To My 3 Daughters

When your mother and I got married, we dreamed of having children someday.  I can honestly admit for myself that none of those dreams involved having three daughters!   I'm definitely in over my head with bows, princesses, excessive amounts of pink, and SOOO much talking.  But God has blessed me with you, and I wouldn't change it for all the boys in the world.

I'm concerned though, for your hearts as your grow up in an increasingly difficult world.  I'm not an old man, though you make me feel it sometimes. But the world I grew up in is not the world we live in now.  And I can't even imagine what the world will be like as you continue to grow and mature into womanhood.  Who knows what the results of the 2016 election will bring, or what the world of even our own state will look like in a few years.  It's hard to prepare you for a world that seems so uncertain. Should I be teaching your survival skills?  Or another language?  Should I be learning these things?  I can't foresee the all the future holds, but I know that your opinion of yourself will guide and shape your decisions.  I'm more convinced than ever that it's my duty as your father to make sure that your understanding of who you are doesn't just come from who the world says you are, but who God says you are.

You are young enough now that you still have some innocence about you, and I want to protect that as long as I can. But no one can stay innocent in a fallen world forever, and so I want you to have a solid foundation as to who you are.

1.  You are God's creation, made in His image.  Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.  I don't have all the answers about just exactly how God created the world, or when it happened, but I believe that He did.  And I know that you are His special creation, that there is not another one of you in the whole world.  You have great value as the created child of God Almighty.  God chose to give you brown eyes or blue eyes, to make you tall or short, even to make contemplative or energetic.  You are God's creation, and for that reason you are valuable!  Others in this world will try to tell you that your value is based only on how you look, or what kind of clothes you wear, or who you date. But you, by yourself, as God made you, are of infinite worth.  Not only to me and your mother, but to God of all creation. Never take lightly the fact that God has made you just as you are for a purpose.  Your worth does not rise and fall with what people think of you. Rather, your worth is the same on the day you were born as it will be on the day you die: a beloved daughter of the King of Kings.

2.  The world does not define what a woman is.  People are quick to say that a woman must act a certain way, or dress a certain way, or look a certain way.  Those values have changed over time and cultures. Different world cultures see beauty in different things. But God is the one who created you, as a woman, and God is the one who defines what that means.  And it's not about looks or abilities or what you want to wear. Who you are as a woman is something that has been built into you by God.  If try to hit the target of the world's definition of what a woman is, you will be aiming for a moving target your whole life.  Or you will be tempted to feel that you were somehow made wrong, as you don't match the world's definition.  In Christ we are given the fullest expression of our humanity, man or woman.  Learn to tune out the world and listen to who God says you are, and nothing else.

3.  You are more than your feelings.  I'm struck that I carry much of the same feelings with me now as a 36 year old dad that I carried with me as an eight year old boy on the playground.  We carry much of the same baggage through our life, though we find different ways to express it.  But you are more than your feelings. Your feelings can betray you, make you believe something that isn't the whole truth, or something that isn't the truth at all.  It seems crazy to doubt some of the intense emotions that you might have, but you are more than what you feel.  You are beautiful even if you feel ugly, you are valuable even if you feel worthless.  You are wanted even if you feel unwanted.  You are what God has made you, nothing more and nothing less. This is not to say you should ignore your feelings. But know that because of our sinful natures, our own minds sometimes fight against us.

Someone might point out that this is the same point, just put three different ways. They are probably right. But here is what it all boils down to.

Find your identity in Christ.  He made you, He values you, He died for you.  This means you are of great worth, no matter what someone else thinks.  You are young enough now that you still think I'm superman, that I can do no wrong.  I assure that is not the case.  I know that I will hurt you in this life, that I will let you down, that I will say things that I will regret.  I know that boys and clothes and other girls and the world and everything else will all come with so many opinions and ideas about who you need to be and how you need to dress and look and act and talk.  People you love and care for will have opinions, as well as people you have never met and even the culture at large.  But they don't define you.  Learn to filter the good from the bad, to focus on those who love you and want your good.

The prayer I pray for you above all else is from Psalm Psalm 73:28 "But as for me, the nearness of God is my good."  I pray that just to be near to God will the best thing in the world for you, that to stay in relationship with God will be the thing that drives above all else.

I will never forget holding each of you in my arms after you were born.  I love you more than my words can ever express.  I will always love you, no matter what choices you make in life. Even if you ignore all I have said here and find your value in the ways of the world, know that they will never love you the way I do.  No matter what happens in your life, you have two people, your mother and I, who will always love you.


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