Wednesday, January 7, 2015

An open letter to my girls

It's a scary time to be a girl. Even scarier, I think, to be raising girls. 
It's a cruel society of mean girls, social media bullying, fat shaming, religion bashing, immoral, corrupt, reality-tv-wannabes, the meaner and more drama the better and the list goes on and on. 
This has been on my heart for a while. Things I have learned throughout life, some the hard way, I want my daughters to carry with them, things I want them to know and I hope I teach them...things I hope that I enforce so strongly in my parenting that they are embedded in the very cores of their souls and can't be shaken no matter what. I finally decided it was time to pen it out. So here it open letter to my girls.
To my girls, my freckle-nosed oldest, with a heart so kind and pure it makes me ache with love and protectiveness. And my blue eyed silly girl with a laugh so hearty that she spreads joy all around. 
Isabella and Nora-Jane

There is nothing in this world that could ever shake my love for you. I may not always like what you do, but my love is unconditional. I will always build you up publicly. I will never shame you. If there ever comes a time I feel you need constructive criticism or a reprimand, it will be in private. You are my prides and joys. My beautiful women. And of you I will always be proud.

Don't take yourself seriously. Life is nothing but a big learning curve, so take a big swig of that bottle over there labeled Sense Of Humor and be prepared to laugh at yourself. A lot. Besides, nobody likes a Serious Sally ;-)

Pray. Pray in public. Pray in private. Pray yourselves to sleep. Prayer will get you through anything, my loves. And I do mean anything. The more you talk to Him, the more He talks to you.
Scuff up your knees you pray so much. Which leads me to....

 ...listen for the whisper. That "feeling" you get when you're doing something that you're not sure about? That is the holy spirit saying "No, No, No!" listen for it, and for the love of your mama, HEED it. That feeling you get when you're praying about a situation or a person you love? That tingly feeling of adrenalin in your heart? That's the Holy Spirit saying "I am here." Memorize that feeling.

Always stay true to yourself, not the cliche kind...but the soul kind. You will find yourself in many sticky situations throughout this life. ALWAYS choose kindness. No matter what. You will never regret kindness, but you will always regret knowing that you hurt someone you cared about.
People will lie about you. Spread rumors. Assassinate your character. Let them. The only opinion you need to worry about is the one upstairs. The people in your life that truly know you and care about you won't give those words a second thought. This is easier said that done. PRAY.

Never stop trusting friends. Not all people are bad. You're going to get burned a time or twelve...but don't let that stop you from building new relationships. When we allow ourselves to be defined by the past, we close ourselves off to new friendships. God has so many amazing people for you to meet. Don't take that away from Him just because someone didn't value your confidence enough to keep it.

Don't let your past define you...let it refine you. Mistakes are for us to learn from. And if you're anything like your dear old'll have a decent resume of mistakes to choose from. USE them. Learn from them...we can use everything for God's glory. Everything. 

Be silly. 

Love with your whole heart, every time. This is not being naive, this is being wise enough to know bad circumstances aren't permanent if we don't want them to be. Fall in love...get your heart broken....then fall in love again. Our hearts are amazing things. They will take a beating in life...but bind them up, let them heal with that sweet balm of time, then unbind them and use them again. Sweet girls you will be so glad you didn't lock your heart away. 
Nobody likes a Bitter Betty ;-)

Practice Faith. Just because you can't see it, doesn't mean it's not there.

Don't be afraid to ask for respect. We teach people how to treat us, and what we allow is what will continue. It's okay to want to be treated with respect, and it's okay ask for it.

Don't stay in dead relationships because you fear the fall-out. Fall-outs can be bad and scary...but they don't last forever. You may be lonely for a season, you may lose a few friends...but you will never be alone. When you release yourself from a toxic relationship, you're respecting yourself enough to know when to walk away. You will gain so much knowledge from these experiences...and you will learn how to recognize and foster true and genuine relationships as a result. Face that fire with your head held high.

Never be ashamed of your spirituality. He made you the way you are for a reason. 

Don't ever, EVER "vent" or talk badly about your husbands to anyone. Ever. Call me if you need to.

Look for a man who brings you a dozen donuts instead of a dozen flowers. Fills your car up with gas instead of buys you jewelry. Tells you you're lovely, not hot. Lets you walk through the doorways first because you're the lady. Tells you you need to eat MORE because you're looking thin, basically, look for a man like your daddy.

