Last fall, I asked a few of my writer friends to share their letters to their daughters here on the blog. Their heartfelt and vulnerable words for their little (and grown-up) girls inspired and uplifted me as a mom, as a motherless daughter and as a believer.
Today, I’m sharing my own message to my feisty and brilliant youngest daughter, who just turned 3 years old in November.
You are so full of confidence, and you’ve never met a stranger. You’re always singing, always dancing, always commanding our attention. You like to do things your way–on your schedule and your stage.
You come from a long line of stubborn women. It’s no wonder there’s a wild spirit inside of you.
As a child, I thought that stubborn was the same as strong. I thought that strength was about being in charge–about being the biggest and the loudest, about always having the last word and getting my way.
But I was wrong.
I want you to be strong, not stubborn.
You see, I will never be the loudest or the biggest, and I will certainly not always get my way. (Neither will you.) And that’s okay.
Real strength isn’t about winning; it’s about sacrifice.
It’s about not giving up when things seem impossible. It’s about believing in and fighting for what is right, even it it means you will lose.
The ultimate example and source of strength is, of course, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, whose strength was manifested in His love for mankind over Himself. His strength was and is marked by grace, wisdom, love, truth, patience, kindness and peace.
The Lord is my strength and my shield;
in him my heart trusts, and I am helped;
my heart exults,
and with my song I give thanks to him. – Psalm 28:7 ESV
Being strong means showing up on the hard days, even when you’re helping someone who doesn’t recognize their need for help, who rejects your love and discipline in pursuit of their own independence. (Oh, how God is teaching me the depths of His love for us through parenting and caregiving right now.)
Strength doesn’t fear death or aging or sickness. It embraces the bad with the good, learns from pain and failure and moves forward. Strength sees the silver lining in every situation and pushes through to claim it.
I believe that true strength is rooted in hope. It’s the result of choosing love over fear.
Strength is courage. It’s finding and clinging to our faith when we’re going through hell.
No, I don’t want you to be stubborn, daughter, I want you to be strong.
There’s a difference, and I want you and your sister to know it.
“Dear Daughter” letter guest posts
These “Dear Daughter” letters were written by ten different mothers at various stages of the parenting journey, whose children range in age from infant to young adult.
I hope that these writers’ dedication to and experience with their own daughters will challenge and encourage you, as they did me, in motherhood and beyond:
Loving You Is Not Hard by Courtney Westlake (And be sure to enter to win a copy of her book, A Different Beautiful!)