Listen, Daughter, and pay careful attention: Forget your people and your father’s house. Let the King be enthralled by your beauty; honor Him, for He is your Lord (Psalm 45:10-11—NIV).

Dear Daughters,

You must know that we mothers sometimes don’t get it right. We mess up. Make mistakes. We are, after all, daughters too. We’re still learning. Still having to let go. Still needing to press in and listen to the Lord.

Thankfully, our King is gracious and kind, slow to anger, abounding in love. He longs for us, each His princesses, to–

See ourselves in the light of His countenance.

Recognize His image each time we look at our reflections in the mirror.

Love ourselves in the manner in which He loves us.

If only this, the world would be a better, more beautiful place. Because so much ugliness in this world, dear Daughters, is due to our lack of love for ourselves. This too often translates as jealousy and malice toward others. Motivates us to move away from rather than press in to. Causes us to isolate instead of welcome community with the warmth of our Savior, the One who calls us each worthy.

It’s only His opinion that really matters, and I for one desperately need this reminder daily. Thank you for your patience, dear Daughters. Thank you for grace and mercy extended to us moms whose messy moments, if the enemy had his way, might cause lasting damage. Leave an indelible mark. Succeed at wounding rather than helping to heal, searing scars on hearts still tender. (Oh, how I don’t want to ever do this, though I fear sometimes I come far too close.)

Take for example this mom’s recent worries regarding the dress you, my dear Daughter, chose for your 6th grade formal. Your dad had invited you on a date—to pick out the dress of your dreams. You and I had just returned from a Mother / Daughter retreat where we shared many fun moments—winning the 3-legged race and coming in second in the egg toss. (We work well as a team, don’t you think, dear Daughter?)

Your dad, desiring time as well, carved out an afternoon to take you to dinner and to go shopping. How excited you were, and I sent you both with blessing—excited, too, to see what you’d choose.

Did you see the consternation on my face—the lines carved by concern—when you showed me the dress, dear Daughter? Rather than sharing in your joy, I feigned delight as I fought the voice of the enemy—Satan attempting to steal the moment’s beauty with his crafty accusations and condemnations–You should have been there to help guide her in her choice… If you’d have helped her pick out her dress, she’d have chosen one more appropriate for a junior high dance… Her dress is going to stir jealousy and create problems among her peers. You failed as a parent.

No matter that you, dear Daughter, were thoroughly thrilled with your gown—a satiny dress with sequins and beads, its layers of tooling pooling the ground around you in pink abundance.

I’ll just hold it up, you’d said with a smile, demonstrating with a curtsy that should have brought this momma to happy tears.

Instead, I simply shook my head and spoke the first of many words of doubt—Oh, it’s so beautiful, Allie, but honestly, it won’t do, I’d remarked. It’s way too long! We’ll have to find someone to alter it, though it’s unlikely anyone will be available at this late date. Not to mention, prom’s next weekend too. (I nearly shudder now to think of my negativity at a moment when I should have only offered kind, encouraging words, shared your elation by making the kitchen a dance floor and twirled with you. A moment missed is a sad thing indeed, but for God’s grace.)

You didn’t seem to mind, so determined to wear the gown you had picked out with your daddy. Looking back, I see mercy all over those minutes, making my messy wrongs seemingly unapparent to you. You just turned and carefully held the dress up so as not to trip on the stairs as you went to your room to undress, before hanging it in your closet. When you returned to where I was at the sink, you simply reminded me–Please call tomorrow.

And I did, and I was right about one thing. The woman said there was no way she could have the dress done by Friday, and I breathed a sigh of relief. (Isn’t that so silly?) We’ll just have to get another dress, I’d told you after school. There will be an opportunity for you to wear the gown, but just not now, and I saw the disappointment mar your face.

Moments later, you’d said, Here. Call her, as you held up a name and a number. Maybe she can do it. My emotions were, yet again, a mixture of both doubt and hope–doubtful this lady would be able to alter the dress in time, hopeful that Allie would concede to wearing the alternate dress, the cute cotton one with a bit of lace that would be perfect with her cowgirl boots.

I called, prepared to hear the woman say, By this Friday? Oh my, no! There’s no way! But that’s not what she said. Instead, in broken English, she almost begged–Come now, please. I open til 6. I wait for you. 

There wasn’t anything to do but pile in the car, drive the forty-five minutes to Asheville—to Skyland Alterations, the place you, dear Daughter, discovered all on your own, not ready to give up on a dream.

I can’t explain it, but the real alteration happened to my heart the minute we stepped foot into that little shop on the corner of Miller and Hendersonville. The tiny woman named Soon Chang greeted us, her smile apparent, even behind her mask, her joy-filled eyes the half-moons of happiness. And I couldn’t help but smile back.

In moments, Soon had you pinned up, and we were ready to go. Be back Thursday, she’d said. I make mask with matching fabric too. 

As we paid for the alteration, I noticed a plaque on her shop’s wall. A cross, it said–

God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8).

Centered at the crossbeam was a heart with, You are loved embossed in silver.

As Soon handed me my receipt with, I see you Thursday afternoon, I was struck by the irony—the lesson one for me as I listened to God’s sweet Spirit in my heart. Again, it was my attitude that needed an alteration, much more than even the dress, and I nearly cried as we returned to the car to head home.

Dear Daughters, you all looked so lovely at the lake where we took pictures Friday night. Hearing you compliment one another and share in each other’s delight blessed my heart the most, even more than the excitement of the ensuing dance and the memories I knew you’d make.

And now, days have passed and the evening, despite how glorious its moments, has faded just a bit—become what’s more like a water-colored memory rather than that of a technicolored snapshot. But the lesson this momma learned is etched upon my heart in a manner that I pray won’t soon pass. Because you, Girls, were used by the Lord—yes, our King!—to teach me more about being His daughters. About caring less about what the world thinks and enormously more about what He thinks.

After all, that’s what matters most. He died to show us, and I, in particular, needed this reminder—

We are His princesses, even while still so imperfect. 

And, as Soon’s sign said—

You are loved!

Yes, we are.

Dear Jesus, thank you for calling us your daughters. For loving us enough to die for us, despite all our imperfections, while yet in sin. Enable us, dear Savior, to extend the same grace and mercy to others. Amen.

How does the enemy try to thwart your position as God’s princess with his lies? Find a scripture from God’s Word that speaks truth to his accusations, and wield your weapon. And remember–we are daughters of the King!