Dear Baby Girl,
Your daddy and I haven’t held you in our arms yet (and honestly, we’re hoping we won’t for another 15 weeks). We don’t know if the hue of your skin will be closer to your daddy’s warm brown or your mommy’s pale blush, or if you’ll have your daddy’s broad nose or your mommy’s slightly upturned one. We don’t know if you’ll be the life of the party like your daddy or rather stay home with a book like your mommy. But there are a few things that we know about you already, without question.
We know that God delights in you, exactly as you are. Baby Girl, as much as it breaks my heart, there will be people in this broken world who cannot see your beauty the way we do. We know that as you grow up, you will hear stories and see images of people of color who were murdered for no reason. You will see racism in the city where we live, in the schools you attend, and in the opportunities made available to people of color. You may ask me why people say things like “Make America White Again,” when you and your daddy aren’t white. You may ask me why all the presidents so far have been boys, and why there are fewer girls who are famous athletes, scientists, and pastors. You may ask me why our country elected a man to the presidency who is a known predator on strong, smart, beautiful women like you. As much as I wish I could shelter you from prejudice and discrimination, I know that some people will see you as “less” because of the color of your skin and the fact that you are a woman. And all these things may cause you to wonder if you really matter.
But I promise that we will tell you over and over again that you matter, exactly as you are. I believe that it was God’s intention for you to be precisely the person that you are, and that person is of inestimable value in God’s eyes. We read in Genesis that God created you “in the image of God” (Gen. 1:31). We read in Psalm 139:13-14 that even now, before you are even born, God “knit [you] together” inside of me, that you are
fearfully and wonderfully made.
And as you grow and develop into the woman God created you to be, God doesn’t just tolerate you–God delights in you. Zephaniah 3:17 tell us that God
rejoices over you with singing.
Baby Girl, God created you exactly how you are–as the daughter of a black man from inner-city Milwaukee, Wisconsin and a white woman from suburban Atlanta, Georgia–and those aspects of your personhood, as well as every part of your personality and character, bring immeasurable joy to him.
We know that Jesus gave his life for you. Baby Girl, because you are precious and beloved in God’s sight just as you are, Jesus came to live and die for you, just as he did for the whole world. His heart broke so much for the pain of the world that he gave his life for it. Jesus beheld the way that the people hurt each other, creation, and God’s own heart, and he spread his arms wide on the cross to hold us all. Jesus has borne the pain of every sorrow and difficulty you will ever know because he took on flesh in this broken and sinful world. When anyone’s behavior or words suggest to you that you don’t matter, turn your eyes to the cross and see the Savior who says that you matter so much that he died for you.
We know that the One who died for you is seated on the throne. Baby Girl, when you face those times when people don’t value you, remember that they are speaking from a position of weakness. The holder of true authority is the One who has called you precious and chosen and who has died for you. The God of the universe, the Risen Christ, is seated on the throne above all. In the Old Testament, Isaiah says, “I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lofty; and the hem of his robe filled the temple” (6:1). And in the New Testament, it is Christ who is enthroned. In Hebrews 8:1, he is
one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens.
So know this, whenever somebody questions your worth: They are wrong, and their “authority” is meaningless compared to the sovereignty which the Christ who died for you holds over the world.
We know that we will fail at times as your parents, but we will never stop trying to mirror God’s love for you. Baby Girl, before you were even conceived, we prayed for you to come into our lives. The morning I found out I was pregnant with you was one of the happiest moments of my life. The moment I told your daddy he was going to be a daddy, tears of joy rolled down his face. But I have a confession: We don’t know how to be your parents yet. I don’t know how to raise a young woman of color to be confident and compassionate in this world that can be so unjust and unkind. I fully anticipate messing up in spite of my best intentions. But I look to God as the ultimate and perfect parent, of whom the Psalmist says,
“If my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will take me up” (Ps. 27:10).
When my attempts to mirror God’s love for you fail, please forgive me, and know that God will not fail you as your heavenly parent.
Baby Girl, the love we have for you is more instinctive, deeper, and broader than anything I have ever known. But it is only a drop of water compared to the ocean of God’s love for you. I pray that love defines every moment of your life as you walk through this broken and beautiful world.