That Golden Paper: A Lesson from my Daughter

I do it every time I look in the mirror at myself.  Every. Single. Time.

I also do it when I see someone else–a friend, someone at the grocery store, at church.

I pick myself apart.

Look at those pink areas on your cheeks.  If those were gone, you’d be pretty.

Look at your thin eyebrows.  They definitely aren’t thick and pretty like —-.

Uh.  That thin, straggly hair.  If only it looked like —‘s, I’d be so much more beautiful.

Man, when I don’t have makeup on, I don’t even look like I have eyelashes.  Yuck.

Geez. My face looks horrible today.  Every day.

I’m so short.  I wish I were taller.  

My stretchmarks could be a roadmap.  I hate how scarred my abdomen is.  It’s so ugly.


The other evening, after my daughter came home from art camp, she quietly slipped into the kitchen.  Sheepishly, she sidled up to me while I made dinner.

“Mommy? I made something for you today.”

I got really excited.

“Yeah?  Can I see?”

From behind her back came a yellow folded up paper.  None of the corners met evenly.  She had excitedly folded it up at some point during the day, eagerly awaiting the moment when she could hand it to me.  Carefully, I unfolded it.  Sketched across the large paper was the Eiffel Tower.  I looked up from the paper into my daughter’s face.  In complete vulnerability, she waited for my reaction.

“Sweetheart!  It’s beautiful!  Thank you so much!”

And then I proceeded to tell her about the Spring Break my family spent in Paris when I was in high school.  I told her about that rainy day we went to the Eiffel Tower, stood at the top, and saw all of Paris.  The night we went out after dinner and saw the Eiffel Tower all lit up.  How the sight of it took my breath away.  How her drawing took my breath away.

I could’ve picked it apart.  Found all the seeming flaws that were really characteristics.   Characteristics that set her beautiful drawing apart from all the other nearly 30 drawings made that day by equally vulnerable and excited children for their parents.  Each line sketched across her paper differed from the lines sketched on all those other papers.  None of them looked identical.  But all of them were fearfully and wonderfully made.  Each child spilled their entire self into creating the perfect Eiffel Tower sketch.

Each flaw characteristic of mine doesn’t make me uglier than others.  It doesn’t make me less attractive or less loveable.  Each characteristic makes me, me.  Yes, my hair has thinned from having all the babies.  But, I can style it really fast.  My cheeks are pink, but that’s ok.  It makes me look happy.  My stretch marks are battle scars from pregnancies wherein my body fought hard to maintain those lives.  I’m short, yes, but I’m the perfect size for that man to whom I promised the rest of my days. And, even when I have no makeup on, he thinks I’m the most beautiful woman in the world.

I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  Like my young daughter pouring her heart into that beautiful sketch on the golden paper,  my God poured Himself into creating me.  He created me lovingly and vulnerably and painstakingly, making me different from any person who ever has been or ever will be.  He created me–and He created you–specifically for now, for the life you are living, perfectly to accomplish that role.

I can learn so much from my girls.  When I showered my genuine praise onto that eager heart the other night, she looked at me and quietly said,


I should be so grateful.

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