Suddenly, she paused and gently looked up at me with her big, sparkling brown eyes as if to say, “Am I beautiful, Papa? Do you love me and think I’m special?” Her two little fists held her skirt out so I could see the print on it, “Pwetty? Pwetty, Papa?” She softly squeaked.
I looked intently into her beautiful eyes…broke into a smile, picked her up, and swung her into my arms, gave her a kiss on her smooshy cheeks, and then said, “Yes, Everlynn, you are pretty and I love you more than any other little girl in the world.”
Even though she doesn’t quite know how to return the verbal exchange, “I love you,” she responded with more than words can convey with a warm, cuddly hug around my neck. She nestled her head next to mine. I could feel her take a deep breath…calm, content, loved.
Gone.Meanwhile, on the very same night there was another daddy’s girl out on a stage at the VMA awards, in front of millions of viewers, frenetically vying for attention and screaming for someone to call her beautiful.
Miley Cyrus tried every move imaginable to mankind in order to get someone to look… and she did. Heads turned. Heads rolled. And most heads shook, at first, with disgust, and then with deep sadness. Gone was the rather innocent girl, Hannah Montana, who drew massive crowds of mimicking pre-teen girls. Gone was the bright, happy smile. Gone was the calm, content, and loving picture of Billy Ray Cyrus with his sprawling family in tow. Gone.
And somewhere there is still a little girl looking for love, hoping for peace, and waiting for a daddy to call her beautiful. The streets of Hollywood, New York, and Las Vegas are not the only strips of concrete where one-time little girls go wandering out to find love through showing off the square-footage of their skin. Every single city, town, and village across the globe is filled with little girls who need their daddy’s and mommy’s to call them loved and beautiful.
Now, don’t misunderstand me, I’m not pretending to know the inner-workings of the Cyrus family, nor am I claiming that Billy Ray doesn’t love his daughter, Miley. But what we all know is somewhere past all the spandex, glitz, gold, dance moves, and blaring music, is the heart of a girl who is still vying for attention and looking for love…on all the wrong stages.
Looking for LovePerhaps some of you reading this article are still deep down inside that little girl who never heard her daddy say, “I love you.” Maybe you did hear your daddy say those words, but you always knew it was conditional – if you wore the right clothes, if you got the right grades, if you scored enough goals, if you said the right words, if you looked just right, and on the list goes. And so you’ve been in a mad race of chasing after love and never really finding it.
And right now, in this very moment, I want you to know this: God the Father loves you completely and unconditionally in Jesus Christ. There is real love: “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 HCSB). Even if every kind of human love has failed you, God’s love for you does not hinge on the basis of what you say or do – His love is complete in Jesus, and He wants you to receive His love today.
Showing Real LoveBut maybe you’re a dad like me, but for you, your daughter isn’t eighteen months old; she’s eighteen years old or maybe even thirty-eight. When was the last time you looked directly into her eyes or called her on the phone, simply to say, “You are beautiful – inside and out – and I love you…nothing will every change that.”
Dads, let’s show and tell our daughters they are “pwetty”, beautiful, and unconditionally loved simply because of who they are, not because of what they can do, say, sing, or wear.
Millions, maybe even billions, of little girls are left without a loving daddy or mommy. It is time for you and me to step in and love like God loves. Step across the bridge and share God’s love with someone who’s been chasing after love and has continually come up empty-handed and hurt. Christ’s real, lasting love can radically change hearts, lives, and families…it even changed mine.
Finally, amid all the criticisms and argumentation about the VMA awards, let’s not forget that prayer is the most important action we can take… let’s pray that Miley Cyrus (and the many others like her) will come to know the wonderful depths and riches of God’s love in Jesus Christ and be radically changed into a woman of faith rather than just an object of fame or shame.