Where Might Her Insecurity Come From?


Today, I have with me my new friend at met at She Speaks 2012, Maria Furlough. Be sure to check out our give away at the bottom!

By: Maria Furlough

Author of Your Daughter Needs a Hero: Helping Her Through Insecurity and Poor Body Image

Yup!  This is me at 13 years old.  Who knew?  Who knew that this beautiful, young, innocent 13 year old girl thought she was fat and immeasurably imperfect.  I cannot emphasize enough how sad it makes me to look back at this photo and think about how much I hated looking in the mirror.  I think about how I overly analyzed every small detail of my body and had a long list of attributes that needed drastic changing.  But my sadness is not for the girl you see in this photo and the loss of her innocence…the sadness comes from the realization that every single day young girls everywhere go to war on themselves over the way they think that they look.  I so badly don’t want them to be like me.

It seems hopeless.  Physical beauty has seemingly won over the hearts of every teenage heart from here to Timbuktu.  Insecurity now seems like a rite of passage, something we all just deal with on a daily basis.  Call me naive or call me unrealistically optimistic…but I sincerely believe that things are going to change.  Something is broken in our culture if the young lady in this picture, the young lady in your home looks in the mirror and thinks one word: fat.

The good news is that you, Mom, are your daughter’s greatest hope.  God has given you to her for such a time as this.  Will you join me in taking tiny steps towards helping our daughters, this next generation of women, be secure in who God created them?

Tiny Step 1 Take a verbal stance against physical beauty obsessions in your home.  When I was in college I finally sought out some help for myself.  I had hit rock bottom with obsessive dieting and taking diet pills, so I decided to seek counsel.  The most valuable thing he said to me had to do with the home environment I lived in.  He told to me go home and ask my parents, siblings, grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles to stop making comments about my physical appearance…good or bad.  Negative comments fed my insecurities and positive comments motivated me to continue with my destructive habits.  There is nothing wrong with adoring, admiring, and appreciating the beauty of the women around us, but may our praises always remember that beauty does not always need to be physical.

Tiny Step 2 Give your own mind a break.  I love Lynn’s mantra: Wise Moms, Wiser Daughters.  Unfortunately, I believe it also applies to insecurity.  Insecure Mom, More Insecure Daughters.  Daughters watch their moms, they learn from them and model what they see in them.  This is not to say they would ever let you know it!  In reading Your Daughter Needs a Hero my mother was shocked that I paid such intense attention to everything she did and said.   Challenge yourself to think about how you much you dwell on your own looks.  Where does your confidence lie?

Tiny Step 3 Decide what you truly believe about beauty.  A couple of years ago I set out on this journey to minister to young women and I noticed a saying that was often flung around “True beauty lies on the inside.”  I flung it around too, why not?  Then I thought about it one day, “Do I actually believe it?”  After all, I was guiltier than the next person at sizing people up according to their looks.  Truth is, people say the right thing all the time…that it doesn’t matter how you look or what size you are.  But then why are we surrounded by a world obsessed with physical perfection?  I believe that there is only one thing that is truly beautiful in this world: Christ in US.  When I see Jesus in the sunset, that’s what makes it beautiful.  When I look at my daughter and see God’s handiwork in her smile, that’s what makes her so breathtaking.  When I look at myself in the mirror, and I see firsthand the redemptive work God has done in me, that’s what makes me gorgeous.

I pray that this just be the beginning for us.  I could sit here and write and write for hours about how far God has brought me since this picture was taken.  Today, I can proudly put this picture up on my wall with the caption “Wonderfully and Perfectly Made.”  Because of this, because of the huge work of healing God has done in my life, I know that there is hope for our daughters.  A hope of a different future where the decisions we make are based on strength and confidence instead of insecurity. 


Today we’re giving away a signed copy of Maria’s book  Your Daughter Needs a Hero; Helping Her Handle Insecurity & Poor Body Image. To enter, just click on “comments” below (if you are receiving this by e-mail, you’ll need to go to www.LynnCowell.com) and share which of the three steps is most difficult for you. If you are short on time, simply comment, “I’m in”. I’ll share the winner on my Friday post!


