A Letter to My Daughter About Her Body

Dear Daughter,

Today your dad and I got to see your body while the Lord is still forming you in my womb. You weigh about 12 ounces, but I saw the most miraculous things. I saw your ribs, your spine, and all four chambers of your heart as they were beating at 172 bpm. I saw you gulp, and cross your legs, wave your hands over your face, and kick me… Hard! Maybe you’ll play soccer?

As I gaze at the ultrasound screen and see you, our miraculous answer to years of prayer, I hope and pray that all you ever feel towards your body and yourself and the way God made you is the absolute joy and wonder we feel right now. 

I know that there’s a chance that you’ll someday doubt the goodness of your body as God has created it, just as I have. I hope these words I’m sharing with you now will equip you to fight off lies you may hear. I encourage you to cling to what God says about your body. I pray your heart will catch up to what your head knows is true about God and how he made you

You are a Miracle.

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. (Ps. 139:13-16)

Do you know all the things that have to go perfectly right for you to be here on this earth with us? We know some of these details, after going through infertility treatments. But even in “surprise” pregnancies, when fertility conditions are ideal, timing and cells and hormones have to stay just right for 40 weeks for another human to be born. It is only ever God’s miraculous work to bring life where there was none. The fact that you are here on earth with us, that we were surprised with your conception after so many years of waiting, is the work of God. He means for you to be here, at this time, in this body, specifically for his purposes. I don’t know what you’ll love to do or what you’ll excel in, but I do know you’re here on purpose, to glorify God and enjoy him forever. Which all happens in your one miraculous body. 

You are Made in God’s Image. 

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (Gen. 1:27)

We don’t yet know if you’ll have my wavy curls and big eyes, or your daddy’s soft hair and tall stature. But we do know you bear the image of God. And oh boy, is that better than any comparison to me or your dad you could ever hear. Southern mamas have long reminded self-conscious children that “God don’t make junk.” I think that’s about right. Because he is God, the Creator of the universe, the Almighty, the author of beauty, then you have undeniable value in being created in his image.

You Aren’t Perfect… Yet.

Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. – Proverbs 31:30.

The world will try to convince you that your life’s purpose is to be impressive to others, particularly in regards to your beauty. It will tempt you to think that one more round of botox, one (medically unnecessary) shot of Ozempic, one flattering dress will make you worthy of praise, glory, and honor, and that your life will be perfect from then on. Or, with just the right diet and exercise regime, you can avoid all pain and sickness, and live to 125 years old. 

I’ve believed that lie, and I want to go on and dispel it for you. We can’t control the number of our days, and we can’t secure eternal, universal esteem from others. Even if we were to achieve these impossible feats, they would not satisfy us. While your body was created good, and you are a valuable image-bearer, it also is subject to the broken world we live in. Your body will never reach perfection on this side of heaven. 

Sometimes that is really hard. You’ll have times in your life where the limits of your body are abundantly clear. You may face a disability or illness, or you may feel it from the mosquito bites or sunburns you acquire each summer. Either way, the very real pain you may feel in your body and the very real questions you have about it, will one day be healed and resolved. You’ll be made completely new and perfect. You don’t have to chase that here on earth.

Your Worth is Secure.

The world will continually tell you to work harder, strive more, or achieve perfection in order to secure your worth. But your worth doesn’t come from any of those things. Your worth and value are secured by the Savior who actually did live a perfect life and died for you and me, so that we could live a life in relationship to him, both now and in eternity. Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, you never have to question your security, your worth, or your belovedness. There’s not a single thing you could ever do to make God love you any more or less than he does. And there’s not a thing you could ever do to make your dad and I love you any more or less than we do. 

So, when the world tells you to change your body or your behaviors in order to fit in or be loved, you can talk back with the truth that there is nothing that will separate you from the love of Christ (Romans 8:28). You can remember you’re not after the approval of men, but of God, and if you’re in Christ you’ve already got that forever (Galatians 1:10). You can call to mind that not only did the Lord rescue you, he rescued you because he delights in you (Psalm 18:19). And you can remember that the mighty God who saved you is also in your midst, rejoicing over you with gladness and exulting over you with loud singing (Zeph. 3:17). 

You are Free.

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom (2 Cor. 3:17).

As you remember all of these truths, by God’s grace, you will be set free from striving to be lauded as the most beautiful, intelligent, accomplished, talented, winsome person in every room. All your deepest, truest desires will be met in Jesus. You will be free from bringing glory to yourself, because by beholding the glory of the Lord, you are “being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another” (2 Cor. 3:18). You will be free from bondage to shame about your body, because you know “those who look to the Lord are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed” (Ps. 34:5). 

A Prayer for Our Bodies

When the Israelites were assigned plots by tribe after conquering the Promised Land, they had boundary lines associated with their land. Their instructions were to cultivate that land, to care for it, to use it all for the glory of God. These plots were not the same shapes or sizes, yet they were all ordained by God. 

You and I were both given these beautiful bodies to care for, cultivate, use for the glory of God, and enjoy all along the way. My prayer for you in your body is the same as my prayer for me in mine. As we look in the mirror, let us see that God has made our bodies good, even as it looks different from the cultural ideal, even as it changes, even as it gets sick and heals, even as it stretches to accommodate a baby’s growing body. 

I pray we strengthen our bodies and enjoy their abilities. I pray we enjoy chocolate chip cookies without guilt, and munch on crispy brussel sprouts without pressure or superiority. I pray that as you grow, as you change, as you age, you’ll see the boundary lines of your body have fallen for you in pleasant places (Psalm 16:6). 

I pray God will fill you with the grace to understand how beloved you are and how beautifully he created you. That knowing how he made you, sees you, delights in you, and rescued you will carry you through life and all of its ups and downs. I pray you’ll remember the truth about your heart and your body, and as you do, that you’ll be thankful.

After years of God’s grace and patience with me and my getting it wrong in about every way possible, I thank God for how he has opened my eyes to see that he created my body good. He’s grown me in gratitude for all of it – the gray hairs that reveal the many years the Lord has given, the fine lines around my eyes and the deep smile creases in my cheeks from all the jokes I’ve told and the funny faces I’ve made to make babies giggle, the stretch marks from carrying you after long years of hoping to have you, and even the squiggly scars from that chemo port and picc line that remind me of the healing that has been worked in my body. 

May the story of your body point you to what God has done in you and for you. When your body feels like it’s failing you, or maybe when you feel like you’ve failed it, may God our Father remind you that you and your body are redeemed and headed toward glory – where every sickness and injury will be healed, where you’ll never again be tempted to question his goodness, where all sorrow and sighing will flee away. Where finally, we’ll see him face to face in our bodies, and all glory and honor and praise will go to him (Isaiah 35:2, 5-6, 10). 

*Special thanks to Jess Connolly’s book Breaking Free from Body Shame for sparking so many of the revelations discussed here. 

Katherine Stine has been the Director of Marketing at Rooted Ministry since 2020, after working in marketing and sales for a decade. Prior to that, she received her B.A. from Vanderbilt University, and then spent a year as a Fellow at The Falls Church Anglican. She lives with her husband and son in Birmingham, AL, where they are part of Redeemer Community Church. She loves to paint, garden, play music, and plan parties.

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