My daughter turns two years old tomorrow (June 25). And there’s some things I want to tell her on this day to celebrate her life. Feel free to listen in.
My darling girl,
I never could have imagined what this year would hold for us. We moved across the country just after your first birthday. You learned to walk in a new place. You said your first words in this new home. I had my first hug from you here. But in the midst of so much change and transition and so much Hard for me, that I’m sure you won’t remember, Jesus gave us YOU.
I didn’t think I was ready to be a mom at the time when he gave you to us, so early into our marriage. But I’m so very glad to be wrong.
I’m undone by the grace of you, my sweet girl child. You bring a song of joy wherever you go, just by being you. You are the gift I didn’t know I wanted. I think of my trembling heart, my tears of fear and grief over lost dreams as my pregnancy with you became real. Yet how could I have imaged what the Lord was doing?
Psalm 30: 5 has a special place in my heart, as the Lord gave me that promise of weeping not lasting, but joy coming with the morning, only hours before your Dad asked me to be his girlfriend. I’m reminded of it again as I see it in your story too, the daughter Jesus gave us. You are the joy that came with the morning for me. Even writing those words, “daughter” is something I scarcely believe. It is more wonderful and beautiful than I could have imagined; a story only Jesus could have told.
I hear other stories of people’s babies, 3 babies in 3 years or twins that don’t sleep, and I bully myself into thinking that this should be our story. I should have that kind of Hard or those kind of things. I believe the lie that my story should look like someone else’s, and that I have something to prove, something to earn. I start comparing and forget to trust Jesus with the story he’s given me. He offers me no shame, just grace from being your mommy. I don’t want to miss the grace in this slower season to enjoy the gifts that come from being with YOU. And Jesus has given so many gifts.
There are pudgy hands around my neck, giving me smash-face hugs.
There are giggles on the bed that reach all the way to my heart.
There are kisses on my back as I kneel down for tupperware.
There are swinging legs as we sit close eating bananas.
There is a sweet little voice, saying, “uppie, uppie” with arms stretched out to me to be held.
There are dance parties before bed with some of the best moves around.
There are “come” hands to ensure that we are all together, and big smiles when we are.
There are chocolate chips on the counter for my favorite baking helper.
There are empathetic fake cries for other babies’ tears.
There are eager hands turning the pages of our books as we read together.
There are simple adventures of opening the door to the mailbox and taking out the recycling.
There are open mouthed faces that surprised me with laughter in the moments when my heart would break from missing and heartache.
Even now, my face is flooded with tears, remembering the Holy Spirit whisper to my heart, “This is for you, daughter. I see you.”
You are evidence of Jesus’ grace in my life, expanding my heart in ways that I didn’t know were even possible. He uses you again and again to remind me that I am loved. And I think that I am more ME because of you, because of Jesus in you.
I want to be like you, tender and quick to be sorry when I do wrong.
I want to delight as you do, celebrating airplanes overhead and dogs eating their food and chocolate in my mouth.
I want to show my love without thought or concern what others will think.
I want to be on the hunt for goodness, eager to discover the grace of being alive.
I can’t believe I get this fabulous, front-row seat to your becoming. And I think, it might be my becoming too, as Jesus uses you to teach me what it means to be seen and loved. As my heart feels about to burst with love for you when you are kind, Jesus says, “this is how I feel about you.” As I do my best to be consistent and teach you, Jesus says, “I love you like this.” You are grace, straight from Jesus.
I love you, precious girl.
Happy, happy birthday.