the joy project dec 4 2the joy project december 4'

Our youngest child challenges me often with questions and observations about life. Last week we were in the car together when she asked, “Mommy, why am I dark?” She then quickly continued, “Is it because I am Spanish like Daddy?” Before I could answer, she stated, “And you are light because you are English. “ It was an interesting perspective from a five year old. My husband’s family is from Peru, although he was born and raised in the United States, and all three of our children look like him. We have never described people by their skin color; in fact, we have been very cautious to find other attributes about people when describing them. I now see how observant children can be. They notice things on their own and have questions. This wasn't the first time she brought up her skin or hair color to me. A few weeks ago she told me that she wished she had light hair like her cousin.

Last month, while getting her physical, the doctor suggested that we get her eyes checked. The first thing our daughter said to me was that she would look funny with glasses. I am surprised that she has so many thoughts about her outward appearance at such a young age. I always thought that if we didn't emphasize outward beauty in our home, that our girls would be immune to it.

As cliché as it sounds, I want them to grow up and see the beauty inside each person. I want them to see the character and spirit of others. I want them to appreciate each person’s unique beauty without comparing themselves or wanting to change. There are so many pressures as girls age to conform to a certain size and dress a certain style. The world and media heighten this pressure, which makes it hard for girls to realize that true beauty comes from within.

I pray that as our five year old matures, she will appreciate her individuality. I pray that our girls will not feel an inner desire to conform. I know firsthand how hard this battle can be. I want our daughters to know that they do not need to be anything other than who God has created.

I want our children to see that when they shine for the Lord, and live life with grace and love, beauty exudes from them. This is incomparable to anything we can create for ourselves.

When I see our daughter in these images, in the light overflowing with joy, all I see is beauty. I see His beauty. It is not her clothes or her hair or her skin I see. It is her spirit and her soul.