I remember 13 years ago, being so naive and unaware of what this whole "mothering" thing was all about. Oh, I wanted to be a mother so badly. And I was full of so many ideals, but very little practical wisdom on how to be a mom.
When you came into this world, I was changed forever. Your tiny, 6lbs and 1 oz. brought a force to be reckoned with as I was almost instantly aware of love that my heart could barely contain, and an awareness that I was not nearly well enough equipped for the task ahead of me. The selfish entrapping of my heart was slowly ripped away, one feeding, one nighttime screaming session, one bath time, one bedtime story and prayer and song at a time.
Fast forward 13 years!!!! How did this happen? You yourself have heard so many people who when you were 12, would say, "Oh, just you wait until next year!" You have asked me about this, wondering why everyone seems to equate being a teenager with rebellion. You were with me when one woman, so insistent upon the trouble that lie ahead for me and the "teen years", that I answered her quiet and steady, "I am not afraid of our future."
And I'm not! Emma Faith, don't listen to them. They don't know you! They haven't watched as compassion and sympathy so deep and beautiful has blossomed in your heart.
I remember being at the County Fair one year, and as I was pushing around a double stroller, my back started bothering me. I never said anything, but I must have winced at the pain. You caught a glimpse of my face, and as we moved along, you came and put your arm around my waist. You told me, "I'll push for a while." You looked at me with such compassion and grace....far beyond your years.
You are extraordinary. You are brilliant, relational, beautiful, and your tender heart is such a treasure. I cannot take credit for any of it. Oh, I may have planted seeds, and prayed and watered, as was my privilege, but it was God who gave the growth. Every bit of the beautiful woman you are becoming is God's precious grace poured out upon me.
Oh, I know we will have difficult conversations ahead, as we have behind us. I know there will be moments when emotions get the better of one or both of us at any given moment. There will be times when we don't get along as smoothly as we normally do. But by God's grace, we will always find our way back to communicating lovingly and submitting to one another out of reference for Christ. And forgiving each other when we don't. :-)
And so, my dear. Don't listen to the world that tells you that turning 13 is entering into a world of strife and difficulty at every turn. There will be hard times ahead in this life. There will be moments where you aren't sure which way to go. There will be times when you want more freedom then we will allow. But at the end of it all, you are one of my favorite people in this entire world. I love being with you. I love your stories, your dancing and singing heart, and I love how God is at work in you. And we both have His promise that what He has begun in you, He will carry it on to completion until the day Jesus returns.
So, keep on being you. My prayer is that you would know how deeply your Father in heaven loves you, and how much your family loves you. I pray that you would never doubt that I am your biggest fan--even when we don't see things exactly the same. I pray that you would continue to dance and sing and live a life of worship before the Lord. I pray that you would continue to see the world with such compassion and sympathy. I pray blessing upon overflowing blessing upon you because that is what you are to us.
Happy 13th birthday, my beautiful teenager.
All my love,