Amber and Seth Haines’ new book, The Mother Letters, is a fabulous compilation of letters from over 30 women written to encourage moms at every stage of motherhood. I’ve been a mom less than four years and am expecting my third child, so I‘m still in the thick of it, but I want to share the mama dreams I have for my daughter in the link up on Amber’s page. I‘m also honored to share this letter today at Self Talk the Gospel.
I see the way your attitude already changes as you discover you’re being admired. You shrug your shoulders and peer back at your admirers in a coy way, hoping for more attention. You’ve already received more compliments for your wispy blond pig-tails, wide blue eyes and perfect little toddler body than your brother has had in over three years of his life. And it’s not because you are more adorable than he is.
No. It’s because you are a female.
It caught me off guard at first when grown men would stop and compliment your eyes, because no man had ever done that with your brother. You were no more than six months old, so it all began so much earlier than I had expected.
Of course I want you to be admired, but I also want you to be seen. Right now, you and your brother are equally cute, intelligent and playful. You are both developing in your own ways and have your own strengths. The world is wide open for both of you. So I dread the day when you find your first gate to walk through that is for you alone and not for your brother simply because of your gender. And there will be many more to slow you down in the years to come. But they are gates, and not walls, so I don’t want you to turn back.
My prayer for you is that you grow up knowing you are loved by your family, but especially knowing that you are held, cherished and adored by Jesus. You do not need to be loved by a man to have value. Period. You are already a beloved daughter of the King (1 Jn. 3:1). He–not a man– will fill the empty places in your soul (Eph. 3:19). Never believe that Prince Charming will save you. Instead, remind yourself, “I am my beloved’s and His desire is for me” (Song of Songs 7:10). I pray that you fall deeply in love with Jesus as your first love (Rev. 2:4).
I want you to feel respected, honored and trusted by the men in your life and especially by men in the church, who too often belittle women and make them feel invisible. Jesus sawwomen and raised them to a higher status. I want you to have healthy relationships with men as you respect them and honor them as much as you expect them to respect and honor you (Mat. 7:12). There are good men in this world, so I hope that you surround yourself with the ones who treat you with kindness and dignity; as Ephesians says to “be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you” (4:32).
I want you to have the freedom to pursue your passions, gifts and callings without guilt or apology. While women and men have different strengths and weaknesses, a woman should not be told that she “can’t do” something because she is not a man. I want you to be as educated as you want to be and to find pleasure in all that God gives you to do. Being a mother is wonderful, but it is not the only calling for a woman, so I hope that you find joy using your gifts however God has crafted your soul to serve (1 Pet. 4:10). He is delighted when we use our passions as He intended and especially when they are poured out as an act of selfless worship unto Him (Mat. 25:14; Luke 7:38).
When I think of the woman you will become, I pray that you would “put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Col. 3:12). I want you to see the overlooked, the weak and the oppressed and to be brave enough to speak up on their behalf when you have the chance (Ps. 82:3-4). I hope that you ask questions and don’t just accept the status quo. Don’t be afraid to live differently or push back on a broken system even when you don’t see a way to fix it just yet (Esther 4:14).
I hope you have the opportunity to know and love people who are poorer, richer, lighter, darker, crazier, duller and braver than you are. Each person will enrich your life and broaden your perception of God’s kingdom and the scope of His creativity (Ps. 22:27).
The world right now is scary at times and I don’t see that changing before you are grown, so I pray that you don’t live in fear, but with hope and the knowledge that you are never alone (Is. 41:10). This world is not your home (Heb. 13:14; Jn. 18:36). You’re a visitor here for a time to play, learn, love, grow, change, rest, build and wrestle with the world–and with yourself in it. But mainly God has granted you this precious life to develop a relationship with Him through the sacrifice He made for you (2 Cor. 5:15).
Never forget that you are not alone (Deut. 31:6). Never forget that you are extravagantly loved (Jn. 3:16). Never forget that Someone stands over you smiling and belting out happy songs about you (Zeph. 3:17). Never forget that you have worth and value not because of what you look like or even because of what you do with your life (because that will constantly change), but because you are God’s daughter, His precious one (Ps. 139). He knew your name before your daddy and I did and He loves you more than we ever could (Jer. 1:5; 1 Jn. 3:1).
I thank God daily that I get to be your mommy and walk this messy magical life with you. I have so many hopes for you, baby girl, but I know that you are in hands that are stronger and more loving than mine (Job 12:10). I pray that one day you will decide to give your life to your Greatest Admirer and accept His gift of Life through Jesus, because He is the place where your heart and soul will find their true home (Rom. 5:8).
I love you, my little miss.