"Mommy, do I look beautiful?"
You are looking up at me with your big hazel eyes bright with curiosity and asking me the same question that echoes in my own heart every day.
You are only five years old and you already want to be seen as beautiful.
Truth be told, that part of us never really goes away. We may be five or thirty-five but there is still a part of us, deep in the crevices of our hearts that wants to be loved and valued and, yes, beautiful.
Heart-to-heart talks about beauty and worth and how the Gospel defines it all are on the horizon. It's inevitable. You are growing up, and watching your childhood innocence ever so slowly be eclipsed with the ugly reality of a sin-sick world is hard for this mother's heart. You and your sister used to be concerned with pacifiers and board books but now you are both fretting over the right color scrunchie for your hair and if you have too many freckles on your nose. Already aware of your perceived imperfections, already exhibiting little-girl-panic if you don't look the way you think you should. To that and all the other things in your little heart, I say this:
Don't let your beauty make you ugly.
When I look at you girls, I see the two most beautiful girls in the whole world. As you both get older, I want you to understand that beauty is more than well-applied mascara. What makes a girl truly beautiful is her kindness and her generosity and the joy of Christ in her heart, not expensive clothes or the perfect head tilt. As you grow older, you are going to be surrounded with images and messages that will try to convince you that external beauty is the most important thing in life. But it isn't. An obsession with your physical appearance will eventually take a toll and make you not so pretty. Instead you will be self-absorbed and easily irritated. Instead, be kind. Be gentle. Be fierce. Be loving. You are wonderfully made in the image of God Himself. Mirror Him well.
Don't downgrade your worth in order to feel valuable.
You may not feel very valuable when your friends seem to be more successful at this or that. You may feel "less than" when the boy you like doesn't like you back or when your skin isn't as clear as the girl sitting across from you. But hear me, girls, do not chase after things or people in order to get validation or to feel like you're special. Changing who God made you to be so you can fit in with a crowd may gain you popularity for a minute but soon the minute will be over. Exchanging the treasure of your heart for a temporary high will leave you feeling empty and lonely when the high is long gone. Letting that boy have his way with you will make you feel valuable for a little while but it won't last and you'll soon feel cheap. Dear girls, you are worth more than a hot moment. You're worth a blazing lifetime.
Don't forfeit the best for the good.
Along the lines of value, girls, do not give up hope for the best to settle for the good. There will be moments when the "good" is going to look really amazing but, always look beyond the surface - to the root of the matter and to the heart of the person. Appreciate the good, but live and wait for the great. Don't sell your birthright for beans.
Don't stop believing when it's hard to believe.
You are both young and you already wrestle with doubt. You doubt your beauty, you doubt that you are secure and sometimes you doubt my word. Doubt will continue to be an arrow aimed at you - but I want you to hold up your sparkly shield of faith and refuse to let those arrows pierce your hearts. Even when it's dark and your questions go unanswered, do not doubt the goodness and the love of God. You are hand-crafted by the One who pursues your hearts. You were given life by the One who is head over heels for you in a way that puts my own love to shame, if you can believe that. Don't stop believing Him and all His wonderful Words, no matter what.
Little darlings, you are loved. And you are beautiful. I pray that your heart is drawn more and more to the Maker of all things beautiful.