To my sweet baby girl,
I tell you every day that you are God’s precious gift to me, but I wish with all of my being there were some way that I could convince you of how deeply I mean it. You have no idea how much He’s brought me through to get to this place where I can sit without overwhelming fear and smile down at you, a little lady entrusted to me.
Don’t be alarmed when I admit this to you, but there was a time in my life, long before you were conceived, when the thought of having a daughter petrified me. I’m over that now, and I could not be more delighted that you are my beautiful daughter, but I want to explain a few of the reasons I feared it.
It boils down to this, being a girl myself, I know more vividly the struggles that come with being female. It’s not easy, my dear, but it doesn’t have to be nearly as hard as we tend to make it. Today I want to begin a conversation that we’ll have many times in our years of growing together.
I still struggle with this one, my love, but we will work hard to conquer it together.
I remember when I was a girl there was a wildly popular company called Glamor Shots. In short, women and girls would go in for a photo shoot after getting a makeover. Was it evil to participate? Not at all. I knew lots of people who did it, and I firmly believe that they did nothing wrong for indulging in this fun activity.
I wanted to go in for my own makeover and come out with the pictures to prove I, too, could look beautiful with hair fancy in pure 90s form with lots of hair spray and really tall bangs. But my mom said no. I remember crying as I asked her why. I wanted to feel beautiful for once in my short life, and it seemed she was depriving me of that happiness. I remember her quiet response, “I want you to always know what true beauty looks like. You don’t need all of that to be beautiful. You already are beautiful just the way that God made you.”
I didn’t get it. I sighed as I looked in the mirror and begrudgingly distributed my homely school pictures. “If only…” I sighed as I imagined how much better I would look with a lot of makeup on my pre-adolescent face.
Now that I’m grown, there are still times when I still play that “If only…” game. If only…
I had the same body I did 10 years ago.
I had more money to buy nicer clothes.
I had different hair.
I had a more attractive face.
They start piling and I start spiraling when I dwell on “if onlys.” But one article I happened upon recently online made me smile and get my focus off my self-centered, incorrect view of true beauty. It contained dozens of pictures of funny Glamor Shots photo shoots. While the women posing were probably beautiful women in real life, they looked comically out of sorts as they posed with their white glove-adorned hands holding their far-too-big and bedazzled collars. The pictures were dated, just like pictures become as time passes. The styles portrayed in those pictures 20 years ago are long gone, and their lipstick would not turn heads in a positive way if worn today.
In the 5 minutes I spent perusing the pictures in the article, I silently thanked my mom for being right and sticking to it when it would have been easier to let me go feel better about myself for a brief season in my life by having my own Glamor Shots. Fashions change quickly, my dear, and your body will always have some awkward stage it’s going through even when you’re all grown up. So please do your best to understand early on that beauty is more than what you put on or how you style your hair. It’s how God made you. Perfect. Exactly how He wants you. In HIS image.
This is only the beginning of this conversation, sweet daughter. We both have much to learn about finding that balance of caring for the temple God’s given us and not getting caught up in what those around us say we should do and wear to look good. May we always remember to cast aside the “if onlys” and strive to glorify our Creator with the beautiful bodies He’s given us in every season of our lives.
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