I grew up in a very rural part of northern Wisconsin. I remember moving in second grade and a kid at my new school called me chocolate milkshake. Others sang that clever and classy jingle, “Chinese, Japanese, dirty knees look at these.” I cringed when kids called me the Chinese girl (in part because they didn’t know the difference between Japan and China). I remember my fifth grade teacher telling the class that everyone “except Laura” had family in Europe and I wanted to die of embarrassment. When you’re ten the only thing worse than being different is when those differences are highlighted in front of your peers. Thank you, Mrs. Ludy.
Fast forward thirty five years and not only am I proud of my Japanese roots, I talk about, joke about and highlight them frequently. I like that I am different than most of the whities I do life with. So when I traveled to Japan last week I was over the top thrilled to share my pictures on FB so my husband, kids and a few close friends could see my trip firsthand.
As I began to post pictures and share stories of our travels however, I was shocked. So many friends, acquaintances and old schoolmates began commenting on my posts. They loved sharing the trip with my brothers, mom and I and asked that I keep posting more photos. What?
I have shared more than once my struggles with a low self-esteem. It is one of the things I pray often about for my own kids (especially my girls). I do not want them to be defensive because they think they have to prove something or that they aren’t good enough, smart enough or talented enough. I don’t want them to ever think they aren’t beautiful, daughters of the Most High King or that they aren’t worthy.
Reason #953 that I’m a Jesus girl is Jesus knows me. He knows my heart, the places I beat myself up and the fact that I worry incessantly about what others think of me. He knows that I still want my dad to tell me he’s proud of me, that I want the cool girls to think I’m cool too and that I want to be liked by everyone. In a weird, pathetic, middle-school-girl kind of way all that traffic on Facebook fed that part of me that still needs to be accepted, loved and taken an interest in. Why am I a Jesus girl? Because my inner thirteen year-old, fragile and broken self needs Someone who can remind me that I am loved in the juvenile, unconventional ways I sometimes find that acceptance.
“Dear Lord, thank you for an amazing trip with my family to Japan. Thank you for the many memories, for family we got to see and for so many blessings. Thank you for the friends old and new that got to come along with me on Facebook because they were sweet enough to have wanted to and thank you for reminding me once again I am loved, cared about and I am your daughter. In Your Name, Amen.”