Family Life

For My Daughter on Her Birthday


Summer 2015 004

It’s your birthday—my darling daughter! Can it really be—that you’ve been spreading your unique version of joy on this planet for five whole years?

I’ve known you for four and a half of those. But I have loved you for far longer than that. You were born in my heart many years before you were finally placed in my arms.

Somewhere, on the other side of the world, another woman also marks this day. We honor her even as we celebrate you. I imagine her heart breaks again every July 17th. How could it not? I pray she knows peace. And I send her so much gratitude because, when she gave you life, she also gave me one of the greatest gifts.

Every day, being your mom is an adventure as I discover more about who God created you to be and what He will call you to do. And every day I pray for the wisdom to raise you well—to nurture your gifts for His glory.


You’re into everything, sweet girl. Every time I turn around, you’re decorating the breakfast nook in buttons or bringing dead leaves from the backyard to pile on the kitchen floor or smearing fish food around your brother’s closet. Seriously. I have no idea how you dream up these plans and execute them as swiftly as you do. Once upon a time I thought it was a phase—a particular trait of the “terrible twos.” Truth be told, I hoped you’d grow out of it. Oh, but you haven’t. Not one bit. And, truth be told, I no longer want you to. It’s a wonderful, God-given quality—that quick and creative mind. Use it, precious girl. Use it to dream big dreams and solve difficult problems and help the rest of us see things from a different point of view.

You could talk the hind leg off a donkey, as they say. You have so much to say, and you have yet to master the intricacies of the “inside voice.” Rather, you demand to be heard. So use that voice, child. Grow it. Hone it. Don’t be silenced, daughter. Instead, speak up for yourself and for truth and for those who have no voice of their own.

You are fearless and bold. You make me nervous sometimes, the way you charge into any situation with reckless abandon. On more than one occasion, I’ve said to your dad, “We need to instill a healthy sense of fear in our girl.” But, I wonder, is that really what we ought to do? Does the world really need more fear right now? What it certainly needs is more faith. It needs more courage and trust, and you have both in spades.

You are stubborn. Some might call it “strong willed.” When you want something, you have a hard time hearing “no.” And while we will continue to remind you that “no” is sometimes necessary, we will also try to teach you to use your great determination to make a difference. Believe that change is possible. And hang in there, baby, until it happens.

You laugh loudly and love fiercely. Every evening when I lean in for that last good-night kiss, you throw your arms around my neck and squeeze with all of your might. We giggle as I wiggle and try to pry myself loose to let you sleep, but secretly I never want you to let go.

I’m blessed beyond belief to ride this raucous rotating globe right by your side, little girl. You ride every day with hands held high in the air, marveling at the view and enjoying the wind in your face. I have so much to learn from you.

Happy birthday, A!

Love, Mom

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