At the core of every girl is the need to be loved and cherished, yet many of us missed out on those gifts. Either they weren’t given by those who nurtured us or they didn’t make it over the obstacles in our own hearts. Lynn Cowell, co-author of Loved and Cherished: 100 Devotions for Girls, discusses how to lead girls to God’s perfect love even when they feel less than perfect. If you need to know how to build love’s strong foundation for a girl in your life, or if you feel called to strengthen your own underpinnings, tune in to hear God’s heart for all His daughters.
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- Lynn Cowell’s new devo for girls — Loved & Cherished: 100 Devotions for Girls
- Lynn Cowell’s website — https://www.LynnCowell.com
- Blog post from Lynn: “He has the Final Say”
- Blog post from Lynn: “Breaking the Score Board”
- Episode #199 Transcript — coming soon!
- Who is a girl in your life that needs to know she’s loved and cherished?
- What’s one action step that you learned from today’s episode that you’ll share with her?
- You can only give what you have yourself. What are the barriers you face as a woman to living loved?
Featured Author — Lynn Cowell
Lynn Cowell is a member of the Proverbs 31 speaker and writer teams. As an author of several books, her passion is to empower tweens, teens & women with the confidence of Christ. Her newest book Loved & Cherished: 100 Devotions for Girls is ready for pre-order!
Lynn calls home North Carolina, where she and her husband, Greg, and the occasional backyard deer are adjusting to life as “just us”. Greg and Lynn, love spending time with their three adult children hiking, blasting ‘80’s music and anything combining chocolate and peanut butter.
Transcript — scroll to read here (or download above)
Grit ‘n’ Grace: Good Girls Breaking Bad Rules
Episode #199: How to Lift a Girl’s Heart
(and Your Own in the Process)
Lynn, welcome back to grit and grace.
Oh, I’m so glad to be here. You know, I’m not getting as much friend time as I would normally like. So I’m so excited. I mean, I literally feel like you and Sherry are here hanging out with me. And yeah, I’m so happy spend time with you too.
Well, we love you as a dear friend, but also you’re one of our favorite guests. And I think one of one of the reasons you’re a favorite is because your heart is so meshed with ours. And you have told us both that the whole live your one life Well, our new focus really connects with your book loved and cherished. So tell us about that.
So, my favorite way to spend time with you too, is on my walks. So I pull up your podcasts and I feel like I’m not walking alone as I spend time with you too. But as I listened to your 2.0 Episode. That’s when I reached out to you guys because all I could think of as I was walking down my driveway was Yes, yes, yes. Because your new movement forward I feel like I’ve moved with you. And I feel like I am a product of losing who I’m not and I’m pretty far into loving who I am. And I really do think the Lord that I feel like I’m living my one life well. But as I’ve been going through that process, I also began to wonder and maybe you guys have to even as you were writing exhale is what would have happened if I had taken these steps earlier. Yeah, yeah, what would have happened if if at some point in my young girl life, someone would have come along beside me and told me, you know, you don’t have to pretend to be perfect. You don’t have to work so hard. And so I feel like now that’s part of my living. My one life well, is to help young girls and their moms know that they are loved and treasured, that they’re loved and cherished, so that they can have the confidence in Christ to live their one life Wow, and to lose who they’re not. And so I really truly believe that the earlier a girl can understand this, the better. And that evidence and research shows that the girls not knowing this is truly devastating. So before I wrote, loved and cherished with my co author, professional counselor, Michelle meter, I was doing some research. And according to the Center for Disease Control, suicide is the second leading cause of death among children and young adults ages 10 to 24. Wow. And another troubling trend is that suicide among girls is on the rise. And it’s particularly disturbing to read that it is so in black children, the national data rebuild that children ages five to 11 that black children are at the highest rate of death by suicide. And so these things are not declining. The more educated we become, the more progressive our culture becomes. In fact, it’s just the opposite. It’s it’s our children taking their lives which tells us they don’t know.
Oh, gosh, well you’ve got us all crying now. So how does knowing that we’re loved, which is so key play a big part in losing who are not?
