“Raise your hand if you love me!” My five-year-old shouted from the back seat of our minivan. I popped two hands off the wheel and shot them toward the roof.
“I do! I love you!” Then I glanced in the rearview mirror and saw my daughter had raised both her own arms, too.
“I love myself, Momma!” She giggled.
“That’s great!” I smiled wide. “You should love yourself. God made you, and he thinks you’re pretty special.”
When will the world rip that away from her, I wonder? This innocent self-love and unquestionable confidence. When will she, like every female since Eve, learn to doubt her inherent beauty and worth?
The first time a kid makes fun of her shoes at school.
Or she notices the other girls have thicker hair or thinner ankles.
When she struggles in math or soccer or singing.
When a particular boy overlooks her—or pays her the wrong kind of attention.
Will she wish to look or act or be different from the person God created?
And yet . . .
Not if I have anything to say about it.
And I like to think I do. WE do. You and I—we’re parents. We’re the first impression our children have of the world. We may not be able to control social drama or bad hair days, but we sure can devote day after day to infusing God’s truth in our kids’ hearts. And I’m not talking about a shallow, egocentric self-esteem. I want my kids to possess God-esteem—to know they are lovely and loveable simply because God says so. It’s an irrefutable truth. Nobody else’s opinions can change it.
Not even their own.
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Psalm 139:13–14).
Let’s not just tell our kids they’re beautiful. Tell them God made you beautiful.
Don’t tell them they’re smart. Say God made you smart.
Our children are not special because we think so. They are special because God created them. He crafted every single one of us with sovereign intention and flawless affection. We are each an original, divine masterpiece.
So I have to ask.
When did you begin to doubt?
God’s unconditional love isn’t just for our kids, you know. You are special, too.
Loved, beautiful, valued, victorious and chosen. You are all those things in Christ and more.
Maybe it’s time we moms reclaim the faith of a five-year-old. Amen?
“The LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love” (Psalm 147:11).