When Erin Weidemann gifted Shiloh and me our first set of Bible Belles books, I knew it was a resource that girls everywhere needed. They are the true stories of women, the ones God carefully placed inside His eternal narrative, so every girl can discover the story He has written for her. Erin started Bible Belles when it was “just an idea” and has continued to steward it with obedience. It has grown steadily, over time, touching the lives of girls around the world and teaching them to know their value and walk in the purposes God has laid out before them. It’s a grace to welcome Erin to the farm’s front porch today…
I remember it like it was yesterday.
I was sitting next to five-year-old Rooney at our kitchen table. We were getting ready to start the day’s homeschool activities, and I was busy prepping lessons. She and I were brand new to the school at home thing, and the former classroom teacher in me was learning to let go of traditional school rules and procedures and embrace a new season of figuring out how we both learn best.
As I shuffled a few papers into stacks and reached for my girl’s pencil pouch, I noticed a soft, tender touch at the base of my neck.
“Hey Mama, does that ever make you feel embarrassed?”
The question caught me off-guard. My daughter and I had talked about my journey through cancer on many occasions before that morning. She had run her fingers along the 9-inch scar on my neck countless times before, asking about the surgeries, the quarantine to take the “special medicine” (the full dose of radiation required to treat my type of cancer), and the long road of therapies and treatments that ushered me out of life as I knew it and into a new version of normal that looked and felt very different.
Before that morning, she had asked me what having cancer was like, if it was scary, if it hurt.
That morning though, her question took my breath away.
Her words took me back to a time of deep-seeded insecurity: a time when all I cared about was how I looked and how others perceived me. I spent a lot of years caring, not only, but mostly about that.
I turned toward her and thought carefully before offering the best and truest answer I could.
“No, sweet girl,” I answered, as the tears welled up in my eyes. “It’s the best thing that has ever happened to me.”
Cancer was a season I endured long before I became a mother, but its effects have followed me into every season since.
I realized in that moment I had the opportunity to either affirm the insecurities my daughter might be having about herself and the way she is perceived by others, or instead invite her in to evaluate one of my physical imperfections as a way to see herself in a completely different light.
Because the truth is that scar is so much more than a corporal blemish where there was once a wound. It represents pain, suffering, the time in my life when I reached my lowest point.
It marks the single most important event in my life’s journey: the violent shove into reality that set me on the path toward Jesus.
Everything good and beautiful and wonderful about who He is can be found in that fibrous strand of tissue.
When I look at it, when I run my own fingers over it, I’m reminded of who I was before my diagnosis and the transformation that took place after it.
An incision that simultaneously cut my neck and pierced my soul, the moment that began the softening of my heart and the choice to live life in pursuit of God’s will over my own. That scar represents so much more than physical healing. It is the physiological symbol of God’s great rescue made manifest in my life.
The narcissist in me says to cover it up. It’s right there in the center of your neck. Everyone can see it.
But the new creation in me says, “It’s everything. It’s your testimony. It’s the evidence of God at work in your life. It’s just one of the many ways you can invite others into wonder and curiosity to find out more about Jesus.”
Isn’t that the life we want for our children?
One where they abandon insecurity, and self-doubt, and instead take ownership of the gospel and the part they have to play in sharing it?
I don’t want my girl to care more about what she sees in the mirror than the marching orders she’s been given to go out into the world and preach the Good News to the whole of creation.
I don’t want her life’s happiness to be wrapped up in seeking the approval of others rather than seeking the appointments of God.
I don’t want her prioritizing Likes on the internet over loving and leading others to Jesus in real life.
I don’t want her to waste one moment of her precious life in pursuit of the temporal while forfeiting the eternal.
Although I’ve struggled throughout of my life to care most about what really matters, I realized in that moment she and I could partner together, not just to develop our character, confidence or being comfortable in our own skin, but to invest in nurturing the voices we will use to share Jesus with the dark and broken world that desperately needs Him.
Maybe making that change sounds like a good idea to you, but you’re not really sure where to begin.
Start by showing up for your children, just as you are:
flawed, and imperfect, but brave enough to show them, through your life and leadership, how to truly seek first the Kingdom of God.
The words you speak, the life you lead, will show the world what you believe.
Erin Weidemann is an award-winning author with one goal: to help women of all ages own their influence. A five-time cancer survivor, Erin is the co-founder of Truth Becomes Her, a brand that equips moms and mentors with resources to help them step into their unique leadership roles. Erin is a nationally recognized speaker, radio personality, certified teacher and host of the Heroes for Her Podcast.
Her newest book, Ringleaders, is the next installment of the best-selling Bible Belles series, The Adventures of Rooney Cruz, for young girls. In Ringleaders, Erin tackles the biggest faith challenge facing kids today and equips adults to teach them how to use their voice to share the message God has called them to deliver. Young readers will be inspired to identify their own voice and use it for the good of others and for the glory of God.
Whether you’re a parent, grandparent, teacher, coach, or anyone in a role of leading young people, this book will help you nurture their integrity, grow them in character and confidence, and effectively guide them to live, love and lead well, in light of the gospel.
[ Our humble thanks to Truth Becomes Her with today’s devotion ]