We drove to the ballet studio, chatting away. In a moment my wedding dress filled our girl talk. Your little girl wedding dreams glowing on your face. As you stepped out of the car, and I watched you walk away, I had one thought.
Please, my beautiful girl. Please don’t wither.
You don’t understand what I mean. I know. But I’m serious about this, this speaking of important things. I want to clutch you by the shoulders, look deep into those brown eyes that unmask your stories, and tell you straight—don’t wither.
Daily, I’m a witness to the withering. Young teenage girls shrinking into themselves. Drawing their souls deeper, wearing only the shell of who they once were.
When you were three, one of my great joys was to watch you dance. You danced everywhere you went. You paid no attention to those watching. A praise song would fill the church while you danced the aisles. The sweet matriarchs would nod their angel-white hair and smile as you twirled, your dress spinning, light shining.
You’re eleven now. Mighty, strong. Intelligent, kind, beautiful. You stand on the edge of a precipice—teetering, inching closer to the years that will define and shape your life in unimaginable ways.
The other night you asked me to lay in bed with you—to snuggle. You tucked your head in my shoulder with a book in your hand. You read as I pulled fingers through the silk of your hair. I soaked in your presence, your beautiful heart, your brilliant light.
My heart was so full.
You wondered what I was doing as you turned pages. I was praying, baby girl. Praying you wouldn’t wither.
Praying you wouldn’t shrink away from the amazing human at your essence. Because it sometimes happens. As women we can forget who we really are. There is a point in our lives when we being to worry.
We wither because we worry. Worry the world may laugh.
We become afraid and allow that fear to guide our decisions, our actions, our dreams. Because if we’re too smart, the boys won’t flirt with us. If we’re too bold, other girls may exclude us. If we like sports too much. If we’re too pretty. If we’re not pretty enough. If we wear the wrong clothes. If. If. If…
My precious girl? We can if our way into an empty shell. We can if our way into a weakened spirit who no longer dances because the world is watching. And that woman? That girl? She holds no joy in her heart because she no longer lives as the one she was created to be.
And I watch this every day. Girls trying so hard. I watch their giggles, their flirtations, their masks. I keep watching when they turn away and the crowd is gone.
I watch them when the mask is removed.
Their eyes don’t sparkle. Their lips turn down. And their shoulders sag from the burden they carry. The burden of withering. The burden of loosing themselves.
It breaks my heart.
Because our God did not create us for withering.
My darling? You don’t have to dance down aisles.
But you do need to stand tall.
The cure for withering? Standing tall in your Creator. Know there is only One to please. He is the God who fashioned you, created you, perfected you.
If you allow it? The world will only ever stomp the words “You’re not enough” into your soul.
But Jesus? He’s there whispering You’re always enough because I made you so.
You’re always enough because He made you so.
Listen to His voice when the world flings fear and hurls hate at all you’re meant to be. Because it will. And you’ll want to wither and shrink and hide away from the pain the world digs deep into your heart.
You’ll be tempted to become the world’s version of yourself. It’s easier. It shields you from pain. But you will never be happy. Because the world’s version of you? It’s all gray and lackluster.
No brilliance will ever shine from that you.
But when you stand tall in Him?
You become a prism, angled to reflect His glorious light—more dazzling than the world can begin to handle.
Tomorrow I will paint your nails. You will dress fancy and slip on sparkly shoes. We will curl your hair, and I may even let you wear lip gloss. Your Daddy, your first Prince Charming, will open the car door and escort you to your last Father-Daughter dance.
Your last before your wedding.
I will stand in the driveway, a tear in the corner of my eye, wishing the days were slower and the years even longer. Praying my beautiful girl, who twirls through life, will refuse to wither.
Linking up with my friend, Suzie Eller and learning to Live Free. I’d love for you to visit her community here. You will be blessed and encouraged.