I have two sons.
And in March I will have a daughter.
I’m not sure I’m ready.
But in these months of growing my belly, God has also been growing my heart.
Part of that process has been Hilary. A 20-year-old student I had the privilege of mentoring. And really, being mentored by in the ways of loving a daughter.
I asked her to share today – the secrets her generation wishes it could whisper into the ears of ours – about daughters.
Sometimes I wake up in the morning crabby and silent. I make the motions of getting ready – clothes and teeth brushing and book gathering – and then go stand in front of the mirror for the daily inspection: putting on my makeup.
I linger over eyeshadows and blushes, whisk the bronzer over my face and scrunch my eyes tight as the bristles brush by. I paint my eyelids with what I hope isn’t too much blue, and I poke at my lower lids with soft black liner. I survey the results like a prospector after gold – pretty enough for today? Studious enough? Achieving enough?
I am twenty. Sometimes my face is a stranger to me.
The curves of my nose and mouth retraced over and over in the reflection of the harsh winter sun glancing off the snow. I am twenty and when I put on my makeup I am ten again, playing grown up dress up for the parade of people in my day.
I feel like I am in a constant state of becoming – a chameleon who changes with her surroundings. In this office I am competent administrator, this office simply student, the classroom the talkative one, this classroom the quiet one, and so on as my feet propel me through the hours. And when I catch sight of myself in mirrors or glass reflections across these months of being young and unsure, I keep wondering what I’m becoming, if I’m becoming anything worthwhile.
I wonder as I read blogs from wise women, messy hearted women, women who are wives and mamas and entrepreneurs and teachers and lawyers, if you felt this way too. If you’ve ever looked in the mirror and wondered about who that face is looking back at you. If you feel sometimes in between the scattered Legos and papers and popcorn bits uncertain about who He wants you to be.
If you feel like you’re playing dress up to please somebody else, clomping through life in your mother’s high heels and sliding all over the hardwood floors. Do you? I want to ask you. Did you look at your face in the mirror and wonder if what He’s made is beautiful, or if in the end it’s just like everything else?
We need you to whisper, yes, just like we are two again and you are whispering in the middle of the warm dark night, wrapping us tight in hugs of words. Yes, I want to hear over and over until I can say it back to my scolding mirror – oh yes, daughter. Yes He picked you. Yes, He wants it to be just you, just you and Him in the best of long stories told over tea and fireplaces, over lemonade and porch swings. Yes, He wants to be in your story, He wants to be your story.
Tell us that we don’t need to become anything but His. All day my makeup tells me to be prettier; my journal tells me to be more reflective; my schedule tells me to be smarter. And the everyday demands clatter loudly that it’s just not good enough yet, that I need to become something more impressive, more important, more admirable.
Sometimes we need help making quiet.
Sometimes we need help hearing “Yes.”
Sometimes we need help scrubbing off the expectations and getting dressed in bright colors and running out to play in the big beautiful world God has made.
Sometimes we younger daughters need to hear that all we need to be beautiful and worthy and enough is to be His.
By Hilary: Writer-to-be, student of politics and ethics, teaching assistant, lover of poetry and theology and scribbling possible plays . I study at a small Christian college in Massachusetts, and I spent the past semester studying in Washington, DC (where I fell deeply in love with Ebenezer’s Coffee, Eastern Market, and the Metro). It turns out that God likes to teach us in the unexpected places – and so I am back one semester later, different and the same, hands open wide in gratitude and more questions – and blogging about it all to see what unfolds.