Sorry not sorry for that title.

Well my girl.  You have turned 22.  I can’t help but think back to this time last year when you literally filled my entire day and thought life because you were fighting for your life to get out of the chaos cycle you were in.  But look at you now!  You have your own house.  You have your dream job.  Your baby is the delight of the world.  And you are walking out your faith in a way that has blown us all away.  I just can’t get over you.  Through this transition of you moving out and spreading your wings I have so often wanted to go pick you both up and bring you back to the safety of our house.  When you were living here it felt like I had better control of what you were doing and how you were doing it.  But God has taught me something, my girl.  He has taught me that He is in control of you, and He is doing a better job than I could ever do.  He has blessed me by showing me that you are His and He will never leave you or forsake you.  He has shown me that He is teaching you how to follow Him in your own special way.  And He has given me precious examples of this work to witness for myself so that when I lay awake at night worrying about you (and Brock and Syd) I can call them to mind as proof that He is in control of you.  So, for your birthday blog post I would like to give you a list of these things so you can be convinced too. 

1.  You show up to church and have your own friends to sit with.  At first I didn’t like this but then God taught me that you have to have peers at church because these are the people that you will walk through life with.  These people are the ones who call you out if lose your way.  I am thankful you have them.

2.  Voice texting.  I love when I hear your voice over a voice text in the morning.  Instantly I can tell how you are and hear your laugh.  I love nothing more than to see a voice text pop up from you.  It is solace for me in the morning when I am thinking about you getting to work safely. 

3.  Family dinner.  You don’t have to.  You don’t owe us anything.  But you show up to family dinner.  That is God’s kindness to me because I am only at ease when I can put my eyes on you and see how you are. 

4.  Video’s from Selah Creek where you talk about your time here.  I get so worried that we were too hard on you.  But when I see that you feel like you are better for it, I am thankful to God for guiding us all through that time. 

5.  Jesus first.  I love how I have heard you tell people that Jesus is your number 1.  When I hear you declare that I know that you really have a relationship with Him. 

6.  Commitment to Kohen.  The way you day in and day out take care of your son makes me believe you are committed to carving out a life for the two of you that reflects the Lord. 

7.  The way you love your people is beautiful and reminds me that you have soft heart.

8.  I love that you are trying to honor God with how you manage your money.  I also love that you know I am watching you so when you have something new you always say, “I didn’t us my savings and I got these at a thrift store.” 

9.  I love that you still call me when you are sad or have been hurt.  It makes me believe that I have convinced you to reach out when you are hurt instead of running away.

10.  You have a tender heart.  You don’t want anyone to be upset or hurt. 

11.  You never turn down a book I give you.  Even if you don’t read them you keep them for a later day.  I love this because then I know that they are in your house somewhere and when you need it, you will remember you have it. 

12.  When I give you advice…..I realize most of the time it’s unsolicited and you are just telling me what is going on, get off my back I am working on it ok?…….you listen to me.  This never ceases to amaze me.  It has to be God because generally I am telling you to do something really hard, but you do it. 

13.  Every statistic, all the circumstances, all the hard conversations point to the fact that you should tell us to “Stay out of my life, I am going to do what I want to do!”  But you keep proving all those things wrong.  It is a miracle I get to watch over and over and over. 

14.  I have watched God open doors for you that I did not think were possible. 

15.  I love that you refer to your room here at the house, as “Your room.”  It reminds me that some part of this house felt like home to you.  I am grateful. 

16.  Baby talk.  When you had Kohen, there was no baby talk in you.  I think this was because the world had crushed you and all your dreams were broken.  But now, when I see you goo-goo at him and tickle him and make him laugh it is proof that you are filled with Joy. 

17.  *No Spoilers*  God is proving to me that He is redeeming the place guys have in your life. 

18.  *No Spoilers*  I love to see that you can like a guy but be patient and let God work it out instead of force it to happen.  It reminds me that God is proving to you that you are loved and you don’t need the wrong kind of attention from guys to fill a longing in your heart.  Plus, God is using your D-group Leaders, Christy and Anna, to teach you what a godly relationship looks like.  This is God’s protection for any dudes that come in your life because we all know that if you allow yourself to get used again, or if a guy tries to take something from you again, I will go to jail for murdering you or him, or both.  Love ya!

19.  Your apartment.  God used the way that you threw yourself in to putting your home together to show me that you really wanted a calm and peaceful life for yourself and Kohen. 

20.  Integrity.  I told you that this was my most favorite thing God was working out in you when we were at your Selah Creek Graduation.  The fact that God taught you to walk in integrity is what I cling to girl because I know the world taught you how to be a good liar.  But I also know that God gave me a “Spidey Sense” when you are lying.  AND I know my “Spidey Sense” has not gone off for a long time. 

21.  You still look at the “Family Calendar.”  You could have unsubscribed when you moved out, but you didn’t.  This proves to me that God connected you to us, just as much as He connected us to you. 

22.  When people ask me how many kids I have, my gut reaction is to say 3.  I mean no disrespect to your real parents.  But what it proves to me is that God himself carved a place out in my heart for you.  And if God made that place, I know it will always be there for you, no matter where you go.  And I have a cold dead heart, so that is saying something. 

I hope you have a wonderful Birthday.  I feel kind of bad for telling you to not come over tonight because Kohen was maybe sick on Monday.  I just am so afraid of that stomach bug you gave me last time.  Forgive me for not trusting the Lord in that area of my life.  Give me a break, He is working on me too.  I can’t wait to see you tomorrow night though, as long as you have been symptom free for 24 hours.  Seriously though, I love you more than you can possibly know.  You are such a gift to us.  Thank you for the way you keep showing up and honoring God.  Happy Birthday. 

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