Originally posted on mymindsnaps.com
Being a woman at this time, in this century has its definite advantages and pitfalls. Being a Christian woman can be especially challenging because there are so many things out there that are so pleasurable and tempting and yet so dangerous to the sensitive spirit of a woman. I often wonder what I would tell my daughter when she comes ‘of age’; what sort of advice I would give her. If I were to write a letter to her, to be given to her perhaps when she’s fifteen years old, I suppose it would be something like what I’ve come up with below.
You are now at an age that is so beautiful, tender and full of life and potential…and yet so dangerous in the sheer intensity of its beauty. You are at the cusp of womanhood – not quite a child and not yet a woman as such. Yes, you may have what it takes to reproduce but your mind is not fully aware of the realities of life. There are a few things I want to tell you and I’d rather write because I find I express myself better that way.
First of all, I want you to know that this letter is in no way meant to take the place of actual dialogue; you and I can and will most definitely talk as time goes by. I don’t want to be prudish or to shy away from some subjects that may be uncomfortable. Life is full of uncomfortable moments, as you will find out.
The very first choice you will have to make at this point in your life is the decision about whom you will serve. Yes, I know you’ve been raised in a Christian home but that does not guarantee anything. What we have tried to do is to set you off in the right direction: it’s up to you to keep up the pace and go on the path. You have to decide here and now whether you will spend your life serving yourself or God. It will be the most ‘one or the other’ decision you will ever make in your life. There is a part in the Bible that says you cannot serve two masters as you will ‘hate one and love the other’. Make no mistake, my dear: you cannot bounce back and forth.
The next step after making that decision is for you to realize that life is unfair. It really is. There are a lot of pleasant adages to the contrary: let me give you some examples:-
“The patient dog gets the fattest bone.” Not necessarily true. Sometimes the patient dog has the fattest bone snatched from him. Sometimes he doesn’t get it at all.
“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” A lie from the pit of hell. Words can hurt even more than physical injuries. They cut deep into the soul. Words have caused friendships, families and entire nations to break apart. Words have the power to hurt or heal, to bring a smile or tears, to mend rifts or cause them. Please be prepared for the fact that you will end up on both sides of the equation at one time or another in your life.
“Good girls go to Heaven and bad girls don’t.” Also not necessarily true. There will be times when the ‘bad’ girls will go and experience everything you wish you could, go places you may never go, have luxuries and lifestyles you may secretly envy and it hurts. There will be times when you will wonder whether being ‘good’ is worth anything at all. There will be times when you will want to throw decorum and chastity out the window because that seems to be the fastest way to ‘get ahead’. And in truth, it probably is. You see, there is no Gold Medal waiting for you on earth so please don’t sit down and think that the world owes you something for being ‘good’ because they don’t and even if they did, they wouldn’t ‘reward’ you anyway.
What is my point exactly? It all comes down to what I said at the very beginning of the letter. Choose whom you will serve. If you choose to serve God, then you must do so with your entire body, soul and spirit; something that will be a challenge, especially when your body and spirit want to go in a direction He doesn’t approve of. There will be serious challenges ahead; you may be looked upon as a fool, scoffed and laughed at, at the very best, condescended upon. You will find people who share similar values and goals with you and that may make life easier for a while. But realize that there will be times when it seems like you’re trudging the winding road uphill all by yourself. In those times don’t forget that you are never, ever alone.
You will have a first love and in all likelihood you will shed tears over a broken heart. I wish I could stop that from happening but I don’t think I can. Please remember this: not all people are the same. It is unfair of you to punish a person because of the mistakes of another. Guard your heart, but in doing so don’t let it become stone. Be generous and giving of your time, energy and talent. The only thing I would advise you never to be generous with is your body. It is the only thing you have that is yours and it is precious, as a temple should be. Give that away cheaply and you will wear out physically and emotionally in no time; that which is constantly invaded and disrespected tends not to thrive.
Be a good friend, a loyal friend. Give an encouraging word when you can and remember that sometimes the most poignant moments are those of silence: sometimes someone may just need you to sit down with them and not say anything at all. Do not betray a something said to you in confidence; trust takes years to build and a few moments to shatter. Be prepared for someone you thought a ‘friend’ to hurt you; that’s part of life, especially in the early years of your path to maturity. Forgive easily; but that is not to say you should put yourself in a situation where your trust is violated time and time again. Be wise about picking friends and cultivating relationships. Not all people are good for you and such you must keep at a manageable distance. Let them know you are willing to be there for them but it will have to be on agreeable terms and your time and efforts are in no way to be taken for granted. Have at most three confidants that you trust and leave the rest to be friends and acquaintances, and always know the difference and where each person falls. You will save yourself a lot of needless hassle that way. There are people who are good to ‘hang out’ with every now and then, people to do projects and work with, people to have casual, non invasive conversation with, and people you just keep at a workable distance.
Then there’s body image; something almost all women have an issue with. Am I too big, small, tall, short, curvy, plain, dark, light, and the list goes on and on. There will be days when looking in the mirror will be akin to torture – the ‘I’m too fat/thin/short/dark/light/etc’ moments. Relax, those days are few and far in between. I suppose I could give you the generic ‘love yourself the way you are’…but in truth I think you should always remember who you are in God’s Eyes, and that will help you to get everything else in perspective. You will meet all sorts of people you will inadvertently compare yourself with, some more attractive than you and others less so…but don’t let that become your yardstick of measurement for life and success as it will get you nowhere. Keep your chin up and your spirit and mind will follow. God made you to a particular specification and He does not make mistakes.
Develop a sense of integrity and have an inner code of ethics that you follow. Resist the temptation to take the ‘easy’ way out when that way clashes with your principles. Mean what you say and say what you mean. This is something you should imbibe from now on, from school to your workplace. Respect authority but know when to draw the line if authority would have you cheat, lie, steal or do something otherwise.
What is your purpose in life? Namely, to follow Him…and all else will fall into place. Your entire purpose in life is not to get married, have kids, be a career woman and so forth, admirable as those goals may be. Those are stages in life you will most likely reach but you shouldn’t place your entire worth on them because they can fail you. Men disappoint, children rebel, jobs are unstable, but your purpose doesn’t waver. Find out who you are and what you are put here to do: that’s something you have to do on your own because you are unique and therefore your destiny is unique. Enjoy the journey as you do because as much as there will be challenges, there will be joy, peace and fulfillment as well in between.
Learn to laugh at yourself and to have spontaneous and joyous moments! Listen to music, sing, dance and make someone laugh! Explore your talents because I am sure you have many and see how you can improve the quality of your life through them. Learn when to pour yourself into work and when to lean back and relax; you are not a slave to anyone, not your husband, family, work, church or friends! There are times when a friendly but firm ‘no’ comes into play; learn to use that word when needed and don’t end up taking too much on yourself and become a martyr.
I’ll leave you with this from Hebrews 10: 35- 36: “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised.”
I hope you take the advice I’ve given you as that is basically all I have to say for now. Live well and love well, my daughter!
Written by Sifa Asani Gowon