A Wisp of a Girl

I see her clearly – a wisp of a girl.  Thirteen.  Awkward.  All knees and elbows, teetering between innocence and angst.  She is loved well, but a certain enemy awaits.  She doesn’t know it and isn’t prepared for it.  And she falls.

“You’re fat,” someone says to her.  The wisp of a girl, without an ounce of fat on her body, laughs.  Then she wonders.

I see her clearly – a wisp of a girl.  She’s looking at a magazine and for the first time notices shape.  Long, tall, thin.  Is that perfection?  She studies the mirror and her eyes cloud.  She knows the Truth.  She’s heard it a lot.






Like the whisper of wind through tall grasses, these words float across her heart.  But this time, another wind, less gentle, rough like that of a tornado tears through her.



Not perfect.

And she believes it, the wisp of a girl.

I see her very clearly – a wisp of a girl.  She is older now, having grown through the awkwardness that defines junior high.  She is beautiful, but she doesn’t think so.  Though she has been loved well, there are misguided comments from those who just don’t know better.  The hormonal teenage boy whose image of perfection is more skewed that her own.  “You’re not super skinny,” he says, and he’s right.  The wisp of a girl has developed a muscular physique – strong, lean…she’s not the waif that defined beauty in her generation.

The wisp of a girl also replays the voice of her coach over and over, like a broken record.  “You sound like a cow when you run.”  It was a comment made in passing – lighthearted and teasing.  But despite all that she knows to be true:






She believes the other voices – the louder voices.  Not perfect. Not skinny.  Cow.

I see her, the wisp of a girl.  She is allowing herself to be defined by the louder voices now.  The sound of the wind in the grasses is almost totally snuffed out.  In it she hears words like disordered and dangerous. The wisp of a girl is getting lost.  Does she hide this shame or wear it as a badge for attention?  She doesn’t know.  If she advertises, someone might take the shame away from her.  So she tries to keep it hidden.  But she’s never been good at keeping secrets and before long the wisp of a girl is in a counselor’s office. Tears.  Shame.  Frustration.

The wisp of a girl.

I see her now, the wisp of a girl.  She’s away from home, away from accountability, away.  College.  In the quiet of night, the tornado rips through her mind and her heart and she can’t seem to shake the destruction it causes.  She’s gotten better at hiding it, this wisp of a girl.  But the devil isn’t gone completely.  He’s still there, waiting.  Comparing.  And the wisp of a girl, still small, wants only to be smaller still.

This wisp of a girl is so loved, so poured into, that a new beast begins to take over.  Guilt. Now more than ever, she knows the Truth.






She knows this, and she believes it.  But…

I see her now, the wisp of a girl who’s grown into a woman.  She’s in a white dress and standing at the end of the aisle is a man who loves her completely.  He loves her perfectly.  He thinks she is beautiful – fearfully, wonderfully beautiful.  Perfect.  And she knows it, but she doubts.  She doesn’t know why, but she still doubts.  The tornado is strong still.  And the inner torment brings even greater shame.


The wisp of a girl cries out to Jesus.  It’s not the first time she’s done so, but it’s the first time she’s felt total and complete surrender and, for the first time, the tender whispers drown out the tornado of lies.  In one brief moment, the girl is healed.


Sometimes I still see her, that wisp of a girl.  I stand before the mirror and look closely and the tornado winds swirl.  I’m not who she was, but she is who I am today.  The doubts like to surface every once in awhile, reminding me of the wisp of a girl who was so innocent, so naive, so fooled.  But the healing experienced that day years ago is the constant that keeps me going.  The whispers are louder and greater and Truth reigns leaving me to rest in healing.

I watch her now, my wisp of a girl.  Innocent, beautiful, lovely and perfect.  In the stillness of the night, I whisper prayers over her, for her.  In the silent black, I whisper my prayers like the wind across tall grasses, a hedge of protection that I hope keeps the voices of dissent away from her heart.  Protection.  Love.  Truth.






These are the things I want my wisp of a girl to know and embrace.


  1. “teetering between innocence and angst” – Perfect.

  2. this is a really good post! thank you for sharing from your heart – I know that this will speak to hundreds of girls who have struggled with similar things. it is “weighty” to realize that we have the responsibility to raise our girls and give them identity in their true beauty. thanks again for this. i will direct others to this!

  3. Jessica and Christy – Thanks. I’ve had this rolling around in my head for a long time, but haven’t had the courage to post it. I’m still nervous about posting it! 🙂 But thanks for your support!!! It means a lot.

  4. I have issues with the whole “fat” issue. I think it’s ruining PEOPLE everywhere. Young, old, girls, boys, men, women. Love this post, Kelli. <3

  5. Yes. Unfortunately, ignorance leads the youthful to think that calling someone “fat” is funny and the naivete of a hormonal young girl is quick to believe that which is said in jest or, worse, cruelty. I don’t think that we as parents can protect our young ones from this. We can prepare them (as my parents did indeed do) but then we will just have to sit back and pray, and hope, that they don’t fall into the same trap (as my parents had to do).

    Parenting is hard.

  6. You know, I was allowed to read a story about a wisp of a girl quite some time ago – and was privileged to share some of her inner thoughts and ideas – as they were just then. More than anything and though she didn’t realize it, I was privileged to see glimpses of how that wisp was going to turn out. And now, I see that those glimpses did not even come close to capturing everything she would be.

  7. No fair making me cry! Thank you for those words. Seriously…thank you.

  8. Stefanie A. says

    Oh my……..I can totally relate to this post! (as you already know!) Well written, Kelli! Love you!!

  9. Sadly, it took me thirty-something years for this wisp of a girl to make peace with her doubts and insecurities. I hope it’s not so long for my daughters.

  10. PhaedraH says

    I have two small girls (6 & 8) getting rid to approach those middle school years, girls, perceptions, images, etc. – reading this gave me goose bumps.

  11. PhaedraH says

    I have two small girls (six and eight) getting ready to approach those middle school years, girls, perceptions, images, etc. – reading this gave me goose bumps.

  12. PhaedraH – thank you so much for reading. I pray your girls know and understand how wonderfully they are made.


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