to our favorite girl on her sixteenth birthday ~
We painted your room the softest blush of lavender, one of my favorite shades of purple. It was so fun to gather adorable little outfits and dresses and fill the cabinets in your room with every soft, lovely “necessity” we could find. I’ll never forget the day your Daddy burst through the door with the biggest stuffed white bear I have ever seen! It makes me smile wide to know that (still!) one of your safe, happy places is curled up in its arms!
As my belly grew (I was HUGE!), my favorite place to rest was in the glider rocker in your room, soaking in the still quiet and beauty of a place in waiting, listening to a lullaby prayers CD while I wrote thank you notes for shower gifts or filled in pages of your baby book.
I would often pause in the midst of those happy tasks, just to sit… and dream… and pray. I couldn’t imagine what you would look like, what would make you smile, what kind of life you would live, but I couldn’t wait to meet you! If there were specific things I dreamed for you in those hours, I don’t remember them. Because, honestly, it was clear from the very beginning that your story was not ours to write!
Every detail of your story was woven into time before one day of it came to be – perfectly designed by our Heavenly Father. It is an ever expanding and delightfully surprising story. It is beauty and passion and creativity and loyalty and daring hope and bold endeavors. We love watching your days unfold!
“You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in Your book. Every moment was laid out before a single one of them came to be. How precious are Your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered.” – Psalm 139:16-17
Our greatest joy (that brings the deepest delight to the Father’s heart as well) is your love for Him. You have always had a tender heart for the Lord Jesus. One of your first words, as I pulled your Bible story & song books off the shelf at lunchtime one day was “Jesus!” with the brightest smile and gleeful little clap. You would tell us about nights when you would kneel by your window and look up into the starry sky and talk to Him.
Your love for Him and trust in Him has grown. We will always treasure the day you publicly expressed your faith in Christ as your Savior when you were baptized. We sang “Love Lifted Me” and I stood in a Hallmark store with tears brimming a few months later when I found the perfect Christmas ornament for you – a beautifully hand-painted glass butterfly (another favorite of yours!) with these words on its wings “Light to lead me, Love to lift me.”
We still have no idea where your life will lead, where you might continue your education, what jobs you might hold, if you will marry or to whom. But we know Who leads your life – the One who has a perfect plan orchestrated for each one of your days. It is beautiful and passionate and loyal and daring and grounded in hope! And we can’t wait to watch it continue to unfold!
Your story may never have been ours to write, but we are forever touched, amazed and grateful that the Lord chose us to hold you close, love you and raise you, and walk beside you as He reveals Himself and His plans to you.
We love you. We treasure the beautiful young lady you have become, the one whose eyes dance and whose heart overflows, the one who looks to the Father and follows where He leads you.
We offer our love and prayers – you can count on them always! ~ Mom and Dad xoxo
a photo of one of your favorite places, taken in October 2000, the very first time we vacationed at Massanutten, just months before we knew we were expecting our first baby, just one year before you were born
a few sweet sixteen “extras”…
* the verses I tucked inside your middle school locker with your favorite pretzel M&Ms and Hershey bars and Peppermint Patties to surprise you on the night of open house – Words I still pray for you (and for me!):
Show me the right path, O Lord; point out the road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you. – Psalm 25:4-5
* a verse and chorus from my new favorite song from Plum, “God Help Me”:
I don’t know the future
It’s one day at a time
But I know I’ll be okay with Your Hand holding mine
So take all my resistance
Oh God I need Your grace
One step and then the other
Show me the way
Help me to move
Help me to see
Help me to do whatever You ask of me
Help me to go
Or God help me to stay
I know that You’re faithful
O God, help me.
* the words to the hymn you just pointed out to me as one of your favorites, “Be Thou My Vision,” an Irish melody whose words are attributed to Dallan Forgaill:
Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art;
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night;
Waking or sleeping, Thy Presence my light.
Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.
Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine inheritance, now and always;
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.
High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.