Something precious happened at Sunday school today. After teaching my class of younger children, I went to host the Q&A session with the older children.

Today, there were only five teenaged girls in attendance; they were all quite shy and subdued. To get the ball rolling, we went around the circle and shared what we liked about the day’s lesson, which was on the topic of how God loves each of us.

One of the girls blurted out, “They say that I’m dark like the devil!” Another girl added some derogatory comments she’d heard about her hair. The conversation threatened to take a negative turn when I believe God gifted me with a peek into how He sees these girls. Suddently, they looked so beautiful and precious to me!

“I want each of you to repeat after me: I am a child of God. God thinks I am beautiful. I won’t listen to the nasty things other people say, because God made me exactly how He wanted me.”

All the girls repeated this with shining eyes and growing confidence. One girl laughed and said, “Oh, I feel so good now! I’m going to go home, take my Bible, and read about Jesus’ love—and when I’ve finished, I’m going to close the book and say, ‘Jesus loves me!’”

Our Sunday school is based in a very tough neighbourhood, and I don’t think that any of those girls had ever been genuinely told that they are beautiful and that they matter. But that day, God gave us an opportunity to shine a light on the lies they’d been told, to build up their self-respect and confidence, and to center it in something that never changes: Him.

They are beautiful to God. Even more than that, they are loved by Him. I’m loved by Him. You’re loved by Him. You’re beautiful.