An Open Letter to Girls Anticipating Homecoming

To the high school girl buying a homecoming dress,

Hey there! I’m nobody special, just a working mom trying to raise two kids. I’ve had a lot of fun over the weekend scrolling through the Facebook pictures of homecoming parades, pep rallies, games, mums, and dates as they head out to dinner.

I remember my high school homecomings, and how much fun they were. I remember dress shopping and picking out corsages. I remember piling into a minivan with all my friends so we could ride to the game together.

That was about twenty-five years ago, which is really hard to believe.

So why am I writing you this letter?

I want to chat with you about the dress you’ve been eyeing on the rack.

Not lecture—not by a long shot. Just chat.

So here’s the deal. I know where you are and how you feel, because I felt that way, too.

I remember wanting so much for guys to like me more than “just a friend.” I wanted so much to have the perfect hair, the perfect teeth, and the perfect body.

I had none of those things, by the way.

I wanted to be noticed. I wanted to be popular. I wanted to be envied. I wanted to be wanted.

Because I wanted those things too much, I compromised myself too often. I drank, I smoked, I was bulimic, and I had absolutely no self-esteem. I said things I didn’t mean and did things I won’t say, so that people would notice me.

It took me a long time to realize what I’m about to say to you.

You are enough just the way you are.

You don’t have to try to be sexy for attention. Trust me when I say that’s not a good kind of attention. You don’t have to squeeze yourself into a skimpy two-piece dress that you can’t believe your mom let you buy or that your dad let you wear.

You are worth so much more than the cheap stares you’ll get if you walk through the gym doors in that dress.

People will stare, alright. But it won’t leave you feeling good. It will leave you feeling like you have to keep it up to keep the attention.

And you don’t.

I wish someone would’ve told me how God saw me when I was your age:

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed.

—Psalm 139:13–16 NLT

Don’t miss what the psalmist is saying. The Lord oversaw every detail of your body as He wove you together in secret. He beholds you as marvelous, beautiful; the crown jewel of His creation!

He created you to be loved and cherished, not ogled and used.

He has a plan for your life, and it involves so much more than the way you look.

The Lord, my heavenly Father and yours, has purchased your redemption at a price, and you were not cheap.

You cost Him the very blood of His Son, and He says you are worth every drop.

There will be guys who want to know you for who you are, not what you can give them or do for them. There will be young men who want to treat you like a lady. Sometimes it seems like there aren’t, but my friends and I are doing something about that.

We are raising our sons to value you as a daughter of the King, as an image-bearer of our Almighty God. We are training them to carry your books and open your doors; to pay for your meals and treat you with respect.

To look at you as more than an object.

Because you are far more than an object.

So please consider your dress carefully before you buy it. Choose the most beautiful dress you can find. Pick one with a color that brings out your eyes and lines to flatter your shape. Accent it with the perfect shoes and jewelry. Get your hair done and your nails painted.

And dress so they look at your eyes instead of your body.