Dress for your body type. Love your skin. God gave you this body to use for His glory, love it, don't hate it. Every shape can be stunningly beautiful with the correctly fitting clothing and proper accessories. Dress modestly....I know when you're teenagers this will go out the window...but try and learn from your fashion faux pas and take pictures so we can look back on them and laugh.

Get that tattoo if you must, but start with something small that no one can see and keep it for a few years...chances are you won't be the same woman ten years from now. Trust your mother on this one.
 Pierce anything but your mouth-parts. Yuck. Disgusting. Don't do that.

Always keep a tube of red lipstick, and never get drunk in public. That's just sloppy and not classy.

When you hear a gaggle of girls crucifying another girl with their words, pray for the girl they're talking about. 

Always form YOUR OWN opinions of people. Never judge a person by someone else's gossip. 

Don't make fun of people with others, even if they can't hear you. You will regret it. Trust your mother on this one.
Never stop doing nice things for people. Continue to bless others, but don't run yourself ragged. Sometimes you will feel like your gestures go unappreciated, do them anyway, it's not for you, it's for Him.

Don't hold back because of someone else's jealousy of you. Don't allow someone who is bitter about their own life and choices, to put a damper on your joy. Enjoy your blessings, don't brag, but enjoy them, praise God for them and be as happy as you want to be! Their attitudes are their problems, not yours.

Remember that there are always consequences for your actions, and they're not always immediate.

Never entertain jealousy. What a waste! We all have different journeys...count your blessings any time you feel yourself getting pulled into Satan's snare of jealousy. Always rejoice for other people's blessings. Be the friend that everyone wants to share their good news with first. Your life and your friend's lives will be an ebb and flow...your up-time might be her down-time, her down-time might be your up-time... remember that and show grace to yourself.

Never respond to hate. When someone accosts you, be it in person or otherwise, silently walk away. This is not being a doormat. This is setting yourself to a higher standard.

Not everyone is going to like you, no biggie....that just frees up space for more awesome people.

Be a fruit checker! Observe those around you, observe their fruits, what types of emotions do they produce in the ones around them? How do they interact with others? Are they gossipers or are they prayer warriors? Know them by their fruits. Gravitate towards women who build each other UP.

Never allow yourself to be in a compromising situation with a gentleman you don't know. We will be talking about carry permits as soon as you're old enough.

DREAM! No dream is too big and there is NOTHING you cannot do. I have faith in you. Don't be afraid to reach up there and snatch that dream right out of the clouds and make it real. Don't EVER be afraid to fail, failures happen, they're nothing to be ashamed of and they're all a part of the beautiful process. You can do it, my loves.

Always apologize when you have been wrong. This may be awkward, and it may be ill-received. They may accept it, then turn around and UN-accept it. But that's not your's your job to say I'm sorry. And mean it.

Forgive. This one is tricky. Prayer helps. But believe me when I tell you, forgiveness is more for you than it is for the other person. When you forgive, you free yourself from the shackles of bitterness and resentment. On the same token, just because you forgive someone, doesn't mean you have to waltz right back into their dance. You can love from afar, and truth be known, there will be times in your life that for your own well-being you will have to love from afar. Love them, forgive them, bless them and don't stop praying for them.

Grace, grace, grace. Use it. Give it. Own it and thank the Lord for it. 

Never put on airs, always be honest...the minute you get cocky is the minute you'll trip over the curb of life. Trust your mother on that one.

Always be mindful of what you put into your mind. Just because it's a New York Times best seller or a box office blowout doesn't mean you need to see it or read it. Our spirits are fragile and it's our responsibility to guard them. Just remember, garbage in, Garbage out. 

Never change who you are to try and get people to "like you" If they don't automatically want to be your friend upon meeting you, that's truly their loss. No person is worth compromising yourself for.

And finally. 
Wait for God's timing. Don't rush things or get swept up into something that feels out of your control. If you're feeling overwhelmed and scared then it's not from Him. Any door He opens for you will be accompanied with peace. He knows what He is doing, and when we try to take control we risk a tremendous catastrophe. When we wait and trust in Him, He blesses us beyond our wildest dreams. I should know, He gave me you :)

I love you more'n my luggage.


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