This is a long post. Probably breaking all rules of the appropriate length for a blog. But today I just had a lot to tell Lizzie so it is what it is 🙂
Tomorrow is “love day” as your brother calls it. And on love day I want to tell you some wonderful things about you.
Someday in the future we’ll probably discuss other things on Valentine’s Day…. about looking forward to marriage. About you hoping a guy will take interest in you. About handling rejection. About knowing Christ as your hope in singleness. About loving the Lord and your husband well in marriage. Those are heavy topics and we will look them squarely in the face and ask God for His eyes to see His hand on these things in your life… and we will take joy in all the happinesses associated with this part of being a lady. Likewise we will ask Him for help in the heartache – to bravely and wisely go forward with hope even when it is confusing or profoundly painful.
However, today I want to talk about the foundational core of who you are on Valentine’s Day and every day. Know that it is one thing for me to just rattle off what I am going to tell you as a positive sounding list. It is one thing for you to be able to parrot these truths back to me. I imagine most Christians would mentally affirm these things. Yet it is an entirely different ballgame for you to truly allow them to penetrate the heartbeat of your soul… that is not easy, not easy at all. But it is worth the fight to let these into your deepest heart. It is very few women that truly live these as real to them. I hope you will be one of these women that come to know these as the foundation of who you are. They will become a song out of which your entire life learns to sing. This is one of my strongest prayers for you.
In explaining these things, let’s start with a fairy tale (you know by now that, if I try to explain anything, I love to run to fairy tales if there is even the slightest ability to somehow connect them with what we’re talking about ha!). But this fairy tale is actually the loveliest of them all. This is actually the original fairy tale; the one fairy tale that is completely true and is written about in God’s book.
The super exciting thing is that YOU are a member of this grandest of all fairy tales, Sweet BeautyBea! As you grow I want to help make this fairy tale alive to you. I won’t re-write here what I wrote about this many years before you were born as I sat in the truck while waiting for Daddy as he visited a work project. (You can find it on this link: http://kindredgrace.com/why-i-believe-in-fairy-tales ) But just to sum it up, YOU, as Jesus’ radiant bride, are that princess. Princess Lizzie. And as His princess, these are true about you:
YOU ARE LOVED
You are loved, Lizzie. We love you because you belong to us and nothing can fracture our love for you. And we know that our love for you is only tiny reflection of the vastness of your Heavenly Father’s love for you. God loves you because you belong to Him and He has set His love upon YOU (Deuteronomy 7). Nothing can separate you from God’s love. Not height nor depth. Not death nor life. Remember Romans 8:38-39 Nothing. Not what someone says about you. Not what someone does. NOTHING. Daddy and Mommy want you to know this on Love Day and on every day of the year. We want you to REALLY KNOW it. We pray our hearts out that Jesus would help us show this to you well and that, in His timing, the Lord would make this come alive to you and etch it so deeply into your heart that nothing will ever shake it.
YOU ARE OF GREAT WORTH
If I were completely honest with myself I would have to say that often my mind and heart are tainted with believing that my worth or worthiness to be loved is because of what I can do or if I achieve. Naughty people in the past have told me as such. I have listened to guys say mean things about me even when I shouldn’t have been looking to them for my worth. Sometimes even people that loved me were saying things that weren’t true. But you know where I think I most get this tendency? It came with the fall – the spiritual fall when sin entered the world through Adam and Eve. It is just lurking deep inside my heart and everyone’s heart as we face the reality of our neediness for a Savior. We feel we need to “do” for God to love us (and from this faulty view can come the sproutings of seeking self worth from how others view us). We have to fight to remember that our worth and our standing as Christ’s child is not about what we do. Jesus accomplished all the “doing” when He died on the cross. You and I are now heirs of all of Christ’s righteousness. Now God sees us through Jesus’ purity and greatness. Think on that. God cannot not see you through Christ, His Son of holiness, majesty, and splendor. But still, you might say, doesn’t this mean somehow I really better do something amazing for God so I don’t let him down? No. Your chief end in life is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. It is not to try to still find something to do to show yourself worthy of God’s gift of His Son. God didn’t love you & choose you before the foundations of the world (Ephesians 1) because He expected you to do something super smart or super amazing. He chose you just because He loves you and He wanted you as His treasured lady through whom to display the riches of His love and the grandness of His glory. In the Bible God tells the Israelites weren’t chosen because of anything they had done. They were not a people incredibly mighty or magnificent (Deuteronomy 7). Yet God chose them because He loved them. And in His choosing of us to display His glory and love, we find our sure and solid worth.