So when I started thinking about this losing who they’re not and loved and how they’re mesh together, the first thing I did was just to look up what does love mean, you know, what is the definition of love and so dictionary.com says that the noun of love means a profoundly tender passionate affection for another person, a feeling of warm, personal attachment or deep affection. So to be loved is when you are the recipient of tender, passionate and deep affection with a warm personal attachment. Like how rich is that? Who wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of that? And what I don’t hear that definition is any action on the part of the receiver. There’s no evaluation taking place there. So, I think that in today’s culture, a young girl is continually in a position of evaluation. And ladies, don’t you feel that way too, as women as well? Oh, absolutely. Yeah, we’re just what and you know, sometimes it’s not even an evaluation of others around it. It’s that evaluation of ourselves. Like both of you, you know, we’ve talked about the whole inner critic thing, right? So sometimes that evaluation is external, but so often it’s internal and I think that inner critic It starts early. So you know, she starts asking herself, you know, am I loved? Am I valuable? Am I smart? Am I pretty? And then these questions can go on as long as her imagination and her insecurities allow, and it starts young. And yes, it can come from social media, it can come from social pressures, but you know, what I’ve seen where I’ve done it to my kids, you know, sometimes it’s been parental pressure or, or parental absence. And so a girl just really needs to know that she is cherished in and first john 419 tells her why, because he first loved us. You know, it doesn’t have anything to do with us that right this very minute, she doesn’t have to change a thing that she can know that she’s loved, accepted worth and has security as she’s moving through these crazy years of moving from a girl to a woman.
Hmm. So so you know, you’re making Give me think of my students. I’ve taught Junior High all the way through high school and you’re making me think of of them, you know, something, just a little side thing here. I just read a, an article saying that a lot of girls especially, are one of the benefits of the distance education during the lockdown was this sudden removal of the in person bullying and the in person mean girl stuff that was happening at school. And so the article was all about helping the girls get ready to re enter school and face that kind of stuff again, and just some beautiful quotes from the girls about what it was like to just live without that for several months.
Michelle and I have heard that too. On our we’re doing a podcast called raising great beauties. And we we just did one recently with Cindy Boltzmann, her daughter about The bullying that takes place at the lunch table. Yeah, you know, and right now they don’t have the lunch table and how many girls are happy to not have to get up every day and face that? So again that that just points us back to what do they need inside for facing that type of unlovely atmosphere that many of our kids walk into each day.
Yeah. So I’m I’m very much like you I have definitely been one who you know as Amy and I worked out this this message for exhale loser you’re not love who you are live your one life? Well. I’m definitely one who even now I look back and I’m like, Oh, if only I could turn back time and get all of this right as a much younger person. And so how, how can What can we do? What can we do now to make a difference in the life of a young girl. So she begins that process. To lose who she’s not love who she is, and then really be ready to live her one life well, earlier than, I’m not going to name any decades but earlier than we did, and, you know, possibly changed the trajectory of the life of a young, a young girl in our, in our own lives now.
Absolutely. So with for one second, you know, we can picture the little girls in our lives you know, you know, I know all of us are past that stage ourselves, my girls are now 26 and 23. But you know, I can still picture them getting on the bus heading to school, and that trepidation sometimes that Went, went with that the whole you know, mean girl scenario in a girl can feel like at this time in the stage of her life, that she’s all alone. You know, nobody gets what she feels. They haven’t quite sometimes learned to find a safe place yet to start talking about these feelings that they have. And then these are These feelings can become really deep seated emotions. And they can, you know, you know, I pictured them kind of like claws, you know, clamping onto our minds and they and they become so deep in and she’ll know what to do with these things. She doesn’t even recognize that that is what is happening, because she’s too mature to deal with it yet. But then as these things get pushed down, at some point, they start bubbling to the surface, and we start seeing, you know, behaviors that we want to punish, you know, because we’re not sure what this stuff is. And so it looks like out of control behavior or anger or even anger related depression, and then we can start seeing her have difficulties in intimate relationships. Maybe she’s having friendship problems at school, or rebellion or isolation. But, and I’m so glad I’m so glad when you’re reading your Bible, you know, in the morning and I’ll suddenly come across that word, but like, I I’m so glad it’s in God’s word. I’m so glad it’s a part of our English language. But building a foundations of God’s love and acceptance early in her life can help to offset potential problems I’m not saying it’s going to make it all go away. But I’m even witnessing the the effects of it in my in the lives of my young adult daughter, you know that knowing no matter what, if she’s single if she’s married, if she you know, whatever she’s loved, and she gets that and so that’s kind of the the drive in my life is is right now is to begin to help a girl get it young and then build on this foundation of the fact that she is loved that she is cherished exactly the way she is and build upon that. Rather than than seeing as much repair has been needed in my life and you know, I know in your guys’s lives as well.
