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Body image is such a huge issue for adult women. But it’s even more so for teenage girls!

Right now my daughters are putting the finishing touches on an online course that moms can use to help teach their daughters about sex, puberty, and growing up (you’ll hear all about it in about 3 weeks!) And so we’ve been having all these conversations back and forth about the real messages that we want young girls to understand. So this has been foremost on my brain during the month of August.

Then I heard that my friend Terri Lynne Underwood has just written a great book called Praying for Girls. I met Terri Lynne at a blogging conference a few years ago, and we had some great chats!

Sheila and Terri - 3 Truths to Teach Your Girls About their Bodies

So when I heard that Terri Lynne’s book was coming out, I invited her to talk to us today about how to teach our daughters to appreciate their bodies. Here’s Terri Lynne:

3 Things To Teach Teenage Girls About Body Image: Teach them their real identity!

Crooked teeth, bottle-cap glasses, and frizzy hair. That’s what she saw in the mirror. It didn’t matter that she’d long since had her braces removed, gotten contacts, and learned to style her thick hair. The mirror in the bathroom might have shown the girl she was now, but the mirror in her heart could only see what she’d been.

Even now, that girl occasionally looks in the mirror and sees the twelve-year-old version of herself. I know, because I’m that girl. And maybe you are too.

As a woman, one of my biggest struggles is not focusing on my body and how I feel about it. As a mom, one of my biggest desires is teach my daughter not to do it either.

At seventeen, my girl is past the braces and awkwardness of her tween years. But the doubts and insecurities about her appearance are still very real. As we’ve shopped for school clothes over the past few weeks, I’ve been reminded just how much what we think we see in the mirror can impact what we believe about ourselves.

What can we do as moms? How can we nurture a biblical view of body image in our daughters?

As I’ve prayed for my daughter (and her mom) to see herself the way God sees her, there are a few foundational truths I return to time and again.

3 ways to help our daughters seek their identity in God, not their looks: Click To Tweet

1. We are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Psalm 139:14 is one of the verses often applied to discussions with girls about their bodies. I have used it myself countless times to point my daughter back to the truth that her body, like her heart and mind and personality, has been carefully designed by the Creator. But I’ve also learned to remind her about the ways our bodies will change and shift (and sag) over the course of our lives. I want to remind her not to give her physical appearance more emphasis than it should have.

2. Our bodies are the temple of God.

We need to be faithful stewards, taking care of our bodies. I know for myself, and I’ve observed in my daughter, when she is eating well, exercising regularly, and getting enough rest, her concerns about her body are less prominent in her thoughts. Training ourselves to remember our bodies as the dwelling place of God (1 Corinthians 6:19) helps us keep our focus on Him. Encouraging our daughters to be attentive to their health and wellness is an excellent way to guide them to a healthy and biblical view of their bodies.

3. We are made in the image of God.

Of all the things I want my daughter to understand about herself, knowing she is made in the image of God is paramount (Genesis 1:27). Every lie our enemy and the world will try to force on our girls is rooted in that same question the serpent posed to Eve in the garden, “Did God actually say …?” (Genesis 3:1). When our girls understand and believe they have been carefully made in the image of God, that He lovingly formed them, and that He has a unique and good plan for their lives, their confidence will come not from their appearance or abilities but from His Word.

Every day our girls are bombarded with pictures of women who have been airbrushed, styled, and surgically enhanced. And every day they look at the face in the mirror and wonder if it’s enough. Our girls need us to give them biblical truth—to say to them, time and again at every age, “God really did say you are made in His image, and that image is very good.” And to pray for them, time and again at every age, to absorb the truth they are “fearfully and wonderfully made” by the God of all creation (Psalm 139:14).

Question: What are Scriptures you have used as a foundation for your prayers for and conversations with your daughter about her body image and view of herself? Let’s talk in the comments!

{This post includes excerpts from Teri Lynne’s new book, Praying for Girls: Asking God for the Things They Need Most, now available at LifeWay and Barnes & Noble as well as all major online retailers.}

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Praying for Girls: Asking God for the Things They Need MostTeri Lynne Underwood is a pastor’s wife, ministry speaker, and Bible teacher. As the mother of a teenage daughter and the founder of www.PrayersforGirls.com, Teri Lynne is a cheerleader for girl moms and the author of Praying for Girls: Asking God for the Things They Need Most.

 

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