This is a guest post by Daniel Klewel. This letter is one he wrote to his nieces. Daniel thought it could encourage other young women, and I agree with him! He has some great things to say about hope and identity. Enjoy!
You were on my mind this morning, so I decided to write to you.
I wanted to write to you both to about hope. It is a word – an idea – that is in such short supply these days among young women your age.
You are growing up in a culture that puts a great deal of pressure on you as women. You are pressured to meet often unattainable standards of beauty, wealth and success. You are taught to be strong, but not to lose your femininity, to be intelligent but to do whatever is necessary to remain physically attractive.
With the relentless burden of so many cultural expectations and standards that are impossible to live up to, I can only imagine how that must leave you both feeling on a daily basis. If it is like so many your age that I have seen, I have to believe it leaves a lot of nagging feelings of confusion, failure, and hopelessness.
It has to be hard to be bombarded with messages that you can never measure up no matter how hard you work or how much you achieve. It was difficult when I was growing up, and it seems like it has gotten so much worse now.
But I wanted to tell you that all of this is not true. There is hope, and there is a better way.
As teenagers, you are still forming your identities. You are still trying to figure out who you are, who you want to become, where you want to go with your lives. It may take you many years to learn this, and even then, you will spend your whole life learning, growing and changing.
You do not have to have everything planned out or figured out right now. But I can tell you this, whatever you decide to do, you have an important part to play in this world. Your life, your story matters. You can, and will, make a difference in this life.
Second, you are always beautiful, no matter what the world tells you. I know this, because real beauty is not the shape of your body, what you clothe it with, how you do your hair, or what makeup you put on. Beauty is so much more than an image.
It comes from the heart, soul, and mind, and these are treasures beyond compare. Anyone worth listening to will always treasure the loveliness of these in you above all else. Physical images will fade over time, but these are the core of who you are, and when they are beautiful, it is a beauty that will never fade.
There is hope, even when it is hard to see. It is found in Jesus Christ, the One who loves your regardless of how you look or how successful you are.
He loves you this unconditionally because it was Him that created you, knit you together to be beautiful in His eyes. He sees you not for your past failures or your perceived shortcomings, but for who you are, and who you can be in Him.
He loves you because you are a treasure to Him worth dying for – which is exactly what He did.
Where the world says you do not measure up, He says you are, and always will be, beautiful.
There is hope, one far beyond anything the world says is possible.
So, when the pressures of life are too much to bear, please remember that I love you dearly, and more than that, there is a God who loves you more than any person ever could.
And He will never leave you, no matter what.
There is always hope!