Since having Nora and beginning to navigate the road of raising a daughter, I’ve leaned a lot on my friends with little girls that have gone before me for guidance and wisdom. Today, I’ve asked my friend Courtney (a SAHM of two and writer in South Carolina) to speak a little to a topic that I see coming up ALL THE TIME lately: princesses. I admire Courtney and her husband SO much for the way they are intentional in their parenting, pray for their children, and speak truth into their hearts. I also LOVE her little girl, Selah Grace. She has spunk and spirit, and Courtney and I often joke that she is the female version of my Sam. Below is a letter Courtney wrote to Selah about why she wouldn’t let her have a “Princess Party.” I realize that this can be a sensitive subject and one on which we won’t likely all agree. To be honest, I don’t fully know my own opinion yet; but, I do appreciate how Courtney articulates her hope for Selah in Jesus. You should know that she isn’t saying that she hates princesses – quite the opposite, they like them A LOT – just that she wants even MORE than that for her. Anyway, read on. I welcome any kind discussion in the comments!
July 6, 2015
In a few weeks you will turn three. Yesterday, as we rode home from the mountain cabin, you and I sat in the back, scrolling through my phone, planning your birthday tea party. We found the cutest floral plates and you went into full out “leader” mode, deciding which friend would get which plate. We were having fun.
Until you decided you wanted a Princess Tea Party.
And your dad and I said, “No.”
You sobbed for the rest of the ride home. Huge crocodile tears as you pleaded with us. Stated your case. “I don’t want a regular tea party. I want a princess tea party because I love princesses.”
And Selah, though I know you don’t fully understand this now, that’s why we aren’t going to have a princess party. Because that’s the problem: You love princesses too much.
“So why not let me have a princess party?” You may think. “Don’t you want me to be happy?” “Wouldn’t it make you so happy to see me so happy at my princess party??”
And it would. In fact, that’s the inner conflict that I face as your mom. See, one of the things I love the most is seeing you happy. Sometimes I love it too much.
In life there are always going to be things we love too much. Things we believe will make us whole. For you, right now, it’s princesses.
Here’s how I know this: Because you don’t just want to play princess and wear princess dresses. You want to wear them all the time. And when your dad or I tell you it’s time to take them off, you say things like “I have to wear my princess dress so I will be beautiful.”
You’ve become obsessed with the idea of marrying your prince. And when you are playing princess, the conversations center around being pretty enough for your prince to marry you.
You love pretend and you love stories. And those are good things. In fact, those are beautiful things. Your imagination and ability to create entire worlds from the back seat of the car are some of my most favorite things about you. I treasure our afternoons spent playing princess together as we fight off dragons and evil snowmen with our bare hands. I love when you snuggle up in my lap and together, we get lost in a fairy tale.
You rightly sense that there is a bigger story that you’d like to be swept up in.
But as your mom, I have to speak a little truth to your toddler heart—truth that a lot of girls and mommas need to be reminded of too: The princess story is much too small. And even more than that, it is a lie.
The princess story says:
- Being beautiful is what gives you worth and makes you worthy of pursuit (Snow White)
- Obtaining the love of a prince is worth giving up your own voice (Little Mermaid)
- Finding (and marrying) the perfect man will lead to ultimate happiness (Cinderella)
Selah, there is a story worth getting swept up in: It’s the story of Jesus.
Jesus gave up a lot more than just his voice; He gave up his whole life for you. And not because you are the prettiest or the best singer or because you can do awesome tricks like shooting ice out of your fingertips. No. He gave up His life because He knew it was the only way. Jesus was perfect. And not only was Jesus perfect, but He knew perfect love. He was in the perfect relationship with His father, and he gave that up.
The God who was love came to Earth and became sin so that you and I would not have to be a slave to ours.
It’s this love—this love that seeks us out when we are totally helpless and unlovable—that in turn, makes us lovely.
Selah, you are valuable because Jesus says you are. Jesus wants to save you. He wants to give you a new heart that looks like His and loves the things that He loves. And when that happens, that is about as beautiful as it gets. That is a love worth partying about!
I pray that you will come to taste and see that Jesus’ love for you is what makes you lovely. That in Him, you will find true joy that no prince, or ball gown, or princess party can satisfy.
My prayer on your birthday is that Jesus will become the treasure that you’re after—that He will rescue you and give you a new heart—and that over time, your love for him will far out weigh your love for princesses. I will continue to seek the Lord and ask for wisdom and guidance to know how to best shepherd your heart. And at your non-princess tea party, I will celebrate that no prettying up is needed to be a part of His story.