(This letter is part of a series of blogs entitled, “Letters to My Children”. You can read about it by clicking here.)
Dear Adeline and Malina,
Throughout your life people will try to offer you a picture of how they see the world, and how you should see it too. Then there will be people on T.V. or online magazines that will give you pictures of how you should view yourself. They will try to tell you what you need to change about the way you look or the food you eat in order to match those pictures. Eventually, Disney (assuming they still exist) will give you a picture of who you should marry and how to live “happily ever after”.
In every stage of life, we start to collect these pictures and refer to them regularly to see how we measure up. The problem is that life rarely follows the pictures we have in our mind. Adeline and Malina, you cannot let those who know you only as a demographic, sell you on the idea that your worth, your value as a woman, is based upon your hair, or your clothes, your shoes, or your measurements. You are NOT your dress size, so don’t let anyone give you a picture of life that says you must fit into their mold of beauty in order to be considered beautiful.
There will be moments where you will look at the pictures you carry around of what people have decided “beauty” looks like, and you will look at yourself in the mirror, and you may start to feel like you just don’t measure up. In those moments, you have a choice to either hold on to those unrealistic “pictures” of beauty, or throw them away….throw them away.
True contentment in life comes when we throw away the pictures we collect of how life should be or how we should look, and we embrace the life that God has given us and the way God has made us. We then allow God to paint the picture and that is what we carry with us. The way you will look, your size and shape and features, none of those are a surprise to God. God crafted you and God is the one determining the steps of your future, long before you took your first.
I know there will be days when you will struggle with these issues of self-worth and value. I know you will probably go through things growing up that I cannot or will not understand (your Mother is already preparing me). But you are my girls, and I will spend the rest of my time as your Dad, reminding you that you are loved, that you are valuable, and so beautiful, inside and out. That you are worth the entire world to your Mother and I….and worth the God of the universe giving His only Son to die for you.
But for now, I’ll just watch you put on your Mom’s shoes and jewelry, or watch you as you dance around the kitchen….those are the pictures I will always carry with me.