I stood in the hospital corridor in stunned disbelief, my heart shattered in a million pieces as I looked into the tear-streaked faces of four beautiful young sisters. Alena, at 14, was the oldest, along with 12-year-old Kaity and 10-year-old twins, Olivia and Camryn.
This was the night that their mother, Wynter Danielle Pitts, had just been pronounced dead. She was 38 years old.
Around midnight, as the reality of loss set in, I was leaning back against the wall in that same stark hallway, standing just opposite Alena, who was being cradled in the warm embrace of another aunt—my sister, Chrystal. My eyes then shifted farther down the hall, where I noticed that for a few moments the hallway had cleared of everyone other than the women in our family. All of us were there—aunts, sisters, sisters-in-law, a grandmother, cousins—individual women, unified in presence. I saw us, and I saw her—Alena, a motherless, teenage girl.
“Alena, look . . .” I said, pointing down the corridor to show her what I was seeing, this cocoon of feminine fortitude surrounding her.
“Do you see us, sweet girl?”
She nodded weakly.
Cupping her face in my hands, I whispered, “We’ve got you, little one. We’ve. Got. You.”
Her aunties would be stepping up and stepping in to mother her and her little sisters through this tender phase of life, holding their hands and guiding them into adult womanhood, reminding them who they are and who they’re becoming, filling in the missing pieces of the feminine puzzle that they’d be needing to decode without their mother’s love and counsel.
It’s with this same sentiment of love and desire that I write these words to you. Here I am, looking down the corridor at you, dear little sister. And I want you to know: I see you.
I respect the fact that your life, despite being younger than mine, is not junior in size or in relative complexity. I consider you a full-fledged member of our sisterhood. You’re in a good place at your age, with so much promise and possibility surrounding you and in front of you. But I know in many ways, if you’re like most of us, you’re also in some hard places. And I feel responsibility for giving you the kind of advice and perspective that’ll match the intensity of what you’re up against every day.
Finding your way into womanhood is filled with pitfalls that we all need help maneuvering around:
• When you feel discouraged. Outperformed. Insecure. Inferior.
• When you’ve been excluded and ignored. Overlooked and underappreciated.
• When you question your beauty—your body, your feelings, your personality.
• When you feel exhausted and worn out from driving to achieve and impress.
• When you’re crippled by perfectionism and trying to live up to unattainable standards.
• When life happens and you’re struggling—I mean, seriously struggling—against the strain, disappointment, and discouragement.
At these times and many others, you need some support and wisdom, some encouragement and reinforcement from other women who are determined to have your back.
So, hear me again: I’ve got you. In fact, there are a whole host of women who do.
Maybe, like me, you’ve been surrounded by women all your life who’ve had you. I hope so. In that case, it’s my honor to stand with them in supporting and encouraging you, no matter what you’re facing today.
But if somehow the ball of mentorship has been dropped for you—if no one’s seemed to care enough or has paid attention enough or loved enough or been present enough to tell you, it’s my privilege to share these things with you—not because I’m perfect, but just because I’ve been around a while and have learned a little. Wobbles, falters, missteps, and mercy will teach a girl a thing or two.
Or four. I hope you’ll never, ever forget . . .
1. You are divinely designed. Handcrafted in God’s image. Inside and out. A radiant expression of His creative genius and a reflection of His power and glory.
2. God’s Spirit lives in you. Through faith in His cross, you are fully forgiven, fully free, fully alive.
3. You are not your struggle. You are not your behavior. You are not your feelings. You are not your experiences. Your identity is rooted in your new nature in Christ. You can now take back your peace, joy, and contentment. They are yours to keep.
4. You are on assignment, on mission, purposely placed in this generation by God’s Spirit, to do not only big future things, but also the simple, faithful everyday things.
So, when tomorrow morning rolls around, here’s what you need to remember:
Be YOURSELF—“remarkably and wondrously made.” (PSALM 139:14)
Be BLESSED—“with every spiritual blessing in the heavens in Christ.” (EPHESIANS 1:3)
Be ASSURED—“he who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion.” (PHILIPPIANS 1:6)
Be on MISSION—“he who calls you is faithful; he will do it.” (1 THESSALONIANS 5:24)
And as always, be RADIANT.
I am just one of many who are cheering for you, praying for you, and celebrating God’s work through you. Your generation will never be alone because a holy sisterhood will always have your back. We see you. We know who you are. So keep going without looking behind you. Keep pressing on without fear. Keep honoring God with a passion.
And remember . . . we’ve got you.
Priscilla Shirer is a Bible teacher and conference speaker with a Master’s Degree in Biblical Studies from Dallas Theological Seminary. She’s the co-founder of Going Beyond Ministries and the New York Times bestselling author of numerous books and Bible studies. Her new book, Radiant: His light, your life, is inspired by the feature film OVERCOMER.