Maria Furlough is author of Your Daughter Needs a Hero, as well as wife, mother, speaker, and minister to youth through www.trueworthministries.org.  Maria works with teenagers to help them wade through the mucky waters of adolescence armed with the power of God’s truth.  She has been in youth ministry for ten years and focuses on inspiring young women to seek out their true worth in Christ in order to overpower the burden of insecurity and poor body image.  Maria lives in North Carolina with her wonderful husband Dave, and three beautiful,  itty bitty children (Faith 5 yrs, David 3 yrs, and Aaron 8 months old).




  1. I would love to win this book! I have a 14 year old daughter!

    1. With the help of God, I won a very long battle with an eating disorder. I have a 7 year old daughter and have vowed to do anything that I can to prevent her from having that same experience.

    2. Step 2 is the most difficult to me. My daughter is almost 17 years old. A tough age for a teenage girl. Girls her age are so focused on how they look. I think the book would be a great help for myself and her.


  2. Your post spoke right to my heart and I know exactly what you are saying about looking back at pictures from middle school and thinking, why was I so mean to myself. I have a 4 YO daughter and I am bound and determined to help her not become the person I was. Step 2 really spoke to me. I would love to read this book!

    God bless you,


    1. I hear you Emily! My daughter is 4 too and everyday I think about it. The good news is we have time, and if we start building these good habits now MAYBE by the time they are teens we will have figured it out. Maybe 😉

  3. Naomi Ingram says:

    Step 2 is the hardest for me. After having 3 children I find all the flaws, all the new me that wasn’t there before. My daughter takes over as the encourager when I voice my thoughts of myself. At these moments I know that what I have taught her about how she looks at herself is making an impact because she speaks the truth to me…It’s my turn to listen to her. I would love this book!

    1. Naomi praise God for your wonderful daughter!! What a gift she is. And thank God for her mother, daughters like that don’t come from nowhere. Keep up the awesome Mother Daughter team work!

  4. I am going to say step 2.

  5. Wow…what great words of wisdom. I’m 41 and i still struggle with this issue. I have two teenage daughters, and my prayer has always been that they not struggle with the concept of “true beauty vs. the outward appearance.” Thank you for reminding me that it’s a daily choice to see the beauty of God in me and those around me instead of what the mirror wants to tell me.
    I would love to share this book with my daughters and my Girl’s Bible Study group.

    1. That blasted mirror…who gave it all the authority anyway right?? I am so happy everyday you make the choice to see God in you FIRST. What an amazing ministry you have to lead a Girl’s Bible Study, I thank God for women like you who know how important it is to pour life and love into the hearts of young women!

  6. This book sounds wonderful. I have a 12 year old daughter and I do not want her to grow up feeling insecure about herself either.

  7. Step 2 is the most difficult for me. I have caught myself so many times saying “ugh I hate being fat”.
    Poking at my daughter’s “tummy”; how DARE I do that to her, but I have. With the help of the Lord I have made a conscious effort to stop…but no one is perfect including me. Thank you for todays post.

    1. Lynn thank you so much for your courage in sharing your story today. No, none of us are perfect that is for sure. We have all done things like that when we look back and say, “What on earth??” But praise God because his newness is ours everyday and HE will open your eyes to ways to encourage and love on your daughter AND yourself. The word “fat” has become a cuss word in my house. When teenagers come over they hate that rule, but it always sparks up some fun conversations.

  8. Step 2 is most difficult to me. I have struggled with insecurity for a while and overcoming my own issues, without pushing these on my 2 stepdaughters, is a challenge. Relying on Jesus and taking my thoughts captive, before they become words vocalized, is how I go through each and every day. Replacing the lies with truth is huge…recognizing the lies is the most important thing for me.

