A Letter to My Girl
I wrote this letter to my daughter after completing my last blog post about my own struggle with body issues. You won’t find anything earth shattering here…just a lot of love. And maybe you will find encouragement here, too.
My dear sweet little love,
Earlier today you were pulling yourself up to standing position using my hands, and the look on your face had your dad and me smiling the biggest smiles—you were so proud of yourself! And then you would sit down just so you could stand and give your open-mouth smile that makes your cheeks, nose, and eyes seem as if they’re smiling too.
Family, friends, and strangers alike often compliment you (and us) on how adorable you are—your hair that’s starting to show its blonde curl, your precious cheeks, and your adorable legs. Your coordination, strength, and observant nature are often pointed out as positive things, too. Any time I pick you up from the church or gym nursery, I almost always hear about how sweet you are—that you love being held and cuddled and how you’re always watching older kids play.
And I never tire of hearing these kind words or tire of complimenting you myself. After all, I think you’re about as close to perfect as they come. But the day will most likely come when I speak kindness into your life and you either don’t hear me or disagree. I so desperately wish I could save you from this battle—of comparison, placing your identity in your looks, not feeling beautiful—but if you’re like me, this might be a struggle for you like it has been for me. And if you do struggle in this area, I’m not going to brush it off and tell you you’re beautiful on the inside and that’s all that matters—it’s true, but it’s not helpful. But I need you to know that if you buy into the lies (and they are absolute lies) that you aren’t pretty enough or need to change to be more loved, it will eat you up. So please, love, when you’re struggling (& when you’re not, too), lean into Jesus. Tell Him out loud how you’re feeling. He already knows, but you will feel close to Him when you confide in Him. He’s the best friend you could ever have. And know He care, Collins. He created you, and He cares.
He created you to be beautiful in a unique way unlike anyone else and to do beautiful things with your life—but He never meant for those to be your identity. He just wants you. He absolutely adores you, sweetheart. And I know this for a fact because I adore you with every fiber of my being, but Jesus adores you even more because He loves with more strength than what is humanly possible. Trust me—sometimes I find it hard to believe because of how much I love you, but I know it’s true.
So on that note, here’s a list of tips/hopes I can hopefully model for you and teach you during our time together:
1. Treating your body well with the foods you choose to put in your body shouldn’t feel like a punishment—it should be a fun experience. Food is fun. I can’t wait to cook with you one day.
2. Balance. Treat your body well, but be flexible. There is nothing wrong with eating a perfectly healthy dinner and following it up with dessert every once in a while…or eating pie for breakfast like I did the other day. If you get my sweet tooth, let me let you in on my little secret…dark chocolate (sometimes daily) and baked apples—it feels like fall every time!
3. Working out is good—but I’m a much bigger fan of doing activity that leaves you feeling refreshed and energized—so find what that is! PS. Feeding your body well trumps working out any day.
4. Fads and trends will always try to make you feel like you’re missing out on something—but you’re not. It’s not rocket science. Just keep doing what you’re doing while learning for yourself along the way.
5. There will be times and days when you indulge big time. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Don’t criticize yourself while looking in the mirror. Don’t tell yourself you are limited to vegetables for the rest of the week. You may feel a little crummy from what you ate, but it won’t last, and it really isn’t a big deal. Nobody will look at you and think, “Oh I can totally tell that girl just ate a large pizza by herself.” It doesn’t have a long-term affect on you unless this is a choice you choose often. So enjoy the indulgence. Drink lots of water to feel better, and move on, sister.
I love you, little girl. I know you’ll have to learn some of these lessons for yourself, but if I can help you through any of them, I’ll be thankful. You are beautiful, little love. And you are smart. Remember though—no matter how well you take care of your body or what you achieve, your identity isn’t in any of that. Your identity is in your heart—your identity is found in your love for Jesus.
I love you, Collins Piper.