Guest post: by Carl Beech, director, Christian Vision for Men
Dear Emily and Annie,
I know you know this, because I tell you often enough, but I was there when both of you were born. In fact, I “cut the cord” and almost immediately gave both of you your first cuddle. In Emily’s case you blew bubbles at me and Annie just screamed! They were for me incredible moments and brilliant memories. I have never since had a feeling like those ones, when we met for the first time. I wanted to shout it from the roof tops. When I drove you home, both times, I remember looking constantly at you in the baby seat next to me. They were real ‘wow’ moments and I was totally besotted with both of you from the word go.
Sorry if I don’t say that enough.
It’s been amazing watching you grow up to be young ladies. I’ve seen you navigate your way through friendship upsets, challenges at school and in various clubs, developing interests and hobbies and dealing with winning and losing. I think you are both amazing in the way that you have tackled some tough moments and kept your heads in it.
I love it when I hear either of you laughing.
Some of my happiest moments are when I see either of you with that glint of mischief in your eyes. I love it that both of you have a mad sense of humour! Never lose your laughs, your love of life and never lose the truth that you are both incredibly beautiful people.
Please, don’t listen to what the TV programmes tell you and ignore what the magazines say.
They talk about a different kind of beauty – a more plastic and shallow beauty that really counts for nothing. The truth is anyway that most of the models you see in the adverts have been photoshopped and most of the people on TV have so much make-up on they hardly resemble the real person.
It’s such a false picture and stops you from thinking about true beauty. Now I happen to think that your are both very pretty. But to me, true beauty is what’s on the inside of a person that then shines out. No amount of foundation, eyeliner, lip-gloss, varnish, powder, cream, hair extensions, mascara and highlights can mask the true beauty or ugliness of an individual.
I was once praying for people in India when a woman came forward who was incredibly beautiful. In fact she was stunning and had a compelling sense of peace about her. I asked the interpreter what she wanted prayer for and he just looked at me blankly. I asked him again, to which he replied “but can’t you see?” When I looked at her again, I noticed for the first time that she was completely disfigured on one side of her face and that one of her arms was like a small twig, where she had obviously had something like polio. I remember feeling like my head was spinning in confusion. After all, I hadn’t noticed any of that before!
As I stood there, I felt God quietly whisper to me: “You just saw her the way I see her all the time, beautiful to me.” Wow!
It was, for me, a life-changing moment. Remember that true beauty is on the inside and as a final aside – the men worth giving your heart to? They really get that. Remember always that I love you, without condition.
With huge love,
Carl Beech heads up Christian Vision for Men, a national movement focused on introducing men to the Church. He has been married to Karen for 19 years and has two daughters, a dog, a cat and a hamster! He enjoys sporting challenges and has in the last few years cycled from Lands End to John O’ Groats, Calais to Nice and the length of Italy – all in under nine days. Follow him on Twitter.