We have a Blue Jay nest in the big tree that’s in the middle of our back yard. This pair of birds comes back every year to gather sticks, grass clippings and clumps of dog hair that so kindly accumulate in the corners of our lawn. My husband and I were outside the other night grilling turkey burgers and watching our children splash at the water table when we saw a baby bird hopping around on the ground.
Our sweet German Shepherd is the one who found it, gently nudging it with her nose and sniffing it curiously. The bird hopped behind the woodpile for refuge and we heard the squawking cries of its mama from the tree above.
I thought for sure the fate of this little bird was doomed, but day after day the mama came down from it’s safe roost above to feed and comfort her child. Outside the confines of the nest, the bird appears helpless and weak, exposed to all the evils of the world around it.
Growing up as little girls we are taught to be aware of our surroundings. We are sent off to college with mace on our key chains and instructed to fan our keys out between our fingers as we walk furtively back to our parked cars. We’re told to be inconspicuous and to blend in so that the wrong person won’t take notice.
All of this because of a culture that preys on women. Because of a culture that says women are objects and things to be acquired, traded, used and then forgotten. Because of a culture that shifts blame and points fingers at victims.
What are we to do? The culture won’t change overnight, which means we will continue speaking warnings and wisdom to our daughters. But the perspective in which we tell them these things must change.
To my children:
When you mess up, because you will, raise your hand and say, “I did it.” Come forward and separate yourselves from the men and women who shift blame and point fingers. Accept the discipline given to you and then move on. Your heavy heart and humble spirit will be welcomed with open arms. Repentance is always met with redemption. This does not mean consequences will not come your way, but it does mean you will have hands to hold as you face them.
People matter. People’s lives are worth something, in fact, they are worth everything. It’s why Jesus came down to earth and died on the cross for our sins. He suffered everything for what mattered most – you.
Unfortunately, we live in a world where evil reigns and where people disregard others in favor of fame, fortune, pride, control, and selfish ambitions. We live in a world where day-in and day-out we hear that people don’t matter. It’s a culture that is breeding hate and it’s exhibiting itself in cases of rape and racism and abortion and murders and so much more. Hate begets hate begets hate. And it stops here with you.
This is my prayer for you – that you would have the discernment to know what is best in a world of good. That you would look for the good in everyone, but that you wouldn’t be blind to the evil that lurks inside. That you would be Jesus to a world that needs Jesus, and that others would come away from you knowing love.
To my daughter:
You are beautiful. You are made in God’s image. You are a treasure.
You are smart. You are kind. You are important.
Your worth is not found in your beauty or your brains, but the world will try to tell you that it is.
The world will try to tell you that you have to look like the magazines in order to be wanted, and they will sell you products and programs to make you what they want, and then they will try to exploit the beauty that you display.
The world will try to tell you that unless you have a certain GPA, or go to a certain college, or pursue a specific career, you aren’t enough.
You will meet people who will look you up and down and only see skin deep, and you will meet people who won’t even take the time to see you at all.
You will also meet people who will see you like God sees you – as a sister and friend, as a gift.
Walk with care. Not because you are weak, but because you are important. Not because you are fragile, but because you are special.
To my son:
Your sister is beautiful. She is made in God’s image, just like you! You are both treasures.
You are smart. You are kind. You are important.
You have a special calling as a man of God. You’re a protector and a fighter. You are strong and you are brave.
The world will try to tell you that you can do whatever you want and take whatever you want at no expense. There is always a cost for your actions, my son.
You have the incredible responsibility to use your influence for good. Take heart, though, God has promised to guide you and lead you in the right path, if only you will ask.
As you go through life, you will meet many men and women who do not understand they are made in God’s image. These men will treat people with disgust and these women will walk around with shame. It’s your job to love them like Jesus loves them, in spite of the baggage they carry.
Especially the women. They need to know that they are loved, but not with the love the world preaches. They need to know that they are loved in spite of how their bodies look, in spite of how they dress, in spite of their past. They are hurting because the world has told them they don’t measure up. They need a champion to tell them they are enough because God says they are enough.
You are their champion – not because they are weak, but because they are important. Not because they are fragile, but because they are special.
My backyard looks like a war zone right now. Mama and Papa Blue Jay are on high alert, and there are now two babies hopping around the grass. They’re gaining confidence and learning out how to fly. My kids and I don’t dare go outside, though, for fear that vigilant parents will swoop down to protect their babies.
Not because they’re weak, but because they’re important.