For most of my life I have not felt beautiful.
Junior high was rough. My too-straight hair did nothing for my face; I could never find a hair style that worked for me. And I was flat-chested, embarrassingly so. (In fact, one day during seventh grade math class, the class bully who sat behind me tried to snap my bra, except I wasn’t wearing one so he pinched my skin really hard. It was one of those days you just don’t forget as a seventh-grade girl. I went home and told my mom that I needed to buy a bra . . . immediately!)
High school didn’t help. Hello, acne! And a body still that didn’t want to fill out; I had reached my full height (5’ 9”) by eighth grade, but my legs looked like toothpicks underneath a skirt. I got called “skinny” and worse (!) more times than I could count; it didn’t feel like a compliment.
By the time college rolled around I was fairly set in my self-estimation. I was a tall, skinny girl with bad hair and skin. I never once thought of myself as pretty.
I don’t say this to garner pity; I’m trying to explain why I decided, when my three daughters were very young, to simply tell them that they are beautiful. They are not perfect—they have gone through the same awkward phases that I did in junior high and high school. But in my eyes, these three girls are the most beautiful girls in the world. Because they are mine.
Here’s what I know: the world will try to do as much as it can to mess up the way our girls think about themselves. The people they encounter at school will try to make them feel “less than.” Others will compare and scrutinize and nit-pick our daughters until they buy into the lie that they are not beautiful in the eyes of the world.
But what I also know is that, while beauty is not their most important virtue (let’s also foster kindness, compassion, service, and a whole host of other inner qualities), it matters to our girls what we think about them. I also know that I have a part to play in what my daughters believe about themselves, and I want them to believe that they are beautiful. Because they are!
And so is your daughter.
Because these young women we’re raising are made in the image of a perfect, loving Creator, each one has been creatively fashioned in just the right way. That makes them beautiful. That makes them special. That makes them unique.
Listen, our girls will have plenty of days when they feel less than beautiful, less than special, less than unique. But I want to send my daughters into the world knowing that no matter what anyone else says, her parents believe that she is beautiful, inside AND out. And God, who fashioned her so perfectly, believes that too.