Jesus Loves Your Body Hair
What follows is a letter to my daughter, Maggie. She's a bit bigger now than she was in the picture above (and so are her wings!), but I know that if I blink too much or sleep in too late, she’ll be a teenager in no time - and for once in my life, I’ll be ready to tuck this letter into the skinny jeans she wears with her way-too-expensive short suede boots (or whatever's hip in 2023!)...
First things first, I want you to know how wonderful you are and how proud I am of you! You are kind, compassionate, smart-as-a-whip, witty, and just the right amount of sassy - and the way you're navigating the rough waters of adolescence is a wonder to behold.
Thanks be to God, you are much more centered and confident than I was at your age. I was so insecure about my body, my teeth, my skin, my hair - you name it, I was insecure about it. And, truth be told, sometimes I still am.
But not you! You've found a way to love yourself, not in that shallow kind of way that layers on lip gloss and glitter with a trowel, but in a deep, grounded, sustainable kind of way that makes my heart ache with joy.
I don’t know when it happened - maybe it was on one of those mother/daughter camping trips that we're so famous for, or maybe it was on one of those mission trips we took to Haiti as a family, or maybe it was those vespers services at church camp...
I don’t know exactly when it happened but, at some point in your young life, that Jesus who continues to be so good at challenging the dominant norms of the day whispered into your fuzzy little ear, “You, my love, are beautiful. You’re perfect. You’re my beloved. You have been created in the very image of God. I have declared you very good - and don’t let anyone tell you different!”
And this is the best part: you believed it, every last word!
As a result, you've never worried about being “fat.” You never compared your body, your teeth, your skin, or your hair to others, especially those air-brushed super stars. You don’t wear skin-tight clothing. You don't have pants that say "Juicy" across the butt. And, you roll your eyes when your friends buy lacy, satin pink thongs with their allowance money.
For all these things and more, so many more, I continue to be immensely proud of you!
Now, I know this is going to make you cringe, but as you stand on the precipice of becoming a woman, I want to say something important to you about body hair: it’s NOTHING to feel embarrassed or ashamed of! Contrary to what those glossy magazines, television commercials, and billboards say (they're all designed to make you feel as if female body hair is unnatural, unclean, and/or downright gross), your body hair is beautiful, perfect, and created in the image of God. It is good!
My prayer for you as you make your way into late adolescence, is that Jesus will come back to you and whisper into your ear something like this: "Sweetheart, you do not need to embark upon a lifelong, expensive, and painful battle of trying to keep your body hair at bay. And don't believe anyone who tells you that you need to remove it altogether! As a Christian, you have the strength and the power to question the cultural norms of the world, namely that women need to shave their legs up to their hips, bleach their lips, pluck their eyebrows, extend their lashes, and wax their pubic areas in order to be 'beautiful.'"
And if for some reason Jesus gets delayed, have no fear! Your mama will take you under her fluffy little love wing and whisper something like this: "Maggie, very truly I tell you, you have the ability to challenge the dominant narrative that 'hairlessness' and 'beauty' are inextricably linked. You, my love, have the courage to ask the question, 'What would Jesus do?' when your peers (and their mothers?!) make joint appointments for Brazilians, just for fun!"
Maggie, this is what Jesus and I want to tell you: you have been beautifully and wonderfully made! DO NOT forget this! You are perfect just the way you are!
We love how the hair on your legs glitters like gold in the warm summer sunlight, and we'll support you if you choose to grow out your armpit hair, not pluck your eyebrows, or decide to let your pubic area sport the super cute, super cozy, au naturel look! And not only that, we will link arms with you and shelter you when your peers or the media make you feel self-conscious about your decision.
My sweet, soft, strong daughter, you are the pride of our lives! Your body and your spirit are a wonder to behold - and the two of us can’t wait to see who and what you will become!
Mama (and Jesus)