I have had the privilege of attending a Quinceañera that my daughter was invited to. A Quinceañera is a Hispanic girl’s rite of passage from little girlhood into young womanhood. With its dedicated mass service, separate dinner, and celebration that includes elaborate decorations, cloth-covered tables and chairs, centerpieces, cake, dancing, and damas and chambelanes (female attendants and male escorts), it feels much like a wedding.
In the midst of this beautiful and intricate and expansive celebration, there is one moment in the evening that resonates in my spirit as the Lord counsels a word to me. After my daughter’s friend – who is adorned in a gorgeous, flowing, bold-red, jeweled-bodice ballroom gown – performs a dance with her male escorts (no less stunning in their military-style uniforms with sabers), she sits by herself in a chair in the middle of the dance floor. Traditional, ballad-style music begins to play. Her father kneels down in front of his daughter, and a woman delivers a decorated basket holding a pair of high heels. The father tenderly removes his daughter’s flats and replaces them with the high heels, as he lovingly buckles the straps of the heels for her.
Next, her mother comes out to the floor and crowns her daughter with a delicate and beautiful tiara. She affixes this crown to her daughter’s hair with attention and care.
Following this, my daughter’s friend enjoys her first dance of this ceremony with her father as hundreds of eyes are transfixed upon them. My own eyes leak as God speaks a significance to the heart of this little girl living in a woman’s body and life.
I am His princess. You are His princess. Our daughters are His princesses… In HIS eyes.
Yet, often and unfortunately, we are not in our own eyes. What influences this? It is lack of understanding the fullness of our inherited identity through the risen Christ. It is lies the enemy speaks that we believe. It is society’s false definition of who we are as women. It is [not] the fact that we are treated by others less than what we are, but that we allow others – as daughters of The King – to treat us less than what we are…and we unwittingly pass this down to our own daughters.
The picture God gave me as I moved from being a physical spectator of this specific ceremony through tear-filled eyes into spiritual clarity was this…
Fathers…You need to treat your daughters like the princesses that they are. You need to equip their feet to take them in places where God would desire them to go. What does this look like? Treat them the way that you would want future boyfriends and a future husband to treat them. This starts with the example of how you love your wife in front of them. This continues as you dedicate father-daughter times to model for them a very high standard of speech and behavior and treatment, so they will not settle for less when they begin to date. Just as the father I observed fit and secured those grown-girl shoes to his daughter’s feet with such tenderness and love, so you ought to tenderly and lovingly help your daughter get acquainted with the Savior and the daily, transformative application of God’s Word by fitting her feet with the readiness of the gospel of peace.
Mothers…We need to treat our daughters like the princesses that they are. We need to crown their heads not with our own insecurities and failures, but with the Word of God through encouraging, transparent direction and with the Truth of who God says they are. This starts with the example of how we honor our husbands. Even if we are divorced and he is the vilest of the vile, the deadbeat-est of the deadbeats, we can honor the seed of that man without honoring his life choices. When we openly dishonor or disrespect who he is, our daughters take that dishonor upon themselves at some level because his seed was part of the equation of her life. [As my Gramps would often say, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything a-tall.”] This crowning continues as we dedicate our speech and our lives to agape love of others and model a life of honest sanctification before our daughters. It’s showing our girls what the helmet of salvation is about in practical, every day living.
Finally, God spoke to my spirit that we must show our princess-daughters what it is to dance with the Father. We must put our hands in His, as we lean into God and close our eyes to the world, tune in to His voice and movement, and give our feet permission to follow His lead.
This. Is. Beauty.
If we fathers and mothers were to make an honest and intentional and sustained effort in these areas with our daughters, maybe they would not find it necessary to dress/speak/act promiscuously to attract the wrong types of guys. Perhaps they would not need to turn to alcohol, drugs, cutting, eating disorders…and…and…and.
Maybe then, just maybe, they would look to the Scriptures and to God for their identity and validation…not us, and certainly not the world. Perhaps, if like my daughter’s friend who looked and was treated like a princess for a moment of her life that night, we would treat our daughters like spiritual princesses every day, they might start to live as such.
I wish I had known my Savior much earlier in life than 26. I did a lot of wrongful and harmful searching-for-validation in my Before Christ years. I have also failed my daughters in numerous manners and times. However, I do not live in or with regret because regret brings death (I Cor. 7:10). I can only move towards fullness today – the day I have been given – and intentionally choose life in my actions and words in the rest of my tomorrows.
“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.” I Peter 2:9-10 [NKJV]
For a transparent and beautifully raw look into identity from a young woman who is blogging her journey, look at beautybeyondbones.com.
His Princess, Growing and Learning With You ~~