[In light of recent acts of indiscretion and exhibitions of “if you’ve got it, flaunt it” coming out from female recording artists, I’ve sat and thought long and hard about my own daughter. When she is old enough to understand, these are the things that I will share with her.]
You are one of the most beautiful things that I have ever known. As each day passes me by and I get to peer into your soul, I see the beauty shining through. Your beauty outside is only accentuated by the beauty that comes from within. I love to hear you laugh. I love to see you smile. I love it that you’re just big enough right now that I can envelop you when you curl up on my lap. I love that I can make you feel safe. Oh, that I could keep you this size forever and hold you in that protective embrace.
One day, you won’t fit on my lap, at least not so easily or in a way that doesn’t make everyone think that I’m pretty creepy. One day, you will experience the world differently than I have. One day, I will have to let you go to make decisions and choices on your own. When that day comes, don’t forget that I will always be here. Although you might not see me as often or talk to me as regularly, I will still be here when you reach out for me.
There will be people who will question your beauty. They will try to convince you that things that you do or things that you wear tell much more about your beauty than who you really are deep down inside. They will feed you lies about what you need to do to gain attention. They will try to convince you that people who are drawn to your body are really drawn to your soul. Or, worse yet, they will try to convince you that your body is more important than your soul.
You’ve already shown from a young age that you know what you want and you aren’t afraid to let the world know what that is. I have always been a man of strong conviction. Your mother has always been a woman of strong conviction. We both come from families of strong conviction. In due time, you will have strong convictions of your own. If those convictions aren’t attractive or appealing to other people, then you probably would be better served seeking the company of others who appreciate them. Always hold to your convictions. Never let anyone tell you that they are unimportant, and never believe the lie that loosening those convictions will make you more appealing. Those convictions will actually help to make you more appealing…..to the right people.
Don’t be afraid to dance, but don’t let someone try to tell you that dancing a certain way is the only way that you can be noticed. Don’t be afraid to sing, but don’t let anyone try to tell you that singing a certain song is the only way that you can be noticed. Don’t be afraid to invent a style all your own, and don’t let anyone convince you that a certain style is the only thing you need in order to be noticed, loved, or accepted.
Anyone who asks you to be anything other than who God made you to be is not worth your time. You are a smart, beautiful, and gifted little girl who is growing into a smart, beautiful, and gifted young woman. No one can take that away from you. Don’t ever let anyone convince you that the gifts that you have been given in your mind and in your heart are not enough. Don’t ever let anyone convince you that what you have on the outside trumps what lies on the inside. Never forget the words of Proverbs 31:30, “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Outward appearance is like a vapor, but your mind will long outlast any girlish charm.
Never, ever forget that your mom and I love you. Remember that we love you for who you are. Find someone who appreciates that about you, not someone who tries to make you something else. Your mom and I have prayed every day for that person, don’t let your timing cloud your acceptance of God’s timing.
I know that it hasn’t always been easy to be my daughter. I know that I haven’t always been the dad that I need to be. I am grateful for grace that flows towards me, I pray that it just as easily flows away from me. I hope that I have modeled the convictions of which I speak, not in word only, but more so in deed. I hope that you will grow to be confident and self-assured, not in your own strength, but in the strength that God alone can give you.
Remember that I am always here for you. When you fall, I will help you up. When you run, I will be watching and waiting for you off in the distance. When you rise above, I will cheer for you. When you need an ear, I will do my best to simply listen with no strings attached.
I love you, and no matter how much smarter or older you get, you will always be my little girl.
With all of my heart,