This letter has been a long time coming. Back a couple of months ago, I was playing with Nora at the park down the road from our house. Another mom came up and struck up a conversation with me. Not two minutes in, she was asking me if I wanted to try and loose some baby weight using her “products.” She even went as far as specifying weight in my thighs. I was completely blown away, I had no idea what to say. I know my body isn’t perfect, especially after having a baby. But for pete’s sake, I’m a size 2-4 and my BMI is well on the normal-low end for my body type. I simply scooped up my daughter and walked home, feeling defeated, fat and ugly.
I got home and cradled my Nora in my arms, and wept. I never wanted her to feel the way I did at that moment. I wanted to keep her in our house and protect her from the cruelty of the world, to keep her safe. Talk about a protective mother’s heart. But I knew in that moment that I can never do that. But the thing I can do for her is to encourage her as she grows and changes into the young woman God created her to be.
My Dearest Eleanor,
From the moment I laid my eyes on you, I knew you were nothing short of perfection. 9 months of growing and changing inside of my tummy, and now you were there in my arms. A perfect miracle that God fashioned to be just who you are. Your a masterpiece, Nora.
Your time at home with me before you go to school will be full of play and learning. Playing dress up and make believe, running around outside and climbing trees and teaching you about Jesus and His great love for you. And getting you ready to brave the wide world of grade school, another step to becoming the young lady that God desires for you to be.
In your elementary years, I pray that you will pull lessons learned at home into your life in class. Being kind to others, sharing and loving other classmates like Jesus does. You will meet new friends, boys and girls, some who may even become friends for life. But you may meet some kids that are not kind to you. You will learn the difference between boys and girls and that God created us very differently. You will probably have days that you come home and cry because someone made fun of the way you look or wouldn’t let you play with them at recess. My precious child, I will be there to hold you as your tiny heart hurts. We will cry together, and even when you don’t want to go back to school the next day, I will make you go. You will learn at a young age to face your fears and to love those who hurt you. This will make you strong and brave. And that, my precious girl, is beautiful!
In junior high, your body will start to change. God created your body to change like this – it’s part of His plan. Boys will start to change, too, and you’ll start to be more interested in each other. If your like your Mommy, you might be a late bloomer. Other kids might laugh at or make fun of you as your body changes. And they might make fun of the clothes you wear. We’ll go shopping for new clothes, and you’ll look beautiful in them. But you’ll stand in the mirror and cry because you don’t look the way you want to. You’ll want to try on clothes that are entirely too small or short for you, clothes that reveal too much skin, and you will argue with me that it’s what all the cool kids wear, but I’ll stand my ground. You’ll be mad at me. You’ll say that I just don’t understand and that I’m trying to make you look like a little girl. But the truth is, you ARE still a little girl. Your body is a temple, sweet Nora. God gave you your body, and you have a choice to honor Him with how you dress, and can choose to be a role model for other girls to follow after. And sadly, this will only get harder as you go into high school. But you will leave junior high with your head held high, knowing that you have laid down strong morals and kept your heart, and body, pure. My sweet girl, that is what makes you beautiful!
While your in high school, boys will become even more complicated. You’ll want to start dating and your Dad and I will have to sit down with you and go over our rules for dating. Some of those rules you won’t like, but we are putting them in place because we love you. We will trust you to uphold those rules, having faith that you will do the right thing. When your out on a date with a boy you really like, there will be huge temptations to give in to your physical desires. The world will tell you that it’s just sex and to do what feels good. The world will tell you to live in the moment and that it’s ok as long as your being “safe.” The world will tell you that saving sex for marriage is a losing fight. Do not believe their lives, my sweet child. Your body is a temple. God created sex to be pleasurable, to be enjoyable. But He created it to be enjoyed within the boundaries of marriage. I am proud to say that both your Dad and I waited and saved ourselves for each other. We chose to honor God with our bodies before we got married, and He has blessed our marriage because of that. Not only do you have a choice to honor your future husband with saying no to sex now, but one day you will be able to give him the gift of your whole self on your wedding night. And when you come home, broken hearted and sobbing, because a boy dumped you when you wouldn’t give yourself up, my heart will ache for your hurt, but it will also be my proudest moment, knowing you chose to do the right thing. You will leave high school with a sense of self worth and pride that no one can take from you. My daughter, that is what makes you beautiful!
When you go to college, my faith will be tested. I will have to trust that you have listened to my wisdom and will want to honor God with this next chapter of your life on your own, as an adult. I will not be there to walk you through day to day life, or to remind you when you walk out the door everyday to do the right thing. I will have to turn my worries over to the Lord and know that He will guide you. In college, you might meet THE man; the man that God created JUST for you. The half that makes you whole, the other pea in your pod, your knight in shining armor. He’ll ask you to be his bride, and you’ll shriek out, “Yes!” while jumping up and down. Oh, Nora, you will be the most stunning bride! Your Dad will walk you down the isle, as you glow in your white gown, and the tears will fall down my face with pride, knowing the kind of Godly woman you have become. And on your wedding night, you will finally be able to give away what you have worked so hard to save. That, sweet Eleanor, is beautiful.
You and your husband will want to start a family someday. And if the Lord blesses you with the opportunity to carry your children, your body will change again. You’ll bloat out, gain weight, every part of you will swell, your back will ache and you may even get stretch marks. Your husband will never think that you look more beautiful than you do while your carrying his child. He’ll tell you that, but you won’t believe him. But when they lay that baby on your chest, it will all be worth it. So worth it. When you get home from the hospital, you’ll stand in the mirror, taken aback at what you see. Every part of you jiggles, even parts you didn’t know you had, and your raging hormones will make your emotions sore. Your hips will never go back to normal, and you doubt if you’ll ever feel beautiful again, or even fit into your normal clothes. Things won’t bounce back overnight, contrary to what you see in the magazines, but if you work hard and take care of your body, you might be surprised at just how “normal” you can look and feel again. It’s amazing how God creates our bodies to be able to do such a 360 change in so short amount of time. While your baby grows, you’ll spend your days playing on the floor in sweat pants, making silly faces and sounds and going to the grocery store with your baby dressed better and cuter than you are. And that, my little dear, is beautiful.
That leaves me where I am today, my precious daughter. I stay at home and spend my days with you. You are my joy and my laughter, dear. You will never know the years that you have been prayed for by your Dad and I. When you were born, we promised to raise you in a home that loved Jesus. A place where you could come and know that you are loved and adored. And with that vow, we determined to raise you knowing that in every stage of life that you are a beautiful creation of our Lord and that you have worth and are a treasure! And in as much as we love and cherish you, God loves you unfathomably more! He created you EXACTLY as you are. Every part of your personality, your body and your mind has been carefully crafted since the moment you were conceived. And none of it is a mistake. We pray that you will always know that no matter how your body changes, no matter what you look like or how you style your hair or change your makeup or clothes…no matter what….you are a beautiful person that shines first and foremost from within with the love of God. And THAT, Eleanor Sue, is the essence of what God created beauty to be!
I am so proud to be your mom. I love you from the deepest part of my heart.