages daily prayer and that strengthens the bond with God and family. It can be implemented in schools during lunchtime, in a small group at home, or one-on-one.
I long to see an army of women-equipped and unleashed- setting out to win back the hearts of our daughters, turning them to God. When women get their spiritual oxygen masks on, they almost always turn around and go out to save others. But they need tools. They need help to do this. We have put these tools together, and they will be available in our online store on August 1st.
Are you ready to see the hearts of your daughters set on fire with love for Christ?
Let's set out together to capture girls' hearts and keep them engaged in their faith at a time when we often start to lose them.
Praying you'll join me,