unique, amazing and loved.

Growing up I had a large gap between my front teeth. I tried not to smile big. I hated that space and was extremely self-conscious about it. I hated my pale, skinny legs and my frizzy hair. I remember walking down the hall of my Junior High School and I was sure the cool kids were laughing at me. I thought if I could just have my teeth fixed, I would be happy. If I could get a little tan, I would be beautiful. If I could be a little more attractive I would be acceptable. If I looked better, I would be more lovable, more valuable. Those same insecurities stayed with me as I grew into adulthood. They became slightly more sophisticated, but the fear was the same. Am I loved?

I remember when David was placed in my arms for the first time. He had a lot of physical quirks—but his left hand, with only two fingers was the most noticeable. His small hand was a concrete physical representation of the syndrome that affects every cell in his body—from the top of his head to the tips of his toes. David is different. David is David. When the nurse placed him in my arms when he was minutes old, I had no doubt this baby was absolutely precious. Of course, we were grieving. There were many unknowns. But there was one thing I never questioned. I knew David was valuable. I knew he deserved love and every good thing.

Our family and friends gathered around us to support us and love David. We decided early on, we wouldn’t hide David’s small hand. We showed each visitor that tiny, sweet hand with only two fingers. I remember softly touching those little fingers as I cuddled our newborn on my chest.  I grieved that little hand and I wished David didn’t have to walk the hard road in front of him. I cried and wished he had five fingers on his left hand. But I loved David. And after time, I learned to love that little hand, too.

Those same early days after David’s birth, I would look at myself in the mirror with disdain. I could make a list of my imperfections—those extra pounds, the curly hair that wouldn’t cooperate, my fair skin that wouldn’t tan no matter what. I’d just had a baby—I was sleep deprived and grieving. But truthfully, I hadn’t accepted myself long before David was born.

As I held this tiny baby in my arms, it became clear to me in a clear, tangible way, that love and value doesn’t come from physical beauty. He wasn’t the adorable newborn I had imagined with bright eyes, chubby legs and a perfectly shaped head. Instead he was a tiny infant with a full head of wavy hair, a button nose and a lot of physical issues. And he was precious. He was loved.

I believed David was valuable but I didn’t believe in my own value. It made no sense. I began to realize I couldn’t teach David to love himself, if I didn’t love myself.

I needed to accept myself. I needed to accept the truth that I was lovable.

David is David. He is the only David in the whole world. He is uniquely himself and truly amazing.

And I am me. I am the only me in the whole world. I am uniquely myself and truly amazing.

And you are you. You are the only you in the whole world. You are uniquely you and truly amazing.

It’s hard to absorb those words, but it’s true. Anything else is a lie.

I believe that I am precious and valuable.

And it’s not because I had my teeth fixed.

It’s not because I found a product to tame my curls.

It’s not because I lost a few pounds.

unique amazing loved lisa leonard

Physical beauty does not equal happiness. Beauty doesn’t make someone more valuable or more worthy.

It’s David’s soul that shines through that makes him precious.

It’s my soul that’s unlike anyone’s else, that makes me ME.

It’s your soul, your spark that makes you rare and precious.

David is unique, amazing and loved, just as he is. So am I. And so are you.


  1. Beautifully said, gave me the goosebumps. I’m 41 and still find it hard to love myself, I have to remember these words when I’m not feeling great. Also would love to know what you use to tame your curls.

  2. Lisa, what an awesome post. We all feel insecure in one way or another, and you sharing your story about the birth of your son and how he taught you to love yourself is heart-warming. He has an extraordinary Mom. You are a beautiful woman in every way. I we should all encourage each other and so I share that starting with you.

  3. What Beautiful words! I am clear across the country, have never met him but I love that little David, just. how. he. is! What a wonderful family he has!

  4. Once again thank you so much for sharing your soul with us. I love to read about your life with David. We knew my grandson would be born with many physical differences and we weren’t sure what to expect. The first time I saw him with his tiny hand with three fingers, small head full of hair, recessed chin, and button nose I fell so deeply in love with him. The love you have for David shines through in every picture of the two of you. Your stories make me feel like I know you and I just want to sit and have a cup of coffee with you so I can pick your brain!

  5. I really need this message today, Lisa. The perfect day to recieve it. Thank you for sharing your heart.

  6. I just love your family and the LOVE clearly shines through with each post, picture and tender word. David is so happy and truly beautiful I love seeing your posts of him they make my heart smile. Your family is a blessing to the world and I thank you for sharing your life’s !!!?❤️

  7. This brought tears to my eyes. All of us are insecure, but the truth is…we are more precious than gold. We are enough!

  8. That’s probably one of the most beautiful and important things I’ve read in a long, long time. Bless you for sharing with us! I look forward to your stories!


  9. I love reading your stories. They make it easier to live in this crazy world. I am not attractive and struggle with weight issues my whole life. I dont believe my life holds value but I suppose maybe it does after reading this. Thank you.

    1. Of course your life holds ultimate value! If you’ve ever smiled and someone smiled back you are extremely valuable. To others, to God, and to me. You helped me tonight. The best way to get out of our own heads is by helping others. Helping can be saying hi. I’m sure you are amazing and add so much to this world! Lots of us have weight issues! Way more fun to eat! I’m learning to value myself by eating healthy, so I feel better. Not easy. You are attractive because to quote a little girl ” God don’t make no junk” and even my kids know beauty isn’t how you look! It’s how you treat others.

    2. Hi Dawn!

      Please don’t be hard on yourself. There are too many others out there who will do that for you.

      People who criticize others are the ones with the problem and flawed personality. Please love yourself and treat yourself well.

  10. Amazingly well said. I also have a son who was born with disabilities or as I like to say “different abilities”. I do not wish for him to be different or like the other kids for my sake – I love him exactly as he is. He is perfect to me. However, as you said ; I wish his life didn’t have to be so hard.

  11. You are both beautiful! I needed to hear this today. I’ve been chasing youth and beauty for to much lately, thank you, so very humbly for the reminder. God Bless!

  12. This is SO POWERFUL. Such TRUTH. ❤️ I love this post. We are all made whole by our imperfections. Imperfect is the new perfect. I am 49 and finally accepting this. ? Your path isn’t for the faint of heart, but you have obviously blossomed as a result of your experiences. Shine on!?

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