Absolutely. So when a young girl knows that she’s loved and you’ve given us the example, I know, your daughter just lives and thrives in that. So when she a young girl knows that, how does this impact her ability to love others?
You know, like, if we go back to that, first that verse I brought up earlier, the first john for 19 that I quoted the last part, he first loved us, but if we go back to the first part, it says, we love. So when we get how deeply we are loved, then we can begin to love. And I remember my middle daughter, Mariah. I gotta be careful when you tell stories, right? Because you don’t want to say names and stuff. But when she was in high school, um, there was uh huh. Okay, so. So there was a situation where a another young person was not accepted. Let’s just say that right was not accepted and really was struggling hard to have a just one friend at school, and Mariah began to sit with this person during lunch. And, and it was just to me a beautiful thing to see her take the risk of loving someone else, even if she could be ostracized for sharing that love. But I believe this because Mariah herself knew she was loved. So she could then extend that to another person. And that knowing we are loved that can infiltrate every area of our life and in the lives of our kids. So whether it falls into the category of bullying or prejudice or racism, or all the kinds of ways that society rejects people, people that Jesus never rejected, wow. If we can build that into the lives of our kids, our kids can change the world right? Because they know that they’re loved so they can love anyone, period.
Well, and I think I just want to extend this because knowing Mariah a little bit, that love that you invested in her and you taught her about God has translated even into a career choice because she’s a social worker. And so by her, her career choice has been shaped by knowing she is loved.
Yeah, both of them. Both of my daughters are
So we’ve talked a little bit here about what it can look like when a young girl who knows she is loved becomes a confident, secure woman who knows that she is loved. So from a girl who knows she’s loved to a woman who knows she’s loved. So what are some practical steps we can take to help a girl know that she is loved and cherished?
You know, I think that it’s it’s part of what your podcast is doing in that is is that it’s it’s knowing ourselves, right? So like it’d be one of the things we’re hearing a lot of, in all the different kinds of social issues that we’re experiencing today is it begins at home, right it begins at home. So whatever particular topic you want to, to jump on, it begins with us. So when you and I, when Sherry and Amy and all of our listeners when we know that we are loved, that begins to lose out of us, and that begins to translate to others. So it starts with us doing our own head work our own heart work and, and that’s part of why I wrote the Bible study I wrote for women make your move was because I needed confidence. I was the girl the woman who was up and down based on did she like me? Did she not like me? Did I have feel approval today? Did I not feel approval today, and I was sick and tired of that. And I knew that God didn’t want that for me either. And so I wrote a Bible study on developing Christ competence because I needed Christ competence. So I think it begins right with us doing the hard work ourselves. And then it or not even then, and as we are growing, right, because, you know, this is a continual thing. Some days, we’re doing awesome. And other days, we’re like, wow, I just slipped out three steps. Well get up and forward again. But as we’re learning, we begin to speak the truth of his life into any young girl around us. And so that might be a daughter, but it might be the neighbor girl. I know Amy has a little neighbor she’s always hanging out with so maybe. So maybe you have a neighbor girl, your niece, your granddaughter, you know for you, Sherry. It would be your students and help remove this ridiculous standard of perfection. them that we are perpetuating. You know, we’re like, we hate it. We’re trying to break free and yet we’re in a verdant Lee passing this on to the next generation. Let’s stop it. And the way to stop it is by knowing that we are loved into start promoting risk taking and failing. You know, like, failing isn’t a failure, failure risk picking and failing is another way to learn. But the way that you have the kind of power to do that is when you know you’re loved and your love isn’t based on failure.
I’m going to interrupt and ask you both. Do you feel that women our age? Okay, that’s in quote? Do you feel like women our age are starting to do a little bit better at this sort of thing, like starting to question more starting to be a little more honest starting to revisit things that we had accepted blindly since childhood. Or is it my imagination?
No, I know I have. And I’m not sure whether it’s a movement amongst women or is just because we’ve gotten to that sassy old age that we are. We’re like, nobody gets to tell me what this should look like anymore. I’m not sure what do you guys think?
