This week we celebrate my daughter's birthday. Nine years ago, she burst into this world and stole our hearts. NINE YEARS!!
It's becoming increasingly evident that my relationship with her is shifting. We've squarely entered that phase where she needs me to be close, but not too close (especially in front of her friends). And as I watch her stretch her wings a little more with each passing day, I realize there are a few things I want to be sure she knows--really knows in her heart of hearts--before she ventures too far from the nest.
1. You are beautiful. I know there will be times when you doubt that. Unfortunately, there will be times when you are made to feel anything but beautiful. Whether it's the airbrushed images in magazines or the hurtful words of others, remember that those images--those words--are untrue. When they say you are anything less than gorgeous, they are lying. Your beauty is more than your raven-like hair and chocolate-drop eyes. It's more than your body shape or your smile. Your beauty goes much deeper...it's in your heart, in your soul, in your purpose. You were crafted by the Master Craftsman, and He only makes the finest. So, my dear, always remember...you. are. beautiful.
Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb. I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! (Psalm 119:14, MSG)
2. You are smart. In a world that puts much emphasis on a woman's appearance and less on her knowledge, hold tightly to the hunger you have now for information. Feed that hunger, and never apologize for it, but always, always seek Truth, even above "knowledge." For there is no true knowledge apart from Truth. You may be tempted someday to hide your knowledge (or the Truth), to get the attention of a boy. Don't do it! Instead, do what I did...find a boy who's smarter than you.
“Let not the wise [woman] boast in [her] wisdom...but let [she] who boasts boast in this, that [she] understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth..” (Jeremiah 9:23, 24)
3. You are strong. You'll learn soon enough that as women, we are often asked to be feminine or strong...tough or tender. The world screams at us to be tough while many well-meaning Christians are quick to call us back to femininity. It can become overwhelming and confusing, but God has created us with an unique ability to be both: to be soft (gentle, not weak) on the outside and strong on the inside. Not a strength that you have to muster on your own, but a strength--God's strength--that is there for the taking, if you simply ask.
She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong...Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. (Proverbs 31:17, 25).
4. You are clever. More than book smart, you are clever...quick-witted. You have inherited your mother's love for words and her gift for wit and sarcasm. (You're welcome and I'm sorry.) Fortunately, you have also inherited your dad's love of silliness. Learn to use them with grace, and they will serve you well. Always use your words, even witty words, to build up and bring life to others.
She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. (Proverbs 31:26).
5. You are loved. You love deeply and want to be deeply loved; your dad and I treasure that about you. Unfortunately, that means you will have your heart broken in the years to come...probably more than once. A friend will betray you for another friendship, and it will cut deeply. A boy will come along and crush your tender heart, perhaps without even realizing it. And you'll wonder if anyone will ever love you. In those moments, please remember you are already loved...deeply, unconditionally loved. You can't do anything to make us love you more, you can't do anything to make us love you less, than we already do. When all else fails, know this: we love you, but God loves you even more.
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:13).
So, dear, sweet girl as you continue to outgrow your jeans and flip flops year after year, I pray you continue to grow into the beauty and the grace with which you were created.
Wonder what 5 Things I Want my Son to Know?
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