Such a pretty girl. We were sitting on the couch when he said it, tucking a few stray strands of hair behind my ear. It was so tender, so loving. So genuine.
I thought of the many times I had said those same words to my daughter, hoping that if I said it enough, she’d grow up believing it. That if she heard it enough, it would become true for her.
Such a pretty girl, I say, when washing her hair, getting her dressed, brushing her teeth, playing peek-a-boo. Pretty bow for a pretty girl, I say, trying to entice her into letting me clip a cloth-covered barrette into her finally-starting-to-come-in hair. Look at the pretty dress for my pretty girl! I exclaim, when I pull out a sweet jumper from a new bag of hand-me-downs.
I want my daughter to grow up knowing deep in her bones that she is beautiful. I don’t want her ever to doubt it.
I also want her to know why she is beautiful.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
— Psalm 139:13-14
When society and advertising and boys and middle school and television all start to happen to her, I want her to continue hearing that voice in her head. Such a pretty girl.
After all, God made no mistakes in His creation. He created no ugly thing.
It’s a hard truth to remember, isn’t it?
I remind my daughter; my husband reminds me. So many days I don’t like what I see in the mirror, what I feel in my clothes. So many times he hears me speak sarcastically about myself and listens to my negative comments. But he continues to tell me, repeatedly, how beautiful I am.
He keeps repeating the truth, over and over, hoping that, one day, it will sink in.
My son, keep my words
and store up my commands within you.
Keep my commands and you will live;
guard my teachings as the apple of your eye.
Bind them on your fingers;
write them on the tablet of your heart.
— Proverbs 7:1-3
Keep my commands and you will LIVE. This verse is so real to me.
When I forget what is true, I become unable to live. I become enslaved – to work, to self-pity, to achieving a certain goal or status, to past habits, to the way my home or body or family look – and then I am unable to thrive. Unable to grow, to flourish.
I want my daughter to know that she is beautiful. That she will always be beautiful to me, that she will always be beautiful to God. And I want her to know why she is beautiful. Because she is fearfully and wonderfully made, in God’s image. Because her heart is being shaped by the truth. I am doing my best to fill her heart with things that are beautiful, things that are true, so that she won’t suffocate under the pressures and lies of the world, but can instead grow into the beautiful person that she already is.
And so I will keep repeating the truth to her, over and over, hoping that, one day, it will sink in.
Such a pretty girl