YOU ARE CHERISHED
As ladies we have a deep desire to be cherished. When I was younger I wondered if I was “cherish worthy.” I wanted so much to be cherished for who I was, for someone to say, “Wow you are so precious, Kathryn! I cherish everything about you!” But that seemed like a fairy tale. Would someone actually for real take delight in taking care of me especially when they really knew me in all my faults? I had this desperate soul hope that I might be seen by someone as a little golden tiara full of precious diamonds that a king would handle with utmost care. How amazing it was for me to find that actually the Bible tells me that’s how God views me and that’s how He views you! Isaiah 62:3 tells us we are a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord. But still I struggled. Even though I knew God cherished me in that way since I knew the Bible didn’t lie, I still thought at times that, since no guy saw me like that, maybe I wasn’t genuinely worth being cherished. I had to accept that, what God says about me, is the bottom line because that’s the authority. God is our creator and the creator of all things. What God says rules. He says He cherishes you and me and that’s that. Regardless if you feel cherished by another person, you are a cherished woman because you are cherished by the truest Lover of your soul. And if that doesn’t seem to be filling you with joy and confidence, start preaching that reality into your heart daily and ask God for strength to take hold of His grace and walk in that truth. Plus, learn to be mindful of the ways God is daily demonstrating to you how much He cares for you. His faithfulness is astounding if you just step back and reflect on how many ways He has shown His lovingkindness toward you, His daughter. When Daddy first took me out, he did things such as open the door for me and buy me earrings (and that hasn’t stopped – I hope God brings you a guy as much of a gentleman as Daddy). Once when I was staying at Nana and Poppi’s house he drove over and brought me a donut and coffee in the morning, my favorite kind even! I was shocked. I knew he was doing this because he really enjoyed cherishing me. It pretty much rattled my whole world in the most delightful way. He still does these kind things for me. He brought me coffee in my special pink heart mug the other day when I was having a hard time waking up. I feel so cherished by him. But I have to remember that, regardless if God had sent me a man to show me such affection and treat me like a princess, God would still cherish me just as much. And I remember, if Daddy is only a human and so an imperfect reflection of the Heavenly marriage analogy, how much greater does the God of the universe cherish me. I hope that, someday, a man cherishes you like this. In the meantime, delight in being cherished by Jesus. One way to remind yourself how much the Lord cherishes you, is to start writing down verses you find in Scripture that talk about God’s love for you. I think you will find it astounding how much is in the Bible about how precious you are to Him.
YOU ARE PURSUED
When I was growing up I wondered what it would be like to be pursued by a guy. I could hardly wait! I loved Anne of Green Gables and I wondered if there might really be a beautiful story like that (well, different characters and a different time period and a different place…. but that beautiful idea anyway lol!) for me. And then it happened on a snowy day in Washington, DC when I was leaving church and walking in the falling snow and a guy ran out the door and called out my name and asked to walk me home. There was something magical about that moment. Although that engagement eventually broke when the guy needed to get some things in his life straightened out, I thought about that moment for many years. Not because I missed that specific guy (I was grateful I was not married to him). But because I wondered if I really was worthy of pursuit. I would look in the mirror and wonder if there was anything about me that was worth pursuing. Why had no one found me to be worthy of pursuit? When I looked in the mirror I sometimes saw such a sad lonely heart staring back at me. I knew that wasn’t healthy but it took a lot of discipline to, yes be honest with my emotions and allow God to hold me as I hurt, but also choose even if my emotions didn’t immediately follow, to place my hope in Christ the One who pursued me as His bride (Isaiah 62). You know during all that time of despair and struggle that God had such an amazing plan! He was saying, “Yes you are worthy of pursuit! Don’t you know how much I have delighted in pursuing your heart as my precious bride? And I’m waiting until the perfect timing to send Nicholas/Daddy to you. You will be blown away by what an amazing guy I am going to send you. But, in the meantime, I want you to find peace in me as the One who ultimately has pursued you.” Lizzie, you have been pursued by the King of Kings the greatest lover of your soul, as His treasured bride. Find security in knowing joyful truth!
YOU ARE CHOSEN
Lizzie, before the foundations of the world you were chosen (Ephesians 1). When Christ died on the cross He gave His blood for you. In this great act He showcased His glory and proclaimed His love to YOU, Lizzie. As God shows forth His glory, His love for His people is a theme that radiates through the Bible so profoundly. And you, as His covenant child, we believe are one of His people. We believe that the Lord will draw you to Himself and that you will one day understand and choose to be God’s friend by asking Jesus to be your Savior. Until then we seek to teach you this true Heavenly Fairytale and one way we do that is by seeking to tangibly display His love to you.
You will someday know my story. You will know that I was engaged a few times and, each time for different reasons (that at the time seemed so out of the blue and hurtful, but now I see it was God’s sovereign hand of kind protection), the guy broke it off. And you will know that I questioned who I was, especially as people would exclaim or whisper, “Isn’t that interesting that the similar factor in all of her broken engagements is her.” And you will hear me tell you that my soul crushed in a thousand pieces when people would say that. And the shame I felt. One time I just sat and cried on the floor in the dark for a long time. I couldn’t bear to have the light on as if somehow that would hide my shame even from God. But I remember at a certain moment I knew I had cried enough. I turned on the light and looked in the mirror and I felt as if I should put on a little old tiara I had. And I wouldn’t allow myself to go to bed that night until I could look in the mirror as I wore that tiara and say out loud and finally believe it, “God you love me. You have chosen me even if I feel so unchoosable and have been rejected by earthly guys. I know I am chosen by you and I am your princess.” And you will hear me tell you about the night a few years later that I cried while in NYC at a conference (which was all about being Christ’s princess). I sat there and realized I had forgotten that God did have a fairy tale story for me regardless if any earthly guy would ever see me as his chosen one. Even though my soul felt barren, God had indeed chosen me (Isaian 54) and I was His treasure. And you will hear also how, at the exact same minute 1500 miles away, Daddy was writing a letter which brought about our marriage exactly a year and a day later.
