Today is International Women’s Day, and I’m thinking of my daughter, kind, special, strong, and beautiful. Next week, she’ll be halfway between 7 and 8, and I’m aware, more than ever, that she’s looking to me during this slide from childhood to adolescence.
Take your time, baby girl.
Though I tell her these things often, when we’re alone in the car, pillow-to-pillow before bedtime, I know she doesn’t understand all the way. Not yet. But this is what I want her to know:
- Nothing you can do can make me love you less. I love you for who you are, not what you do. Nothing you can do can make me love you MORE. Accolades and trophies are wonderful tokens of achievement, but you don’t have to do anything to earn my love.
- Never let anyone make you feel shame for your vulnerability. There’s unfathomable strength in the intersection of your vulnerability and resilience.
- What you DO is so much more important than what you say you’ll do.
- If people speak lies of you to make you feel pain, they are usually operating from a deep place of their own lies and pain. Remember you are the Lord’s, and what HE says about you is true.
- Surround yourself with a variety of people, listen and learn from them, show respect even if you don’t understand or agree, and most importantly, recognize their value. This world would be way more boring if everyone was the same.
- Romance novels and chick flicks are fun, but the best kinds of love stories are the ones between two people who don’t *need* each other or *complete* each other, but who remind each other how strong they are and inspire each other to the best versions of themselves. When the time comes (when you’re good and 30 😉 ), the only one you’ll need to chase is Jesus and the only looking you’ll need to do is at the dreams he’s put on your heart. It’s there that your own love story will fall in place.
- When you feel pain (because you will), don’t mask it or numb it or pretend it doesn’t exist. Lean into the Father, pay attention to your pain, deal with it, and if you can’t deal with it alone, there’s no shame in getting help. Pain is a compass that can point to a deeper problem, protect us from harm, and draw us closer to the Father.
- In jiu-jitsu, you learned “with great power comes great responsibility.” Use your gifts to strengthen those who aren’t as strong as you, but do it from a place of overflow, humility, and gratitude for what the Lord has given you.
- Be grateful for the body you have. Pay less attention to how yours measures to others’ and more attention to the wonderful things it can do. Listen to it, take care of it, and treat it the way you would treat a lifelong friend.
- Sometimes you’ll put in the work and do everything right, and it still won’t be enough or it isn’t your time. I pray that your reactions won’t be swayed by others and that your worth will be so deeply rooted that no mistake or rejection or loss can define your value.
This list is far from complete and I know that, by next month, I’ll probably have 10 more. But it’s good to write it down somewhere and keep a running list so she remembers — and so I don’t forget.