Men, You Are God’s Gift to Women.

I’m not talking about the guy who arrogantly flaunts and flirts and personally tags himself as God’s gift to women.

(Hi. If that’s you, I’m telling you straight up: you’re probably not, actually. Sorry).

I’m talking about you who care so much about Biblical manhood that you’d invest time and money into learning how you can better serve others by being the best you could be. I’m talking to you who wouldn’t subscribe to the stereotypical basis of what a man looks like and would rather break the standards by following His standard.

I’ve told you before how much we needed more men like you, but have I ever mentioned how much we appreciated you?

When you lead and not dictate,
When you are tested yet stay committed,
When you graciously listen and communicate,
When you have vision and take action,
When you pray and obey,
When you take responsibility and not make excuses,
When you rise up and take initiative,
When you give and don’t require,
When you respect and don’t expect,
When you are passionate and compassionate,
When you affirm and correct,
When you protect and pursue,
When you fight for the wronged,
When you forgive what is wrong,

When you refuse to be passive and jump right in,
When you step back and choose to be patient,
When you go out of your way,
When you show up,
When you don’t leave,

You are God’s gift to women.

When your heart is in the right place,
When your eyes are fixed on His face,
When you seek Him always,

You are God’s gift to women.

Please, never, ever stop making an effort. Never, ever stop stepping into all that He has for you. Never, ever stop fighting for the calling He has placed upon you.

Even when it’s difficult, even when it’s tiring, even when it takes so much of you: keep at it. Never, ever stop using the gifts He has given you. Never, ever stop being the gift He has called you to become.

For when you humbly admit that you aren’t there yet, but you want to be,
When you deliberately take steps, no matter how slowly,

You already are God’s gift to women.

Thank you for all that you are,
And thank you for all that you will be.

Dear Future Daughter: “Am I Pretty?”

I can already picture it.

You at 3, in your favorite white dress all sparkly and poofy, coming up to me with eyes wide open with curiosity. A flick of hair here, a twirl there, and your heart begging to be delighted in.

"Mommy, mommy, am I pretty?"

I'm going to look you straight in the eyes and tell you the truth.

Yes, love, of course you are.

You might, at 5, walk up to me in jean shorts and your now-favorite "I love daddy" tee. You ask me if it's okay that you chose your own clothes, that you're not wearing the pinks I like dressing you in. You ask me if you're still pretty.

Of course you are, baby.

(And I might inwardly laugh at my failure to impart all my girly).

Then, at 13, you might run crying home from school. The boy you liked didn't like you back,
"Am I not pretty enough?"

I would look into your eyes stained with insecurity, see straight into your heart, and know now you're capable to receive the whole truth.

It's not that you're not pretty enough, maybe he can't handle all the pretty you have.

I'm not saying it to say it, I'm saying it because it's true.

This 5-letter word will never encompass all there is to you and it is even unworthy to hold all that you are. You are not "merely pretty", and you will never be.

You are pretty wonderful, pretty amazing, pretty intelligent, pretty artistic, pretty stunning, pretty mind-blowing.

I'll hand you a pint of ice cream, and I'll give you first-hand info:a guy who can't see beyond "pretty" will never be worthy of you.

I feel sorry for the lad who can't see past pretty – he who will never have the opportunity to see beyond the way you look to discover the way your mind thinks and your heart beats. He will never see the depths of your soul and the intricacies of your spirit.

So you will be the lady, at 15, flitting from store to store looking for the perfect prom dress, not so you could catch his eye but so you can celebrate and enjoy the beauty that you have in greater measure.

You will be the lady, at 18, reading books on femininity. And you might come across the ones that tell you that you have to be wearing dresses and skirts because it's the best way you can honor God with your beauty, but you would by then have already known the truth:

Femininity hasn't to do with dressing pretty; it has to do with becoming the woman who God created you to do be – stepping into your destiny.

You will never sit at a bar stool half clothed, desperate for a stranger to think your face is pretty enough.

You will never compete with women, pointed eyes looking up and down and trying to look for something to criticize in one seemingly too pretty.

You will never have to go lengths just to catch a man's eye, longing for affirmation that you're worth a glance.

For you know that there's One who has had eyes for you since the beginning of time; who, not for a single second, didn't love you. You no longer seek to be told pretty, you seek to reflect His beauty.

You risk every day to unveil this beauty to the world, bravely putting your heart on the line, refusing to allow the world and its cynicism to put a damper on your heart so filled with love, on your eyes always filled with wonder. And when it gets too much and when you get broken, you are the perfume bottle spilled at His feet.

Your life is the fragrance – enchanting, worship.

You will be the woman clothed with dignity, humility, joy, and fulfillment.

Pretty and so, so much more.