You are chosen, Lizzie, by God and you are the princess in the true tale of the Prince redeeming His bride. No matter what you face in life, know you are His.
YOU ARE ACCEPTED
This ties in with our points above. But I wanted to make double sure you know that you are accepted by the Lord. You may feel as if you don’t know where you will ever belong. Others may not allow you into their circles. You may be scoffed at or mocked or ignored. But the Lord has accepted you. He loves you just as you are even while He is continually sanctifying you to carve His character more deeply into your life. He has designed your personality in His perfect way. He really delights in the way your mind works and the ways you use your gifts. And He invites you to fellowship with Him. Anytime you can sit at Christ’s feet and know He just loves you as His friend. Did you know He actually calls you His friend? (John 15) He calls Himself our husband (Isaiah 54). But he also calls Himself our friend and He is glad you are His friend.
YOU ARE DELIGHTED IN
This also ties in a bit with the thoughts about. But did you know that you are delighted in? I used to look upon God’s love as “well He sent Jesus to die for me so I guess He had to love me” but I didn’t understand how much that love was a love of delight. Scripture says He delights in us with singing (Zephaniah 3:17). Can you imagine? He sings over you, Lizzie! He really delights in you His precious little flower, His precious little treasure of such worth and beauty. Along these lines, know that you are liked. You are really liked. Sometimes love and like can mean different things. Someone might say they love someone but don’t like them. But know that the Lord really likes YOU, His special LizzieBea! You are wonderfully and marvelously made and have brought great joy to the Lord by being you. And know that we (Daddy and Mommy) like YOU. We really like you our LizzieBea. Your singing, your smile, the way you say cheerily, ” thank you Mama!” Your desire to go potty like a big girl, how nicely you play with Nicky, and how, on your own initiative yesterday, you got out toy baby food and a spoon and went to sit next to Eddie and tried to help by “feeding him” imaginary food when he was hungry. We like how you jump right into an activity with such gusto after you have taken quite some time on the sidelines contemplating it. It gives our hearts such joy when you say, “I love you” and give hugs. We delight in your pretty curls and long eyelashes, your great smile, and your desire to dress in your fancy clothes and shoes that have the squeaker in them so that you can squeak as you walk.
YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL
God sees you as beautiful. Remember, you are his beautiful diadem. You are altogether lovely to Him, Lizzie. The Lord speaks of how His children are like a radiant bride decked in beautiful clothing. He very clearly speaks about us in terms of the beauty He delights in bestowing upon us. Isaiah 61 is one place we read about this. Someday we will talk much about how our lasting beauty is what is inside our hearts. That’s really important. I thought a lot about that when I was recovering from being hit by a drunk driver and my face was scared. I think that society has taken a good turn lately and tried to help girls know that a lot of what we see in ads is not reality. It is photoshopped, which is a big fancy word we will talk about later. But that’s for another discussion. There is a healthy balance of knowing our ultimate beauty is internal but also being secure with knowing that, as women, we were made with a desire to be seen as beautiful outwardly as well. And that is OK to desire to be outwardly beautiful. That is good. We want you to twirl around in your pretty dress and look to Daddy to see his delight in how lovely his daughter is becoming. We want you to enjoy learning about makeup and hair and clothes that fit your body shape. We want you to love shoes and Mommy’s “pretties” (my jewelry). We want you to one day find such happiness when a man sees you as his beautiful bride. It is written into the soul of a woman to want to be beautiful, love beauty, and desire to adorn herself with beauty. We’ll talk more on that later because there is a lot to unpack in that and we need to guide you in a healthy understanding of what that all means. But just for now know that we applaud your desire to put on mommy’s shoes and pretend the cocoa butter is makeup to make your lips pretty (when I get it out for you… not when you sneak it… seriously we must put an end to the sneaking). So today I just want to end by telling you that you are beautiful inside. Your kind heart. Your joy. Your creativity. Your willingness to be my helper. Your determination. And you are beautiful outwardly. We love your pretty long eyelashes. We love your happy wiggly toes. We love how you have this amazing brown curly hair (we have no idea from where you inherited curly hair!) We love your smile and your sparkling eyes. We think you are so beautiful. Sometimes I wonder how you will look as an adult. I think maybe you will look like my very pretty friend Rebekah Lovelace or maybe like actress Catherine Zeta-Jones. I tell Daddy how I think you are so pretty and the most beautiful little lady ever. And Daddy thinks so, too.
Lizziebea, You are loved. You are worthy. You are cherished. You are pursued. You are chosen. You are accepted. You are delighted in. You are beautiful. These things will always be true of you and nothing can change that fact.
We are so proud of you Lizzie and wish you the happiest of Valentine’s Days today while you are 2 years old and I hear you right now giggling with glee while you play Thomas the Train with your brother. And the happiest of Valentine’s Days every year in the future.