I have four daughters, and with that, an inordinate amount of estrogen and emotion pumping through my home at all times. But I love it.
When I was 19 I asked God to only give me daughters, and He was gracious enough to oblige. There is something special about the relationship between a dad and his little girl and I'm blessed enough to have this four times over (and possibly more in the future!).
The more my girls grow up together the more distinct they grow from each other - in temperment, personality, preferences, giftings and interests. It is a joy to watch them grow into their own uniquenesses. I write this letter to them where they are now as little girls, where they will soon be as young ladies and where they will ultimately be as grown women. I write also with the conviction that no matter how old they are or where life takes them, they will always be my baby girls. This letter is an appeal to cling to Jesus as their constant in the midst of a world full of conflicting messages about who they should be, what they should value and how they should be defined as women.
Long before I knew you I asked God to give you to me, and He did in abundance. I've wanted and waited and hoped and prayed for you for a very long time, and now after having you and knowing you I'm reminded again and again that God not only answers prayers, He exceeds them; He not only satisfies our desires, He saturates us in more than we could ever ask or imagine. You and your mom are my joy, and because I love you I want to warn you of what lies ahead and encourage you to hold onto Jesus through it all.
The world will tell you to be different, stand out, get noticed and make a name for yourself. The allure of popularity will be great. One day a voice in your head will tell you that if you're not known and accepted by everyone then you are worthy of no one. It will whisper in your weakness that you are broken, flawed, inadequate and unloveable - that you should be better. It will tell you normal is boring, bland, plain and unexciting - that you should be more. You will be taught that love is measured by sex, beauty by appearances and worth by capabilities. You will be told that who you are is not enough and that Jesus isn't either; that God made mistakes when He made you - flaws you should be embarrassed by, ashamed of and angry with Him for. At the end of the day, the pressure to be known will be heavy, and the cost to achieve it will be great at times - even at the price of selling yourself short or selling yourself out, simply to feel valued by those around you.
In this battle to find your place, rest in the offer of Jesus towards you - He paid the ultimate price of His life so that you may know you are loved and valued, whether you stand alone in this world or stand out in it. You have nothing to prove and no one to impress. Jesus took care of all of that. You don't need to stand out in this world, you just need to stand strong in who God made you to be. Over and above your own name, throw yourself fully towards the cause of making His name known. The pressure on you will be great, but the privilege you have to stand up for something greater is ultimately what will sustain you - when you're lonely and feel rejected, when you feel unworthy and unloved, when you feel lost and directionless, when you feel boring and ordinary - because in the end, you know Who stands with you...everything is going to be okay.
The world will also tell you to conform, blend in, be normal and don't stand out too much. The pressure to fit in will be intense. One day a voice in your head will tell you to compromise who you really are so others will approve of a plastic version of who you aren't. It will whisper in your uniquenesses that you are strange, weird, incapable of belonging and unworthy of fitting in anywhere. The fear of rejection will be strong, tempting you to look, talk, dress and act like everyone but yourself. The world will champion your diversity until it begins to infringe upon their uniform lines of acceptance. You will then be outcast by many. They will tell you the only way to fit in is to embrace the standards of acceptance they have defined for you, and to learn to live within their certain mold. You will be taught that to truly feel valuable you have to bow a knee to the values of others and to truly feel loved you have to fit yourself into someone else's conditions of love.
In your struggle to find who you are, celebrate the offer of Jesus towards you - to be defined by His deep affection for you, and to express your identity in Him not despite your uniquenesses, but through them. The world will say change who you are in order to be loved - Jesus says you are loved, so be who you are. Your weaknesses are not limitations, they are opportunities for the power of God to be more vividly seen through you. Your quirks are not hindrances, they are the means by which God wants to express the expansive nature of His diverse Kingdom here on this earth through you. Your giftings and creativities and passions in certain areas, and lack of those things in others, are not by chance but are sovereignly crafted in you to give you wings to fly for Him, to give you the courage to dream big dreams that no one else has ever dared to dream. Let no one ever say you can't. In Jesus, you are free...free to be "different" and "weird" and "quirky" and "odd" for His Kingdom. He loves that about you...everything is going to be okay.
Munchkins, throughout your life you will face the competing pressures to stand out while at the same time fit in - to be different, but still normal; to be distinct, but still the same. No one can fully live there, and I don't expect you to. My hope is that you would learn to live in an entirely different space - one defined by the obsessive, unending love of Jesus towards you. My prayer is that His love for you would set you free to be the women He has created you to be. That your security would come in the confidence of knowing that you are fully loved and fully accepted by Him, no matter where you stand in this world and whether or not anyone else is standing there with you. Jesus is, so everything is going to be okay.
I love you more than you could possibly ever know,