Friday, October 19, 2012

To Jaycie on your 7th Birthday


My Dearest Jaycie,

While not a one has been given to you as of yet, we’ve been writing letters to you every year for your birthday. One day, when we think the time is right and believe they might truly be appreciated, they will be our gift to you. Here I sit, a couple of days after your 7th birthday, wondering what I want to say to you this year. In an effort to move my heart and quiet my mind, your birthday video of this past year plays in the background. I pulled out the scrapbook of your birth story to reminisce. Honestly, it’s a little overwhelming. Life just doesn’t stop. All my good intentions of documenting your story didn’t meet up with the days that keep passing by all too quickly. Here you are, a 1st grader, and I want so desperately to press the pause button… just for a minute. Don’t get me wrong: I’m so grateful that you are a healthy, growing girl. As you’ve reminded me many times, God created you to grow up. It’s just hard to watch sometimes. I simply want the opportunity to process it all.

I am in awe of how much you have changed in this seventh year of your life. There was a confidence that brimmed with your Kindergarten graduation setting the stage for your summer. While you have always enjoyed hours and hours in your cousins’ pool, this year you braved fluttering your feet to carry you from one side of the shallow end to the other. You experienced the exhilarating joy of jumping in unassisted. And while you were always within arm’s reach of the wall, you explored new territory of the deep end as well.

The tooth fairy came to visit you for the first time the same week that you learned to ride your bike without training wheels. You were ecstatic to start first grade at Eisenhower Academy with your big-5th-grade-sister to show you the ropes. And yet, only two weeks in to the school year, the separation, day-in-and-day-out commitments, as well as lack of sleep and time alone began to weigh on you. It took some time and a lot of prayer, but you managed to get on the bus one again with silly faces instead of tears and outstretched arms begging to stay with mom.

There are times your insecurity overwhelms me and then in the next breath, your independence leaves my mind reeling. This has been life with you. You want us there on your demand one moment and in the next we can find you tucked away by yourself using your imagination with your toys. Whether you are constructing with Legos, playing creatively with Barbies (or dolls), or organizing your space to sit and draw (or read), it’s that quiet time which revives your soul.

While you need that time alone, one-on-one moments are priceless with you. These are the instants where you are willing to share your heart. I attempt to collect every thought that seems so difficult to extract from your brain at other times. These occasions are rare and I will want to sort through them later entwined with my own processing emotions.

The other day, in one of these glimpses into your soul, you were attempting to share the lyrics to a song we sang at church. I simply couldn’t identify the music. This morning we pinpointed it and I am grateful. My heart swells when my ears catch you or your sisters singing praise to our God. The fact that you chose the song, “Your Love Never Fails” by Jesus Culture to meditate on is perfect. The lyrics, “You stay the same through the ages, your love never changes. There may be pain in the night, but joy comes in the morning. And when the oceans rage, I don’t have to be afraid. Because I know that you love me, your love never fails” is truth I want to sink into your soul.

That’s how you will overcome your timidity, JayJay. I know we just had a conversation about why we go to AWANA. While I explained that we memorize God’s Word to keep us from sinning against Him, it’s also because meditating on His Truth will provide you with the ever-necessary confidence you need to live this life.

It boggles my mind that you are the daughter people choose to direct their hellos and conversations to. Odds are that they’d get a response from your older or younger sister… but they speak directly to you: the only one wishing they would just go away. It nearly knocked me to the ground the day you responded with words to your past teachers when they inquired as to your new school experience. This is so opposite the usual divert-your-eyes-to-the-floor and close-the-distance-with-mom move I’m so used to. So I find myself hoping you are now more certain of yourself… only to be caught off guard by the difficulty of separation that presents itself unexpectedly once again.

I love that you want to be with me, Jay. I really do. And yet I know God created you for more. He created you for relationship with Him as well as with others. I want you to know the security you have in His love. He is with you everywhere, all the time. My hope is that this assurance will sink into your soul and you will be able to share the beauty of who God made you to be with others who are missing out. It breaks my heart that there are only a select few able to experience the real you. I want others to laugh in response to your silly antics. Your inquisitiveness can be a benefit to others as well. My prayer is that your need for explanation will drive you into God’s Word. His Truth reveals the best plan for your life. I want you to discover all that God has for you and make a difference in this world for Him with what you find.

I just read Daddy’s letter to you. While it will be tucked away for the future (for your eyes only; unbroadcasted like mine), the verse he chose is perfect for you. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)

While it’s my flawed attempt of displaying God’s unfailing love…

I love you unconditionally, the best I can,

Mommy

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