Wednesday, December 18, 2013

how to raise a beautiful daughter

When I was pregnant with her, I wondered if it would be different. After three sons, I wasn't sure what would it be like to raise a daughter.

{Girls are different, you know.}

I delight in my boys. I am smitten and enthralled by their plucky way of conquering the world. Boys who need their mama make the world go 'round with love, love, love.

Raising a girl, though, will undo the knots life has tied in your soul.

I look at this little whisp of a thing, birthed from my womb straight into my heart. Her smile is full of silly mischief and her words are like honey and lavender; her blonde hair and sparkly shoes skip, fly, and dance through our home.

I believe deep down in my bones that everything about her is perfectly glorious. She is beauty, she is grace, she bubbles with all that is wonderful.

Our culture salivates over her youth and joy. It waits for an opportune time to accuse her of being less than enough for everyone around her and everything she longs to do.

I'm building walls around her to keep that filthy lie out.

"Beauty is as beauty believes," I tell her.

Because I know it isn't her hair or her skin, her clothes or her jewelry that make her truly beautiful. It is God Himself that causes us to light the world with glory.

Her beauty is birthed from the way He formed her for this world, lovingly carved her in heavenly places from the glory only He can contain.

I'm like an old time tent evangelist, preaching the gospel of beauty and grace to her. I point to the women we know and love, who radiate God's love and I define the words "beautiful" and "enough" for her by God's standards.

Soon she will hear the world's message, that beauty comes from a bottle and can be bought on a hanger. She will hear that youth is the height of glory and wrinkles are our greatest enemy. Someone will tell her that her appearance is of more importance than her mind, or her generous heart, or her love for others. The evil siren song that she will never be enough will try to win her heart away.

Here is where the true challenge comes: you can't teach to others what you don't know yourself. I can't show her how to love herself if I don't love myself.

Late at night I wash my face and peer deeply into my reflection. A strange face gazes back for behind this looking glass. I think to myself, "Beauty is as beauty believes," and I know what I see.

I see a woman who is loved. I'm not afraid of aging or of wrinkles. I have decided to take life as it comes and that living up to the world's standard of beauty isn't worth the effort.

Because that's what God says about me. And because I have a daughter who is watching me very closely.

I'm calling out to her from under this tent, singing praises to God, and I'm about to make a run for The Lord because the world's beauty message is garbage that could rot our souls, but we are women set free by the truth.

God's love makes us beautiful, and by His grace we are enough. Nothing will ever change that.

Yes, yes, beauty is as beauty believes.

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