“Every Girl Needs Some Red Boots” by Anne Stewart Helton

Boots are not just a Texas thing….

they’re a girl thing…especially red boots.

Boots can make you taller, warm your feet, accent an outfit, boost your spirits, add some sass, help you dance, kick butt and be there to step on the devil, if needed.

Girls need red boots. 

Once, I witnessed a girl about six years old come to Church each Sunday for a few weeks. She walked slowly down for prayer, holding her Parents’ hands and holding, especially tightly, a little doll. She was frail and pale and wore a printed, tied scarf loosely on her no-hair head and she slid forward with her feet, wearing soft slippers. She obviously did not feel well. It was painful to see her Parents cry softly with the Prayer Partner who was praying in agreement over her…praying for healing of the obvious cancer she was fighting. We silently prayed for her too and also prayed for the Physicians and Nurses to have the knowledge and skills to help heal her.

Weeks later I could see the head of this little doll-like girl, sitting with her Parents and getting ready to go down again for prayer. She looked stronger, a little heavier, had a great hat and scarf on her head, was wearing a sassy looking dress and as her full body came into view…we saw that she was wearing red boots. This time she didn’t wait for her Parents to pray for her she lifted up her head and voice to the Prayer Partner and with confidence proclaimed her healing and asked for more.

She thanked God, thanked her Parents and her Doctors and Nurse. She had a big smile on her face and then she stomped her booted feet as she walked back to her seat.

It was obvious she felt stronger and was determined to be well.

Now, I have no idea if the red boots helped her get well. Chances are she just felt better so she wore her boots to Church. But what if she really felt horrible that day but wanted to feel stronger and decided to look stronger? What if she actually chose to step on the sickness and wear those Boots? What if her Dad suggested she wear her boots to Church? What if by putting the boots on and then looking at herself in the mirror she suddenly felt taller, stronger…protected?

At Lake Livingston once, my little Missy girl was determined to go fishing with her brother Bobby and her cousin Will. The boys were brave, covered in mud, handling worms and hooks and wearing boots. They had caught some Bass fish with their Grandad and little Missy was definitely not going to be left out of that. She lobbied hard for a pair of boots too and marched down to the fishing Pier to catch her share of fish. She felt equal and capable and she proved it with some catch of her own.

Again, it wasn’t the Boots, it was the symbolism to her of putting on the Boots to help her do something strong and brave.

She wore those fishing Boots out and graduated to cowgirl, skiing and riding boots later. She was so full of girl confidence and self-assurance that when she was enrolled and studying a self-assertion psychology course in college, after a few weeks, the Professor asked her to help teach it!

So often in life girls receive messages of how they should look and what they should wear and especially how they may not look as good as other girls. Girls are often bombarded by the media to fit in by decorating their bodies according to what popular performers wear or worse, girls are sexualized to ignore their inner gifts and dreams and to only portray their sexuality in seductive ways. Thus, they are programmed to meet other peoples’ needs or desires. It’s okay to have fun trying different styles and trends but not at the expense of who you really are and definitely not at the expense of your own values. The opposite of this is oppressive institutions or religions trying to cover girls up, giving mixed messages of shame and submission! So, Trust them, Girls know how to do it…recently this little cousin party girl wore her pink gypsy boots to celebrate her 85-year-old Aunts’ birthday!

Sometimes it’s a tough road for girls to travel especially if the ditches on the side of the road are filled with people, songs, tweets, and posts, giving conflicting messages:

“You have a great singing voice.” versus “Show some skin and you can be famous.”

 “You are so smart.” versus “Boys won’t like you if you’re too smart.”

 “Make your own wise decisions.” versus “Everybody does it; just go along.”

 “Stay healthy, exercise.”  versus “Have some fun, everybody drinks or smokes. Loosen up.”

Girls have to grow up through a mine field of messages that can build or hurt their self-worth and confidence. This is especially true if girls are ignored or sexualized early in life and believe their self-worth is tied only to physical attractiveness or sexual behavior and not to their skills or other characteristics. Parents can help with clear communication, praise for accomplishments and not just for their looks, by not speaking negatively about other girls’ appearances, and by being careful about what girls watch in the media or what their friends do. And it is especially important to have DAD involved in teaching girls how to do things!

Just like Boys…Girls can’t be protected from everything but they can be encouraged to try to do things on their own…paint the front door, learn to change a tire, ride a horse, build a garden, as well as other interests also…sewing, painting, writing, singing!  This is where Fathers are particularly important. Girls can still be strong, silly and girly-girls…from pretty clothes, perfume and make-up, to singing in the car, and slumber parties, to softball games, soccer kicks, diving meets, horseback riding, and marathons…girls should be encouraged to try it all and they need to be challenged and allowed to fail, if needed, to grow in real self-esteem and courage.

But the greatest gift a Parent can give a Girl for her whole life is the connection to God…to teach her the words of Jesus which will give her the life long Protection from the lessons of the Bible. These will be lessons she can pull out whenever needed, when she’s alone or if she meets the devil on the road, at a party, at a concert, on an airplane, at work or even at Church. Sadly, evil can be anywhere, and with the protection of Jesus’ words, she will have her armor on… AND her boots. The Book of Proverbs alone can help her to recognize and be protected from biblical fools she may meet in her life; or from seeking material things over the real treasures of her heart; or from using her tongue for gossip and destruction instead of for good.

Girls can also get over hurts and disappointments and learn from reading and discussing Old Testament lessons too like: Genesis 50:20 “What was meant for your harm will be used for your good. “ or  Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not harm you.”

When girls feel it, own it and speak it, it becomes real in their brains and then they begin to live it. So, start with Prayer and reading the Bible to get your Protection going.

But remember, sometimes it takes putting on your big girl boots and stomping on the devil yourself to move forward, whether you’re kicking cancer, fools, fights or fish, you can succeed. That little Missy girl in fishing boots long ago, went on to graduate to ski boots and cowgirl boots, as she worked hard, had fun, raised four children AND a husband!!

So, keep those Boots on …You are the strongest…Girlfriend!