Hey Sweet Girl,
I know you probably don’t remember me: just another mama hiding in the shade at the pool in a tankini with a bunch of kids running back and forth to my chair playing the Cheezit lotto in between their obnoxious cannonballs. You didn’t really pay much attention to me until I Mama Bear’d you towards the end of the afternoon for getting snarky with my girls for splashing your phone because you had it in the pool with you.
You still have no idea how close I came to ‘accidentally’ tripping near you and your friend so that I could give your phone a good and proper burial.
But I think about you all the time.
I know adults can be lame chewing the same stupid things over and over like a new puppy on a pair of mama’s favorite leather boots.
Believe me: they used to gag me with a spoon, too.
But it’s not about your phone…exactly.
It was the actual and real 45 minutes of your life you’ll never get back that you and your friend took to scroll back through your own individual Instagram feeds and count up and compare the number of likes you got for each post.
You just couldn’t figure it out. But, girl. You tried. Yes you did. Because I was in the shade listening to you with my hand pressed over my mouth so hard my face was turning blue and I began to pray for sweet unconsciousness.
But then my heart began feather-cracking and that made my eyes sting and water before the slow, steady burn worked all the way down to stoke that ever-present fire in my belly.
Some days I think that fire just may take me down along with everyone in my desperate reach. I have all these crazy-big, wildhot feelings so forgive me for being forward?
Lean in close, sweet girl, and hear me sure. See me look straight into your soul and take it all the way and tuck it down deep inside:
You are not your likes.
You’re just not.
You are not your best-cutest/horrible-no-good, most perfect/worst ever outfit, test grade, song video, school lunch, hair day and you are for-stinkin-sure far worth more than a stack (or lack of) red check marks.
I get it, though.
It sounds easy for me to say. But I know just how bumpy it gets inside a heart bent for being known by others and prone to long walks in the dark. A little advice from an old lady? With the very most important, sacred, special things (think forgiveness or mercy or love):
It’s never a one-and-done knowing. It’s a constant choice to get real low, underneath all the noise, and make yourself small enough to hear.
It’s just because the world is chaotic as it is big, fickle as it is wide, and fast as it is loud.
But God is not a screamer.
He whispers quietly in a letter of love written to the world specifically about you (Ephesians 2:10). He tells us that you are His delight, the apple of His eye, and that He created you uniquely to do amazing things simply so that others might catch a glimpse of His great love.
You know this, sweet one.
It’s a light-heart joy and peace in being held by the One who holds the stars compared to that feeling you get when your soul is left starving on the scraps the world is trying to feed you. And you know this now…and you’ll forget in the next minute. Because that heart, right? But that place where it’s quiet enough to stop the waves crashing and you hear your own heart beat again? That’s where you’ll remember these things.
You are loved by Love Himself.
All the Likes in the world won’t hold a candle to the light of this truth and they will never fill up a fraction of the space that was created only and just for Him.
One other thing?
People are always watching…whether you don’t notice them from the shade or splashing right next to you. My girls were watching you, too. They are fascinated by what the next step looks like in being big. They naturally desire so badly to be like you. We had a long conversation on the way home about true worth and holding social media at arm’s length, what it looks like to be a role model for others looking on, and playing with our friends when they are right in front of us.
It was a good reminder to me, too.
Thank you for that.
PS One day, in the blink of an eye really, you’re going to be surprised to find out that the only thing more comfortable than a tankini is your own wonderful skin (but this is usually in your 40s when gravity has taken over all the things).
PPS Since I’ve given you enough to think about today. We will talk about hankie-sized bikinis later, okay?