    1. YES!!! Replacing the LIES with the TRUTH…SO huge! The good news is that God is powerful enough to get rid of insecurity entirely. I know, I remember thinking “yeah right” I am like this and I will ALWAYS be like this. One day I actually had the thought, “Wait a second. I DO believe that God can raise the dead to life but I DON’T believe He can take away my insecurity? Hmmmm…” That was me. I’m just sayin 🙂

  9. Really educational post, as a mother of an 11year old daughter who is obese and just about to go into high school, this post is just the lesson I need to teach her to believe in herself and not to let the so called ‘thin’ girls make her lose her self confidence. I have always taught her that she is beautiful both inside and out and I know that she believes that she is. I live in fear that the world outside will break her self confidence and it worries me everyday.

  10. ALL the steps are hard for me! I have struggled with insecurity my whole life, and fear I am passing it on to my 12 yr old daughter. Even though I KNOW that each of us is beautifully made by Our Lord, I am fascinated by physical beauty. I would love to read this book!

    1. Physical beauty is really pretty awesome isn’t it? Somewhere along the line I had to wrap my brain around the fact that it is okay to admire God’s creation. Admiring others and then condemning my own was where I had to draw the line. Thank you for sharing today Helen. May God Bless you on your journey with your beautiful daughter!

  11. Step 2, for sure. I recently realized my insecurities were affecting my kids when my 7 yr-old daughter asked me if I thought her thighs were fat. 🙁 Help!

  12. What a great read this morning. God is good! If I am being honest I would say it’s step 3 for me. Yes I know where true beauty comes from but I don’t always make it about that! It’s funny though how we can be so encouraging to those around us ad even our own daughters but totally beat ourselves up. I live the saying Wise Women… Wiser Daughters ! Thanks so much for sharing :).

  13. Thank you for your post. I do not have a teenage daughter, yet, but, fear for my young daughter and all the insecurities that could creep in later in life. Appreciate all your thoughts on how to create an environment to decrease her risk.

  14. I struggle to be an example in being secure in myself. Too often I worry what others think about me – how I look and who I am. I have 3 daughters – 10, 12 , 14. It bothers me when I see them struggling with the same insecurities.

  15. Step 2: You never realize that your words joking or not could be hurting your child, which is comes from generation after generation….I think it is important to stop the cycle and knowledge is the key.

  16. Okay, sorry…but that’s a great photo! Step 1 isn’t too hard. Yes, we all want to look our “best” with fun clothes and nail polish etc. I don’t let my tween take any magazine but American Girl….but I don’t disallow her from the teen ones at friends. But she understands the why part of it. We don’t take People and US etc…because I put a de-emphasis on celebrities. Step 2 and possibly 3 a bit harder. Thankfully, we don’t have a major weight problem in the household (Daddy is trying to lose a few but salesmen driving around all day and fast food lunches make that harder.) and yes it’s hard for me to see the amount of overweight people in society and just be accepting of it. You don’t have to be athletically inclined to get moderate exercise…to watch what you eat. So yes, we are all beautifully made from God, but I also don’t think he made us with the intention of carrying around an extra 50 pounds (as adults) or 20 as kids. People with thyroid problems, etc is understandable but I think dealing with insecurity also requires dealing with those issues “physically” we are capable of too.

    1. Amy!! Thank you so much for sharing today! I think you are right, it is so hard to succeed in our society when in comes to health. I believe in many ways, we have been set up to fail. In my brain, there are two separate issues that often get lumped in together: insecurity v. taking care of your body. YES treating our body like the temple God created it to be…one very important issue to show concern in life while NOT letting it define us or exemplify our worth. YES standing up strong, confident in simply the way God created our bodies regardless of size or shape…the other very important issue. In short, I pray our focus is NEVER really on either, instead may our eyes stay fixed on the God who loves us eternally and wants so much more for our lives than to be caught up the in the physical.

  17. Would love this book…so beneficial for my 13-year old!

  18. Step 2 is where I struggle. My oldest daughter turns 11 this week.

  19. Laree Black says:

    Love to have this book! Wonderful stuff! My daughter is only 4 but I am starting early with her!!

    Thank you for all your teachings!!

