Saturday, January 4, 2014

You Are So Beautiful...A Letter to my Daughters

This post is kind of a follow-up to this one.

I've been in contact with an old friend a lot recently, and something she and I have been talking about extensively is the significance of physical beauty - in particular feminine beauty. If you've been reading this blog for a while, you probably know that I have a twin sister and that my parents only raised daughters...and you probably also know that I really admire how they raised daughters. They are my inspiration in raising my own little girls.

One thing that they did extremely well is to affirm for my sister and I that we were (and are, because they continue to affirm us) beautiful. Nowadays, there is a movement to not talk to young girls about physical beauty. Rather that tell them that they are beautiful, we're supposed to tell them that they are smart, creative, funny, resourceful, etc. Let me clarify, here and now, that both my parents and the Abbot and I agree with the importance of affirming little girls in that way. We all believe that it is important for a girl - or a boy, for that matter - to know what their gifts are and how much they have to offer the world.

But my parents, and the Abbot and I, also think it's important to tell little girls they're beautiful.

Because my parents told me, often, that I was beautiful I never (or rarely) doubted it. I knew that whatever anyone else thought or said, the man and woman who brought me into this world thought I was beautiful. It is my hope that my daughters will believe the same.

But, many girls are not told that they are beautiful and loved. My friend pointed this out to me. Dear friend, if you are reading this now, I hope you know how immeasurably beautiful you are actually are, through and through. I hope that you, and all women, are able to believe that about themselves.

My daughters are 5 months and 3 years old and not ready to read this letter yet...so for now I'll just keep reminding them how beautiful they are. But someday, I hope that they do find this letter and read it. In the meantime, I write this letter not only for them, but for any woman who needs to know that it's okay to want to be beautiful.

To my dear little sweethearts,

From the time that I was very young, I never really imagined my wedding day, or my perfect house. But there was one thing that I did dream about and hope for - daughters. You two, my dear daughters, are an answer to the desires of my heart. I am so happy to be your mother, and I feel so blessed that Daddy and I get to be the ones to raise you.

We tell you both often, but I just wanted to take this opportunity to tell you both again just how beautiful you are. I want you to know why that gift of beauty actually matters, and why no one can ever take that away from you.



I remember the first moment I saw each of you, and I remember how struck Daddy and I were by how incredibly beautiful you each were. You were both more beautiful than we could have imagined. Your little features were so precious, your little faces so lovely. We were in awe that God had given us such beautiful little girls. 

As I see you both grow older, I continue to be in awe of just how beautiful you both continue to be. With each passing day, you seem more and more beautiful to me. I marvel at how wonderfully soft your little hair is, how shining and happy your eyes are, how chubby you are at different stages of growth (your baby fat warms my heart like none other!), and how precious each of your little fingers and toes are on your little hands and feet. I am in love with the way your eyelashes frame your gaze, and I treasure the feeling of your soft cheeks against mine. You are both breathtakingly beautiful, and no matter what you may think over the years, I will never stop believing that you are beautiful (and neither will your father). 



But, as a woman myself, I know that there will be times when you do not feel beautiful. I know that there will be times when you feel that you don't measure up to the standards of beauty that the rest of the world has for you. I have been there, myself, at different points in my life. I know how painful that can be, to feel like you are not good enough.

But, no matter what happens, my daughters, remember - you are beautiful.



Your father and I both love going for drives together (and we often bring you both along). We love driving through the countryside, and seeing the hills rise and fall, the trees as they change colors throughout the seasons; we love to see rivers and streams bubbling by, and we (especially I) love the beauty of the Great Lakes. 

What makes all of these sights so incredibly beautiful is not just their objective beauty (although, admittedly, they are objectively beautiful) but the fact that they are wondrous works of God's creation. There is something so uniquely, so wonderfully lovely about each detail of the created world, because, as one of Mommy's favorite psalms reminds us,


The heavens are telling the glory of God
and the earth proclaims his handiwork. 
Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words, 
their voice is not heard. 
Yet, there voice goes out to all the earth
and their words to the end of the world.

-Psalm 19

And so it is with both of you, especially as women, who are so beautifully and wonderfully made.

What makes your beauty so incredible is not just your objective beauty (although, admittedly, you are both objectively beautiful) but the fact that you are wondrous works of God's creation. There is something so unique, so wonderfully lovely about each detail of you and your physical bodies because your beauty declares God's glory. 



I don't know what the "styles" will be when you girls are my age. I don't know if the world will be telling you that you need to be chubby or skinny, have a certain hair color, or what sort of clothes you need to wear, in order to be considered "beautiful." I know that the world will tell you that you need to be beautiful for other people, in particular that it's important for men to think you're beautiful.

You both probably already knows this, because of what he says and does each day, but your father certainly thinks that your mother is beautiful. That has made me so happy, knowing that he thinks that I am physically beautiful.

But, there is something more to that. Daddy does not think Mommy is beautiful because Mommy fits the styles of the day. Daddy thinks Mommy is beautiful because she is Mommy. What attracted Daddy to Mommy (and what attracted me to him) was not just objective physical beauty (although, we both found and continue to find each other physically attractive) but the kind of beauty that comes from seeing each other as wondrous gifts of God's creation. Yesterday, Daddy was teasing me because I am beginning to get gray hair. And when I look in the mirror, my body does not look the way it did when I married Daddy (because I have had the honor of carrying my beautiful babies in my tummy). But Daddy still does, really and truly, believe that I am beautiful. Daddy sees Mommy with the eyes of love.

This love increases with time, and with the various ups and downs that we go through together. Because our love is based in God's love for us, we are able to look at each other and see beauty. 

Your beauty matters, but is also not something that can easily be taken away. Regardless of what you may hear from the waxing and waning of various styles in the culture, the beauty that God has given both of you is something that cannot be taken away. It is a precious gift, and those who see you through the lens of God's love will always be able to see it. 



Your bodies matter. Your physical beauty is a gift, and the bodies that God has given each of you are a gift. In God's eyes and in mine and Daddy's eyes - you will both always be beautiful beyond compare. Your beauty glorifies God.

And that is why, someday, your bodies will be glorified. Mama Mary in heaven shows us this. When she grew old (and probably may have no longer fit the world's ideals of beauty) God did not discard her body, nor leave it to be turned to dust. He glorified her body, assuming her body and soul into heaven. He did this because, to Him, she was and always will be beautiful. One day, God willing, the same thing will happen to all of our bodies. One day, God will raise up your bodies, glorifying them like the beautiful treasures they are. He will especially glorify your wounds - those things that the world (and maybe even you) would consider imperfect. To Him, these things are especially beautiful, and especially precious.

So, my daughters, remember that you are beautiful. It is my prayer for you both that you will always know that and that you will especially be able to see your beauty through the lens of God's love for you. I hope, too, that you can see others and their beauty through this same love. If you are able to do that, you will see heart-breaking beauty in the face of each person you meet. You will be able to see how incredibly beautiful each person is, and how each person's existence is an immeasurable gift from God. And I hope that you will always remember that your beauty - the fact that you are made the specific way that you each are made - glorifies God. It delights Him! 

I love you both so much, my dear girls. I always have, and I always will.

Love,
Mommy



2 comments:

  1. I love this...what a beautiful letter to your daughters! One of my New Year's Resoutions is to tell my daughters they are beautiful more often.

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  2. You know I love this (and you):) My goodness, Sister Nugget looks so much like your sister in that one picture!!! And Sister Stinky is so pretty and grown up in her snow gear! She was so much smaller just a year ago in that cute polka dot coat. I think the black and white effect of the pictures make them extra special:)

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