“God cares about you!”
The story of Beautiful Unique Girls
Does God really care about me?” Family Life Network’s Beautiful Unique Girl (BUgirl) interns reach out to young girls in an attempt to help them find an answer to this question.
For the interns who are themselves emerging from the teen years and still vulnerable to the mixed messages of our culture, it provides an opportunity for daily affirmation of their own value in the eyes of their Creator. Each evening, as they attempt to bring this point across to the girls they’re ministering to, they’re applying the message to themselves.
Woven throughout the evening of ice-breaker games, food, nail painting, music, and prayer is the theme of an intimate God who created each one of them with loving intent. The interns share the story of Mary, the mother of Jesus, and how as a young teen she found herself pregnant with the son of God. Girls hear how God took a potentially disastrous situation in a young teen’s life and worked it out for good. Time is spent reflecting on difficult events that may have blocked them from understanding God’s deep love for them. They’re encouraged to trust God with the hard times in life because his love for them never changes.
Pink and green become the colours associated with pain and healing for these young girls. All the lies they’ve come to believe about themselves are written down on slips of green paper. In a physical act of rejecting the lies, they crumple up the piece of paper and hold it close, as they listen to the intimate words of Psalm 139. When they begin to grasp the message of the psalm – how they’re uniquely created and valued by God – truth begins to sink in. On pink paper, they then write down what they know to be special about themselves – not just how they look on the outside, but the gifts, abilities, and passions they have. They’re encouraged to place the pink slips where they can readily look at them, as a constant reminder they were created with these qualities for a purpose.
“God is continually showing me how I can lean on him for literally everything – whether it’s for a good meal, a good laugh, or for him to touch a girl’s life,” BUgirl intern Robyn Froese observed. “Every night, we interns also fill out the green and pink pieces of paper. I, too, write down what I’m dealing with that day and God uses it to touch me.”
Kaylyn Holmes, the BUgirl intern leader, prayed with one girl who confided that she got bullied every day at school. A few days before the BUgirl event, a boy had pushed her to the ground and kicked her legs. She said, “Tonight, no one looked at me like I was weird. You just accepted me for who I am.” Then she showed Kaylyn her pink piece of paper where she had written, “I love that God made me beautiful in all my uniqueness.”
In the struggle against pressures from their peers, media, and themselves, today’s girls are dealing with issues of self-acceptance, body image, academic performance pressures, high parental expectations, confusion about direction and their future, suicide and depression. BUgirl interns find that teen girls crave love and have a hard time discerning the difference between right and wrong kinds of attention.
In addition, there’s another equally devastating reality – the fragility of the family unit. Youth leaders in one Saskatchewan town said that about 95 percent of the families are broken; it’s rare for a child to still have parents together. One young girl shared how hard it was to see her mom with a boyfriend. Another girl said, “A year ago, my dad had an affair and left me and my family. It was so hard.”
It’s tough absorbing the pain that some of these young girls experience on a daily basis. After a Grade 3 girl mentioned that her biggest dream was to be a pole dancer, intern Vicki Thoms journaled, “I know that girls growing up in this generation are dealing with things at a young age; I went through it all myself. But tonight, it really hit home.”
When asked what impacted her the most being part of the BUgirl team, Kaylyn responded, “I’m finding that getting out and having these life experiences has caused me to look at Bible passages in a new light – they mean different things to me now. The girls we minister to every night just want to be treated like equals. Every one of them needs to hear that they’re beautiful and awesome and have a purpose in life. Everyone just wants to be loved.” And isn’t that the cry of every human heart?
—Maria Funk is a staff writer for Family Life Network, Winnipeg.