Last summer my wife Renee took 15 women to Los Angeles where they spent a week living and serving at the Dream Center. The Dream Center is a pretty cool picture of love in action. This ministry community planted itself in one of the most abandoned and impoverished neighborhoods in Los Angeles area. They took hope to a hopeless place. They took light to a dark place. They took love to a lonely place. Fifteen years of Hope, Light and love have brought amazing transformations to the people and the place. The work is ongoing as are the transformations. For one week, this collection of young women got to be part of this beautiful and messy miracle called the Dream Center.
The accommodations were safe, clean and very basic. They lived at the Center and went out into the community each day to serve, love and bless their neighbors. Many of these neighbors were hungry, sick, poor, lonely and lost. These young ladies entered into the mess and the brokenness of this place and these people. They were richly rewarded for their love and service.
They did a little preparation before they left, and came to a group decision to not wear any makeup or pay any attention to their hair or dress. Some girls were uncertain that they could let go of this. The prison of looking pretty is easy to enter but difficult to leave. In the end, they all stacked hands together and gave themselves permission to be in the world with no cover, no presentation, just themselves.
The end of the week brought a familiar tension back to their lives. The world they were returning to, the world they live in, bombards them with images and expectations about their beauty, appearance and worth. Surgically enhanced Media Stars, digitally manipulated magazine covers and starving Super Models are setting dangerous and distorted cultural standards for female beauty. This comparison assaults them every day.
Shortly after the trip to the Dream Center, Renee was in our bathroom helping our 7th grade daughter get ready for her first school dance. We were probably all a little more nervous than we wanted to be. The bathroom counter was filled with jars, bottles, cans and tubes. There was a wide assortment of hair spray, eyeliner, blush and perfume. There was a Blow Dryer, a Flat Iron and piles of little white cotton balls. In the middle of this staging process, Renee turned to Emma and said, “ I am so sorry that beauty takes so much work.” Emma replied, “Beauty is easy mom, God put His beauty in each of us, it’s ‘pretty’ that’s hard.”
Gentlemen lets not leave our daughters alone in this battle for beauty. You and I have the ability to recognize and celebrate the real beauty that God has put in our daughters. Let’s make our homes Dream Centers. Let’s dream better dreams for our daughters. Have you told your daughter lately how happy you are to be her dad? Lets keep reminding each other and ourselves that we are all raising Dream Girls.
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Don Worcester