The Truth About Braces and Beauty

Dear Mad,

So you’re ten years old and you just got braces. So far, your mom and dad tell me you’re handling it like a champ, and as your aunt I’m constantly proud of the spunk that fills you from head to toe.

But I also remember those days…my own adventure with braces…and I know in many ways this is only the beginning.

What no one seems to tell you when you’re growing from a girl into a young woman is that there are going to be days when the mirror will be unkind. When boys and even girls you thought were your friends will laugh and make you feel small. When your own thoughts will run rampant and try their best to convince you that you are too much of this or not enough that and will seek to trap you with all kinds of lies.

And this mirror, those friends, that voice…it doesn’t just go away. It’s always lurking, always waiting for that moment when you’re not at your best. That moment when you’re weak and vulnerable.

It’s part of being a girl and, believe me, it’s part of being a woman.

But the real truth?

The real truth is much more promising, and it is something You. Must. Know.

The real truth, Mad, is that braces, and mirrors, and unkind friends are temporary. But what you have inside you, what lives in your heart is forever, everlasting, eternal.

Not long ago you asked Jesus into your heart and He came and He filled it. He filled it not just with His love and grace but also with beauty unending. And this beauty, Mad, it’s the real deal. It’s the real thing. It has forever changed you both inside and out and it will never be used up, never undone.

It’s in you and all around you. It shows in your words, your actions, your dreams. It shows when you sing Let It Go with all your heart, and when you refuse to give up on even the toughest math problem.

It’s in your freckles and your blue eyes just like Nannie’s. It’s in your little mommy ways, your one of a kind smile, and the way you love your family…(big and little brothers included.)

These and a million other ways are how you offer your beauty to the world and, Mad, this is what “beautiful” is all about.

“Beautiful” is about knowing that beauty dwells in your heart because you are God’s girl, because you were made in His image. It’s about seeing yourself the way God, and your Aunt Jen, and all those who love you see you.

And in our eyes, Mad, you couldn’t possibly be more beautiful.

So when the mirror is cruel, when a boy or a friend makes you feel like less than who you are, when your own thoughts whisper lies…remember.

Remember the truth.

Remember how God sees you…wholly and dearly loved.

Remember how we see you…lovely from head to toe with a heart too big for this world.

Remember that beauty fills you both inside and out and you were created by God to offer this beauty to a broken and ugly world.

And smile! (This world needs that smile…braces and all.)

Because you’re Madeline Grace. (Madeline full of grace.)

And you’ve never been more beautiful than you are right now.

With All My Love,

Your Very Proud Aunt Jen

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