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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

A Letter to My Daughter on Her First Birthday

Dear L,

I'm writing this because you're a year old now and I want you to know all the things I have treasured up and pondered in my heart. The Bible says that while all of creation rejoiced at Jesus' birth, his mother, Mary, quietly sat by, watched, and "treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart," (Luke 2:19). While I can't fathom what it must have been like to be Jesus' mother, I can tell you that I know a little bit about what was going through Mary's mind.

First of all - absolute, overwhelming, indescribable love. I've talked about this at length with your Daddy, because he is the only person I love more, and he is the only other person on this planet that loves you as much as I do. But it's a different kind of love. I love your Daddy for a million reasons that I have learned over the years that I've known him, and I'm still discovering more every day. I'm sure you'll love him for a lot of the same reasons. But the love I have for you...well, it's been absolute and unconditional since the day the doctor called and said, "Congratulations - you're pregnant!" Before I saw your beautiful face, before you took your first breath, before I snuggled you close and kissed your precious cheeks...I loved you completely. I still love you, and even more so every day.

The fact that I love you so much introduces a new level of vulnerability that is both frightening and exhilarating. I have to fight the urge to panic over every sniffle and bump, and I know that as you grow my urge to protect you will grow too. We live in an imperfect, fallen, cruel world. But the more rational side of me, with a little help from your Daddy, knows that sometimes you have to stumble or fail in order to learn boundaries. I watched you take your first steps knowing that it was a tremendously wonderful development, but one that would start a slow decline in your dependence on me. You're already so independent, and for the most part I celebrate your spunky little spirit! But in the back of my mind, I fear it too because I know that try as I might, I can't always be there to protect you.

That leads me to God. They say that every parent has dreams for their child; dreams of a richer life, an exciting talent, higher education, a successful career, a fairytale wedding, a big family, and a long life. All of those things are great, and I certainly hope you're able to have plenty of wonderful experiences. But my dreams for you are so much bigger yet so much simpler than that. The first one is this:
Listen, daughter, and pay careful attention:
Forget your people and your father's house.
Let the King be enthralled by your beauty;
honor Him, for He is your Lord.
(Psalm 45:10-11; emphasis added)

I want you to fall madly in love with Jesus and live to honor Him. The world and the devil will tell you so many different things, and sometimes it will be confusing, scary, or discouraging. But I hope that you will be able to live your life confident in your beauty and worth as a woman of God. For as much as I love you, He loves you infinitely more and He can protect you. He is enthralled by your beauty. I hope that you will know this deep down in your heart. Let it define you and the choices you make, don't let the world deceive or discourage you. On that note, the other part of my dream is this:

She is clothed with strength and dignity, 
and she laughs without fear of the future. (Proverbs 31:25)

My prayer for you, sweet L, is that you grow into a strong, honorable woman of God whose faith allows her to laugh "without fear of the future." I know you won't be perfect, and I know you'll have struggles and sorrows. But more than anything else in this world, I pray that during those times (and in between them too), you will cling to God's grace and love. He has such amazing plans for you, sweetheart, so much more incredible than I could even dream. That's why I'm leaving the real dreaming to Him. My only dream, truly the desperate prayer of my heart, is that you come to know the redeeming, fulfilling, perfect love of Christ. 

For this reason I kneel before the Father...I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord's holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge - that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:14, 16-19)

Never, ever doubt that God, your Daddy, and I love you. Happy (belated) birthday sweetheart.

Love you forever and always,

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