What happened, honey?
Was it when you ranked number 13 on Forbes’ 2010 Celebrity 100?
Or perhaps long before that? Perhaps it was the thousands of girls that flocked to your concerts when you were Hannah Montana, and the boys who suddenly saw you up there, on stage, and you liked being seen.
You’ve sold millions of albums, had nine Top 10 hits, and were named The Most Charted Teenager by the Guiness Book of World Records.
Disney raised you, MTV is selling you, Dolly Parton is your godmother and your father is Billy Ray.
I remember when you still loved Jesus, and your name was Destiny Hope. You grew up in a Christian home, were baptized in a Southern Baptist church, and even wore a purity ring. Your nickname was Smiley and Miley stuck but the smiles have faded, and when did it happen, sweetheart?
You’ve got a stage, darling, a stage and an audience, and you’ve got a chance to make a big difference Miley, to let your smiles light up the world. To dig deep and find the pulse that makes you live, to find the pulse-maker, to re-discover joy.
Our daughters need you to go home, Miley. To find that girl again, the one who went to church and sang in the choir and prayed at bedtime.
Our daughters need you to put down the facade and use your millions to feed starving countries and sing from the mic about what it means to be a strong woman who loves to serve, who bares her soul instead of her skin.
I ache for that little girl who thought she had to sell out just to sell albums.
I wish you knew, Miley, that you are more than your body, more than your sold-out concerts, more than your boyfriends and parties and brand-name wardrobe. I know it’s hard to see it right now, but your destiny has nothing to do with you and everything to do with the One who made you–a Creator who has great plans for you Miley, who gave you your voice and your gifts.
I wish you knew, Miley, how loved you are–not for the person you play on TV or on movies or on stage, but for the person you are when no one is looking.
You can make a difference, Miley. It’s not too late. You’re young. Be the woman you’d look up to. Be the integrity that Hollywood lacks.
Be the girl who lives for more than the next five minutes.
I believe in you, Destiny Hope, and I am truly praying for you.
(Friends, I don’t know Miley personally. All I know is what I’ve read of her the past 10 years—I did, however, do a centrespread piece on her 10 years ago, and her father Billy Ray, as the associate editor of a non-profit newspaper, and I’ve watched her change since then and have seen the light leave from her face and her life. I’m hoping through this letter to challenge her to seek help and to find hope again, because she has so many people’s daughters looking up to her.)