  20. Tammy McKinney says:

    Step 2…I have an 8 year old daughter and have really begun to realize how closely she watches my every move and listens to my every word.

  21. Tracey Michelsen says:

    I am in! I have four children…two daughters. One 13 and one 7….I feel that step one is hard for me. I am constantly telling them how adorable they are. Or that is a cute outfit…or that outfit doesn’t really go…let’s try again. It breaks my heart to think that GOOD comments of their appearance can negatively effect them just as negative comments can. I want to build their confidence….not have them be insecure. My sweet thirteen year old is “trying to figure it all out” these days and I want so much to help her without hovering too much but yet, making sure she is on the right track. this book sounds perfect for us!!

  22. I think there’s a chance that this post might change my life, and if there is a chance, I really want to take it. I have two daughters (7 and 5) and I am not thin by any means. I have photos like this one where I was a slim UK size 10 (what is that in US?) and the girl in the photo is horrified to have her photo taken because she felt so fat and ugly. I am in my forties now and still feel fat and ugly, but now I’m a UK 16.
    Only this morning I caught sight of myself in a shop window and wished I looked different. I decided that soon I’ll have another go at losing weight. I might still, but God has just used this post to open my eyes; if I could only set an example to my little girls that I am secure in my beauty Just As I Am… I could do so much to counteract the avalanche of our culture’s expectation that is coming their way.
    Thankyou thankyou thankyou.
    With God’s help I SO want to move past this hatred of my body, which has given me two wonderful daughters and takes me through each day. I can do more for my girls by showing them that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes than I can by struggling with dissatisfaction and constantly trying to be something I’m not.
    Bless you. x

  23. Tracey Michelsen says:

    I am in! I have four children….two are girls. We have a 13 and 7 year old daughters. I struggle with all the steps…but i have to say step one is hard. I am trying to find the balance of helping but not hovering….when to step in and when to let them make their own decisions. When should I let them know their outfit isn’t the greatest and when to let it slide. (not that either try and wear anything inappropriate…it is just that they might not match some days! ) I try to tell them they look great or adorable in this or that….hmmm….raising daughters is not easy. Teaching them that God make each of us as individuals and that he loves us no matter what is our goal. Each and every day. Wow. That is a huge task! So important.

  24. I’m in! I’m not a mom yet, but I do have 3 nieces and other young cousins that I would love to help in this area and even give this book to their moms to read. I know I focus too much on looks and judge people on their looks way too much! I need to readjust my views on what beauty really is, but it’s not very easy in the culture we live in. What beauty is supposed to ‘look’ like is everywhere. I know this book would help me a lot in readjusting my views on what beauty is and see how to help myself and in turn help others!

  25. What an important book! Thank you for the introduction and thank you for the chance to win this.

  26. Step 3 is the hardest.

  27. I’m not sure which step is the hardest for me, but I’m in – with my 12 year old daughter.

  28. Christina says:

    This book would be very beneficial for myself and my almost 15 year-old daughter.

  29. Step 2 is the hardest one for me. I have two young girls. I want to be a secure Mom to influence my daughters. I would love to read this book!

  30. Probably step 2. I grew up very insecure and from a broken home. My mother still puts me down and I am 42 yrs old. God blessed us with 2 boys and then after 6 miscarriages, we were blessed with our first daughter, who is now 12, and I was so afraid I would not be a good mom to her. With God’s help and my husband’s support, I am learning, while teaching her, how valued I am in God’s eyes. It is easy to tell her how beautiful she is and it is most important how beautiful she is on the inside. I need to also be a good example by living out that belief in my life, by not making insecure comments about myself.

  31. Kristy Cirillo says:

    Love the post and would love to read the book! Thank you!!!

  32. All the steps are hard for me!!! My prayer was to never impress my insecurities on my daughter, but I fear that I have done some of that. Just the tiniest bit. I try to be a good example, but I do love my junk food too. None of us are extremely overweight but we could all be healthier. Exercise is where I’m going – being “FIT”, instead of skinny. That is my mantra. We are all made differently, but we are all wonderfully made!!!

