This year for Mothers Day, I wrote a letter to my daughters, trying to answer the question, “What is one thing I want my daughters to know?” Maybe you need this answer too.
My beloved daughters,
When I first held each of you, fresh from my womb, I marveled at how God had made you. So perfect and so unique. I wondered at what abilities and passions and ways of being God had stored up in you, and I have been marveling ever since, far more often than I would have thought possible, as you bring these things forth, showing me wonders I never dreamed of.
You, my daughters, inspire me to be a better person, to live out the dreams I hold for you, so you can see it happen, not just hear my encouragement. You spurred me to live bravely, to hold my strength, to step into the fullness of who God designed me to be, to dare to chase God-dreams. And that is my hope for you too: that you would know the fullness of your being, that you would live in it boldly and without apology.
To be blunt, I don’t much care what that is, what your life ends up looking like, but I don’t want you to squash yourselves down, not for any reason. God made us the way we are deliberately, on purpose. It wasn’t an accident which formed you the way you are. God put together your makeup and passions and dreams on purpose, and to live in them fully, unabashedly, delights God, and gives God glory.
Yes, the world can teach us that our natural ways of functioning are wrong or unhealthy or useless, but God is greater than that. It feels amazingly good to live in your natural ways of being, trust me, I lived for many years squashed into shapes that were uncomfortable. There is joy and meaning in being fully yourself, even when the rest of life seems lacking in joy and meaning. There is sense of meaning in just being who and how you were made to be. Being your true self gives a peace that is unattainable in any other way.
But that takes faith, trust. Trust that this is good. And that it is a possible and fruitful way of life, that good and godly works can come from it, that it will be the healthiest way for you to live. It takes faith to belief that the Body of Christ needs who and how you naturally are in order to mirror God’s fullness, to have all the body parts and functions in their fullness. Yes, you read that right, the church needs you to be You, all the other roles are taken.
By not living in your fullness, you are not just limiting and hurting/squashing yourself, you are limiting and squashing others, limiting the church and God. When we each use our natural ways of functioning together it makes a beautiful harmony, it makes a beautiful rainbow.
Remember, unity is not sameness, it is togetherness. Your being, your ways of functioning matter, they are important. We, as the church, as a society, need them.
To continually squash them down, to attempt to ignore them, twists your attitude towards those ways of functioning. One grows cynical that they are real or useful or functional in the world; one grows bitter, and it becomes easy to lose faith that those ways will ever work for you and that it would be easier to just leave things alone and continue as you are, to put it off until a better time, maybe retirement, it’s only a few more years, isn’t it? But this world needs you to come alive, to have the passion of being which comes when you are operating out of your true self. The world needs the differentness you can bring when you don’t follow the pattern of ‘normal’ and ‘right’ that have been set for us, but live in the fullness of who God made you.
For years I wondered why some people could have God’s joy just by existing, but not me. I seemed to be depressed just by existing, my very life felt worthless and pointless. But as I have been leaning into the fullness God has given me, and has promised you too, as I have been living in the ways God formed me to naturally function, as I have been stepping into the dreams and desires of my heart (rather than what I “should” be doing), I have been able to take joy in who I am, to take delight in how I function. And I feel God delighting in me doing so.
This is what I want for you, daughters: that you might live in the fullness God has created in you, that has become yours in Christ. You were made for more than just existing. There is an abundance inside you, if you stop long enough to look, if you shut out the voices of the world for a moment, you’ll hear your inner self and how it longs to be active in the world, you’ll hear God’s voice inviting you into that fullness.
This is my dream for each of you. And I am here to help you figure it out, here to support you as you step boldly forward, here to be brave with you when it feels too much and too hard. If seeing me live into this fullness of my own life has in any small way encouraged you to do the same, then all my efforts will be worth it.
You are beautiful and amazing and so very capable. Don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise. Breathe deeply, step forward boldly. You are enough.
with all my heart,