Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Power, Perks and Perils of Being a Girl...An Open Letter to my Daughter

Hello, sweet girl.
As I am writing this, you are sitting in your 4th grade classroom with your sassy 9 year old self and I am sitting here, smiling to myself thinking about you. Last night on the way home from gymnastics, we were giggling until we were snorting and helpless with laughter. You had me rolling. One day, when you are older, you will understand why I call such exchanges 'freeze frame moments.' There are those special experiences that we share when there is so much joy, just in the loving of you, that I wish time would stand still and I could just bask in the feelings and intimate emotions shared by just the two of us. You are a rare and precious gem. A pearl of great price. A source of wonder to me and conversely, sometimes a serious pain in the rump and a thorn in my side, as I'm sure I am in yours. That is just as it should be, of course. This is the way with mothers and daughters.
I wish that you would always see yourself through the eyes of your Daddy and me. I pray that you will carry the self confidence and sense of self that you have right now all the way through your childhood, teenage years and into adulthood. Unfortunately, I am honest enough with myself to know what the odds are of that and I have concerns. There will be speed bumps and hairpin turns in the road ahead. I want you to be prepared but not overwhelmed. I want you to dream big but be ready for the inevitable disappointments. I want you to be compassionate and caring to others without getting lost in the shuffle. I want you to be able to discern real love from false affections. I want so much for you. Mostly, I want my own experiences, mistakes and unfortunate choices to be the bridge you use to carry you above the turbulent waters and guide you safely over the same pitfalls that we all encounter along the way.
Honey, the world will often look at you through narrowed, steely eyes of judgment, jealousy and predatory opportunism. It will whisper deceiving, accusing seeds of thought that, if nurtured or allowed to implant, will multiply and crowd out reason and truth. You must be vigilant in your thought life. Whatever is true, whatever is good, whatever is holy, whatever is loving and peaceful and humble...stay focused on. Any thoughts of failure, unworthiness, hatefulness, envy, false pride, or of being alone are to be removed by the root and cast aside like the garbage that it is. Remember who you are. Remember whose you are.
You will make mistakes. You will have lapses in judgement that will lead to consequences. Be ready for that and be ready to take responsibility for your actions and to be accountable for your wrong doings. Apologize quickly and forgive easily, even if others are not mature enough to do the same. There are a lot of lost and hurting souls walking around in this world. They may hurt you or betray you. Don't take it personally. 99% of the time, the actions of others toward you really have nothing to do with you. It is about their own issues. Don't feel you must carry the burdens of others. You were not designed to be an emotional pack mule for everyone around you.. Be loving and pray, help within your own capabilities and give the rest to God. He's bigger, stronger and has way more wisdom than you (and me, for that matter...) please learn to let Him do the heavy lifting.
There will be a lot of other girls/women out there who will tell you that you "deserve" to be treated as an equal to your male counterparts. That men and women are actually equal. This is simply NOT SO.
Anyone with a basic grasp of biology and anatomy will realize the inequalities of the sexes and not bemoan them but celebrate them!  This is why we need each other. We were created to be in partnership and relationship with one another based on love and respect and our mutual interests and beliefs. A healthy relationship is not founded on competition. I've never seen one of those that ended well. That is not to say that you don't deserve to have the same RIGHTS. Totally different issue. Don't allow anyone to confuse you about this. It will lead you on a quest for something which is ultimately unattainable and will lead you in circles. You are a girl. You have power in your own right. Don't waste your time trying to prove yourself or your value to anyone. If they don't want or are unable to see and appreciate your fabulousness...just politely move along.
Here's the big one. We've already established that you are loved, smart, beautiful, worthy and are filled with limitless potential. Period. Since we know that, I want you to listen carefully to me here...You do NOT need a boy/man to pay attention to you in order to validate any of the things I mentioned above. There are good guys out there. There are some not-so-good ones out there as well. Both types will look to you for guidance on how to treat you. I'm going to repeat this because it is SO IMPORTANT. If you respect yourself, your faith and commitment to God, your body, your values and your beliefs, you will be respected in return. You will filter out the undesirables by letting them know you are not an easy target. Respect yourself ALL THE TIME. Especially when it comes to taking photos, or posting things about yourself on social media that do not line up completely with who you really are. Be vigilant and behave. One mistake in this area can create a huge ripple in the sea of your life that is vast and far reaching. Once spoken, something cannot be unspoken. What is seen cannot be unseen. Remember that wherever you are, whatever you are doing. One moment of indiscretion can lead to some serious regrets. You don't want to deal with that. Make it easy on yourself. Carry yourself with respect, dignity, integrity and represent your family and Jesus well.
One other thing...Your father and I will always be your soft place to fall. We will love you in spite of any mistakes you might make. As a family, united in love for each other and bonded together by the blessing and love of almighty God, there is nothing we cannot overcome. Nothing. Come to us confident in the knowledge that nothing can separate you from that love and mercy. Also be confident that we will use WHATEVER means necessary to protect and guide you in the way that you should go. This may include invading your privacy, telling you the truth, (even if it hurts), popping up unexpectedly wherever you tell us you may be, taking away your phone, car, privileges and other things that you value in order to keep you on the right path. We are willing to risk your anger to keep you safe. We are friendly with you. We are not your FRIENDS. We are your parents and it is our profound duty and obligation to protect you from anything or anyone that may do you harm. Even yourself. We are completely unyielding in this area. Save us all a lot of heartache and drama by abiding by the rules and respecting yourself, the authority of your parents, your brothers, your friends and others placed in your life. Remember that if we didn't love you so much, we wouldn't bother to care so much about these things.
As your Grandaddy (my Daddy) used to say: Stay close to Jesus and don't waste energy trying to make sense out of nonsense. I often wonder how my earlier years would have turned out if I had heeded his advice a little sooner. The truth is, I made a lot of mistakes and mischief. Somehow, God was able to turn it all around and give me beauty for my ashes. That beauty is you, my love. You are beautiful. Your soul is beautiful. You are treasured and I honor you for the amazing little girl that you are and look forward to enjoying the amazing woman you will become. Stand strong on that unbreakable foundation of love. You have the royal blood of the King of the universe flowing through you. You are destined for greatness and are ever my powerful little princess...

Matelaine of Kingsbury.

These are the words to the lullaby I used to sing to you as I rocked you in my arms or knelt by your bed side as you slipped off to sleep:
You came into our lives one day.
Right then, we fell in love...
A little girl to love so much,
Our baby's gentle touch...
Mattie Noelle, Mattie Noelle
You were sent from heaven up above.
Mattie Noelle, we hope you can tell...
Just how much you fill our hears with love.
Our Mattie Noelle.
I love you forever, baby girl.
Your Mama

Please watch this to remember WHO YOU ARE!