God Looks At The Heart
As a mother of two little girls, I try so hard to build them up. To explain that what makes them beautiful comes from what’s inside, not outside. That princess gowns and jewelry and fingernail polish are plenty of fun, but not what gives them their worth. To teach them the value of modesty. Because the day will come when the outside world will start telling them differently. When they will be seen as women instead of little girls.
And that day will come far sooner than it should.
So, when I came across the following post on Brain Child Magazine’s website, I just knew I had to share it. The writer, Karen Dempsey, captured every fear and every wish I have. Not just for my daughters, but for all young women growing up in what’s become a highly sexualized society.
Keep reading to hear the beautiful letter written by Karen Dempsey.
Dear Teenaged Girl in the Crop Top,
I saw you walking down the street this morning with your friend — carefree kids out of school for the summer, with the sun blazing and the whole day ahead of you.
Maybe you were headed to the park or the swimming pool or the bookstore. When you passed me you were laughing — peals of laughter. A giggle so genuine that just the sound of it made me smile.
Then I saw something you didn’t: the man leering at you from the corner. He was more than twice your age and the expression on his face as he stared at your bare midriff sucked the air out of my lungs.
Everyone seems to have an opinion about young girls and their clothing choices. People — maybe even people who know you and love you — say things like, “See what happens when girls dress like that?” “Respect yourself.” “Cover up.”
Here is what I’d like to say: It’s not the crop top.
On another beautiful morning, many years ago, I went for a run in the city I’d just moved to, feeling happy and alive and suddenly so grown up. Then a guy in a truck made a U-turn and slowed down beside me, screaming something awful. I instantly felt sick, even though I knew he was the problem, not me. I was wearing sweatpants and a sweatshirt. Not that it should matter.
There will always be people who see you as an object, a thing, instead of the complicated, trusting, brilliant human being I have no doubt you are. They’re going to see you that way no matter what you do or wear. You’re not responsible for someone else’s stunted view of the world. I hope people who say they mean well as they tell young girls to cover up don’t make you believe you are.
Today, at least, you missed the look from the creepy guy. I hope you and your friend went on to have the kind of day you deserve — filled with more of that amazing laugh. I hope you wake up tomorrow and throw on whatever clothes make you feel happy and strong in your body, and that you’ll help your friends feel that way too, whatever their shape or size.
These are the same wishes I have for my own daughter, who will be your age in a few short years. And here’s one last thing I hope you will both eventually understand: There are plenty of people in the world who want to truly see you, to know you, for the beautiful person you are. It could take some effort to find them. But you are worth it.
I just loved Karen’s message. Of course, as Christians, we know it's important to teach young women the value of modesty. But unfortunately, regardless of what they wear, there will always be someone trying to objectify them. And that’s because the worldly-view is focused on the physical.
But the godly-view is quite different.
The fruit of the Spirit is comprised of intangible qualities -- love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). Let’s raise our children, both boys and girls, to value the things that really matter. Because when we stand in front of our God, He will not be looking at our outward appearance. He will be looking into our hearts. Because that is where true beauty is found.
“But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.’” 1 Samuel 16:7
This dad just wrote his girl a letter to remind her of something the world may force her to forget.