  33. I have a 6 yr old daughter and 2 1/2 yr old daughter. I try really hard to not emphasize physical beauty and I swore I would minimize the amount of disney princess and barbie stuff, but here i sit with multiple princess/barbie movies/dolls/dresses/workbooks/etc. not that they are bad in themselves, it just fuels the fire and puts attention on all that and encourages focus on outer beauty – instead of focusing on nature and adventure and strength and science and helping others and sports and art, etc, etc. I’m hoping it’s still early enough in their development to shift their focus and undo (redo?) what I allowed to happen!!

    thanks for all the wonderful tips and advice!

  34. This book would be beneficial for myself, sad to say I am now 54 yrs old and I don,t see myself any different than Lynn saw herself at 13. I still see myself flawed and imperfect & God has made everyone else beautiful.

  35. Julia Reffner says:

    Without a doubt giving my own mind a break is the most difficult. I’m determined to make these changes. For several generations the mom-daughter relationship has been a hindrance in this area and I’m determined to break the cycle with my own 7 year-old.

  36. Step 2 is the hardest for me. I am already facing this issue with my 8 year old daughter. I can’t believe how her young heart is already being pulled into the lie that her physical appearance needs adjustment. I feel like it has to have come from my own insecurities and obsessions. I must figure out how to help her not live the life of insecurity I have!

  37. I am a wife and mother of six children (ages 30, 26, 23, 20, 18, and 16). My daughters are 20 and 16. I have struggled with insecurities for approximately 20 years. I have been reading, rereading, and working through Made to Crave and started going through A Confident Heart this summer. I am constantly going over the scriptures in these books and praying that I will be able to see myself as my Heavenly Father sees me and live in that security and victoriously with his strength. I am beginning to replace Satan’s lies with God’s truth. I have become very aware of how Satan has kept me from living with joy because of my fears and that these fears have affected my family.

    Steps 2 and 3 are ones that I myself am working through. I would be happy for any encouragement and a copy of this book. I want to be a good example to my family. Please pray for me. Thank you.

  38. Sue Cocking says:

    I’m in. I need this wisdom for my 16 year old daughter who’s going through a tough time.

  39. I’m in!! I wish I had this book when I was younger! Spending most of my childhood in the hospital or at doctor appointments I never really had a chance to build my own identity. This would have been great to have and I would love my 11 year old Daughter to read this.

  40. With an 11 year old daughter I’ve been more mindful of this topic especially as we approach middle school. It’s hard not to get swept up in the beauty blizzard at this age. I would have to say that #1 has gotten us off to a good start though. Keeping our lines of communication open. We talk about our finding worth in Christ often and that the only thing that matters is Christ period. Now, having said that and while we truly believe it, we’re far from perfect! We’ll see how long we can foster this indepence and keep the world at bay! Praying hard to stand in Christ alone! I would love to share this book with my daughter and her friends at school.

  41. christine says:

    Step 2 Is the hardest for me. Sometimes I don’t even realize I am doing it.

  42. Loan Nguyen says:

    I’m in. P.S., Tiny Step 3 is the toughie…

  43. This is so true. We r bombard by media,etc to what the world is telling us we should look like. I vividly remember those same feelings in those early teen years and I want to help my little girl go through life being confident with the armor of God. Step 2 really spoke to me on things I still need to work on in my life.

  44. I have 3 daughters, so I am definitely in! 🙂

  45. I am definitely in!!! This book would be a great help as my 14 yo daughter struggles so hard with confidence and thinking she is fat, ugly, etc…..

  46. I have two daughters and am a widow as well. It is so wonderful to see that other mom struggle with this topic. I try to teach them to eat right and move more but recent started focusing in the word as a means of encouragement and what is right by what Gid sees and loves, not by what man does. One of my daughters is almost 14 and boy is this a wild ride but I know that with God ultimately in control and me believing in her- she will be a woman of God when she is older!!!

  47. Huge issue! I’ve made so many mistakes! Trying to be a good role model now…..but fail so often! Very interested in this book!

