As most of you are aware, I have a thirteen year old daughter named Grace. She brings so much joy, laughter, and delight into my world. Just yesterday, I came back from the bathroom to find that she had used my phone to take silly selfies and save the silliest as my lock screen. (I won't share that one here, to save her the embarrassment.)
Like every almost-teen-aged girl, she thinks a lot about boys and romance. As her mom, I listen to lots of conversations about the current crush and I hope and pray I can coach her to make wise decisions when the time comes that she's allowed to date. Which won't be for another three years. At least.
No one is ever going to love her as much as I do, and that's a fact! I think she is the most beautiful, creative, silly, sweet girl in the world! But even if she wasn't beautiful, smart, or even sweet, her value wouldn't be any less. Because her value is derived from being made in the image of God. "So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them" (Gen. 1:27).
When she's finally allowed to date, I hope she chooses a guy who sees her value and treats her as the treasure she is. My goal is to educate her so that she understands what a healthy relationship looks like: "Each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband" (Ephesians 5:33). I want her to encourage him to pursue his dreams and to be the very best version of himself--and I want him to do the same for her. I want them to be a blessing to one another, to be best friends, to support, encourage, and enjoy one another.
My job, while she's young, is to teach her what LOVE is. True love is sacrificial and selfless. It puts the other person's interests before your own. It never wants to inflict harm, but to bring joy. "Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance"
(I Cor. 13:4-7).
Whatever we know about Love, we've learned from the one example of what love is: "Love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love" (I John 4:7-8).
My wish is for my daughter to find a man who will cherish her for the treasure she is. Just as fervently, I wish that each of us could know God's love and share it with the people in our lives: whether we're married, single, or dreaming of dating.