I think that there is and you know what, I’ll be honest. I think COVID is helping us. Um, you know, I was paranoid to do anything, you know, podcast, Facebook, live any of that kind of stuff. But you know, when your your ability to communicate with people is shut down, you know, when I can no longer go out and share this passion that I can’t, can’t contain. I can’t go and speak the way I spoke before. I think that hope it’s helped me, you know, it’s helped me to, to be like, you know what, it’s not going to be perfect. So what I’m here, I’m showing up So I even think that the pandemic has helped us a little bit with that. And you are absolutely right, Amy, I think the older I get, I’m getting to the point of You don’t like me. Sorry, I like me
so long to get here.
Okay, sorry, I didn’t I didn’t mean to interrupt your great list of practical things. I just, I wanted to say I do think that we’re seeing at least in some people, and I haven’t thought of that, but you’re right, the sheltering in place means we’ve had to get innovative and and still find ways to do things and I think we’ve discovered that nobody worthwhile has unfriended us because our hair didn’t look great. In fact, you know, people were sharing their their what we look like and everybody was fine with it. So
yeah, you guys were joking with me right? Before you know about how long my hair has gotten? Well, when you haven’t had a haircut in five months, this is what it looks. When you get and you know what, I’m okay with that. So, um, I think some of the other practical things that we can do is that we can, you know, kind of like what we’re talking about, we can share how God has filled our own empty spaces. You know, we can. I love what my friend, Julie says is, as she says, you know, we can open the front door, you know, like, we keep everything real pretty on the outside, but we can open the front door, say, Come on in, you know, here’s my hurting places, and here’s what God has done in me. And then also, you know, we can get books like loved and cherished, that speaks truth into their heart. Right. And everybody should, yeah.
Okay, so Lynn, tell us and tell our listeners a little bit more about this book because I, you know, I got a copy of it before our time together here and it is beautiful. Yeah. And as I was reading through the table of contents and just reading some of these devotions, I’m like, I need a copy of this for myself. And I know you’re going to tell us it was written for you Girls but I’m like, there is a little girl part of my heart that still needs to be nurtured and you know, taken care of by me at this stage in my life. So tell us who you actually wrote it for.
I’m smiling so hard because when I go and speak, the adult women always gravitate to my young girl books because they like the covers of them. And then I’m like, no yours are. But I get a lot of feedback from moms on on brave beauty, just saying I bought this book for my daughter, but as I read it to her, I realized how much I needed this truth. So my husband when my my daughters were growing up, I thought, you know, I’m done writing books for little girls. You know, I’m 52 years old right now I should be past that and, and yet, I still keep having this passion to continue writing for them as well as writing for adult women. And and whenever I say that, my My husband always is like, you know, we’re all just the same, it’s the little girls and Big Girls are the same, we still have the same need, we still have the same love gap, you just write it a little bit differently. So, so you’re absolutely right Sherry, big girls need to know that they are loved and cherished just as much as little girls. And so, the way this book is formatted, is it’s 100 devotions for girls that, you know, they can read, you know, the way the way I used to do it. And when my kids were little is I did what we called breakfast in the Bible. And that was they had to be at the breakfast table at seven. And for my teenagers at the time, that was not real fun. And, but for my elementary school girls, seven was early, but um, you know, they’d feed their bellies and I’d feed their their hearts. So that’s that’s kind of how I started writing for people.
Well, for the big people, the big girls that are listening help give us a last word of encouragement. Lynne about,
I love what you just said about how we can feel
our love gap. Mm hmm.
Yeah, that’s something I started calling, calling it that when I was pretty young when I was a single, a single girl because I just felt like I could never get enough attention from anybody. You know, it didn’t matter where the attention was coming from, I could never get enough of it. And the other day, I was watching videos of me as a little girl and everybody else is kind of hanging out and I’m there like poking my head into the camera wanting attention and you know, look at and so I began to realize I had this like insatiable desire that could never be filled by people. And then as I began to discover how madly crazy in love Jesus was with me, it started to go away, because he filled it in so I have to keep filling it because it keeps leaking out every day. My life and I do that by spending time with him every day like, I try to start before I have a chance to just say it before I have a chance to sin all over people. I try to spend time with him filling up my heart so that what leaks out is him toward other people and not that desire to be first to be to be you know, I’m an enneagram three I’m sure you have some other listeners who are threes too and you know what, we just crave people paying attention to us. So me knowing that Jesus is doing that fills that place so I’m not grasping to receive that from other people.