I have to tell you about this picture. If you follow me on Instagram, you maybe saw it last week and heard some of the backstory. Let me take you back even farther.
My younger daughter has had to listen her entire life to people telling her sister how much she looks like me. The older one and I are similar in a lot of ways, for sure. She really does look like me. She can unlock my phone with her facial features in certain light. Our baby pictures are identical. We wear the same shoe size, so we can share shoes. The older sister also shares many of my non-physical traits, too many to list. From the time she was a small child, my older daughter has mimicked my actions and developed my mannerisms, and while she has her own mind and opinions and way of doing things, she has followed in my footsteps. People look at her and instantly know she’s my child (teen – young lady – sheesh these descriptions get more difficult as they get older).
Over the years, K has heard people compare her sister to me. But K rarely hears people say that she looks like me. So she has drawn the conclusion that she is not like me. But I can tell that she desperately wants people to think she’s like me – she looks for ways to prove that she’s like me. She’s taken up some of the crafts I enjoy. She decided to try sushi one day so that she and I could have “our own lunch thing that sister doesn’t like.” Sometimes we’ll be talking about hard things in life, and how we approach them, and even through tears, her face will brighten and she’ll say, “That’s another way I’m like you!”
So the other night, after her choir concert, we took this selfie in the car, and I posted it on Insta with a little bit of a weepy single mom life take on the struggles of the preceding week. Because raising teens at all, for anyone, is exhausting. And I know that I’m fortunate that I don’t have the behavior issues in my home that some of you deal with. I just have strong, sassy young women who are both just a little bit too much like me – and no one to back me up. So I was feeling the pride and the angst of the whole week in one moment. And I don’t know that I said what I really meant to say.
See, what I noticed in this picture was not just the smiling faces 2 nights after we had the worst fight we’ve had in a while. My girl looks like me in so many ways – her love of music, her desire to excel (to the point of giving up on things she loves if she thinks she’ll fail), her chin and her mahogany eyes. I looked at her face in this picture and I saw a reflection of myself.
And I realized, the whole point of the fight we’d had 2 nights before was this – I saw something in her attitude, in her response, that I didn’t like about myself. I wasn’t just fighting with her about her actions or her tone of voice – I was fighting for her character. And mine.
I want to help her find her way through the rough patches of a strong will much sooner than I did. I want to spare her the misunderstandings and disappointments, the tantrums that come with fighting for your own rights. Because I’m 40, and I’m still learning to do this – with other people, and in following Christ. He is still changing me, transforming me, teaching me what it means to yield my will and my character.
I don’t totally understand how the transformation process works, but I think I’m finally starting to (maybe) put some things together. We find what we look for, and if we look for the ways in which we look like Jesus, we will see it. Just like when my daughter finds ways that she looks like me – more and more, the more she looks. And it reminds me of this verse:
Because my face is “unveiled” – I’m actively looking for the truth of who God is and who He wants me to be – not only does He perform the transforming work in me, but I’m able to recognize it. I want to see ways that I’m becoming like Christ, and I want to keep becoming more and more like Him. I don’t want to stay with the little bit of resemblance I have right now. I want to be unmistakably associated with Him.
And more than anything, when my daughters imitate me and look for those similarities they share, I pray that I will be pointing them to Jesus. More and more. From one degree of glory to the next.