It is 2015 and I am writing to you on International Women’s Day. I want you, my daughter, to know that you can be a leader, a voice, and an example to all people – men and women, young and old.
I want you to know that it’s not what you do, but who you are that matters. It’s not what you achieve, or who you date, or where you work that matters. It’s you. I want you to know that you are enough. Work, achievements, and relationships do not define that for you, you will always be enough.
And if you choose some day to marry, my only hope for your partner is that they know and see you for you, love Jesus, and that they can remind you that you are enough.
I want you to know that being beautiful as defined by culture is not something you should aspire to. Beauty is something you create by being who you are, being confident with yourself, and presenting yourself fearlessly to the world. Culturally defined beauty is boring. Be beautifully awesome instead.
I want you to have amazing women mentors who invest into your life besides me. I want you to be cheered on by them, and I want you to mentor and cheer on other women too.
I want to tell you about some things now that make me sad, but my hope is strong that as you read this some day, the things that I tell you will be so out-dated, you won’t know whether to laugh or to cry.
At present, when someone says that you do something “like a girl,” it is supposed to be an insult. But, my dear daughter, I want you to know that as a young girl, I outran, outwitted, and outplayed many, many boys. So, my girl, I tell you run, play, think, act, and be awesome “like a girl.” After all, it is women who have the strength to bring new life into the world. Any man should be so strong as to do something “like a woman!”
At present, there are different organizations that treat women like second-class citizens or worse. Women are forced into marriage, not allowed to work outside the home, and can only go places if accompanied by a male relative. Even worse, in some places, if a woman is a victim of sexual assault, she can be charged for various crimes mainly because she is a woman. I pray this will be long out-dated by the time you read it. And if it isn’t, my prayer for you is that you continue to pray, pray hard, and pray often, that this will end.
I’d like to tell you this sort of thing isn’t present within the church, but sadly my dear, there are many Christian denominations all over the world that still don’t allow women to teach in church. They mean well, and they have a genuine belief that they are honouring God by doing this, but this has caused much hurt and pain to many. They misread and misrepresent something important: God has gifted us all in different ways, and if we silence half of those gifts, what a sad state of affairs our church becomes. So, my dear, if you feel called and compelled to teach the irreligious message of Jesus, I pray you do so boldly and confidently knowing that there have been others gifted to do so who have been silenced in the past as a result of their gender.
I’d like to tell you what an incredible father you have. Though there are still people who consider gender roles in the home to be concretely fixed, your father is a wonderful man who takes incredible care of you, cooks dinner every night, and doesn’t call it babysitting when he is parenting you. He also works very hard in a career that he is passionate about. He loves you, he loves me, and he loves Jesus. He is a “real man.” Whenever you hear that phrase tossed around in culture, compare it with who you know your father to be, and you’ll know if it is an adequate and fair judgment.
My dear child, I pray that you know that as a woman you will be an unstoppable force. I pray that you love God and love others, and that you can do both of those things knowing that who you are is enough.
I love you exactly who you are,