  48. I have 2 daughters and teach youth girls….this looks like a valuable resource to read! I would love to win a copy.

  49. Desperate need it to minister to myself and my three girls

  50. Nancy Lane says:

    Step 2 is the hardest for me. I have had a bad self image for a long time, and i really don’t want my daughter to struggle with the same issue. I want to be a mom that helps her daughter know that she is fearfully and wonderfully made, but I know that starts with me.

  51. After fighting an eating disorder for 20 years and now having two daugthers with one reaching the age to be concerned about her weight this book would help me and my daugthers. She already knows the calories in most foods and no 10 year old should know that. They should be laughing and having fun and not focusing on calories.

  52. I would love to win this book, I have a 13 year old.

  53. Ali Iammatteo says:

    I believe ” Tiny Step 1 Take a verbal stance against physical beauty obsessions in your home,” is the hardest of these three tips, at least for me. After reading that particular tip, I was amazed about what the counselor said about saying nothing about her appearance, good or bad. My 15 year old struggles with insecurities, therefore, I tend to let her know how pretty she looks or how nice and put together she looks.

    I also have lost quite some weight recently, about 30 pounds and I tend to dwell on how I look or how something looks on me. I now realize that her being a witness to this, is emphasizing my “importanance of physical appearance.”

    Thank you so much for this eye opening write up. I look forward to making some changes in our home, for my daughter’s sake!

  54. Charmaine Daugherty says:

    I am really big on my kids knowing who they are in God. I look at my daughter, who is going into 6th grade, and I want her to know she is beautiful and purposed. Living in a society where looks and senuality are OVER done, it is a challenge at times raising a modest girl. She doesn’t give me a hard time, in fact she wants to honor God in her dress and attitude. I think this would be a great tool to continue in that direction, when we(she) is going against the “grain” so to speak. Young women and those more seasoned can be modest and cute and still honor God. That is something the Father has taught me in my own life, not having the father figure I needed for a looooong time. So I would like to have this book to read, and be encouraged by. Blessings ^.^

  55. I have a 14 yr. old daughter and this book looks very relevant.

    I’m in!!!!!

    Thanks 🙂

  56. I’m in!!!! I have 2 daughters…17 & 7!!!

  57. Step 1 would be hardest for me.

  58. Michelle P says:

    My daughter is my “mini me” and as she has grown into a lovely 15 year old, I have become very aware that my example is the foundation of who she is, good and bad. The more I change for the better, I see her change also. I change my “stinking thinking” and so does she. I’m so very proud to encourage her and be encouraged to be better to glorify HIM so she will too. Thanks for sharing such an important facet of our roles as a mother and example to our children.

  59. Yes, our world today truly puts too much emphasis on physical appearance. Thank you for the wise words to encourage us and our daughters to remember what true beauty is! I have a 12 year
    old daughter who will be 13 in a few weeks. This book sounds like a must-read for both of us.

  60. I would live this book for my daughter. She is an aspiring Hair Stylest whose dream is to reach out to the young crowd to teach them how to shine using modesty as their foundation of beauty. She is an inspiration.

  61. I am in for sure. This topic is so close to my heart. I used to struggle with Step 1 because of alot of the things that I grew up with. Now it is Step 3 that I am working hard on.

  62. Tiny Step #4—Recognize beauty in others. When you are confident enough to give a compliment to someone else, you instantly feel better about yourself.

    1. I love that Chantel. My daughter Madi often comments on that teen girls just don’t compliment each other; a sure sign they are insecure themselves!

  63. Cathy FIsher says:

    Wow… The hardest would be number 1 when it comes to my girls I am always saying how pretty they are. With 3 girls this is something I worry about, but I have not had to address this quite yet, I know it is coming though.

  64. I have 3 adopted daughters, which is new for me, because before they came along I just had boys, so I need as much help as I can get. Thank you!!

  65. Charlotte W says:

    I have two daughter ages 34 and 32 that have given me 5 beautiful grandaughters.

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