You’re eight years old today.
Man…that’s crazy…seems like only yesterday I was in the hospital waiting for you to be born.
Where did the time go? How did you grow up so fast? How did I get so many gray hairs?
If the next eight years go by as quickly as the first eight, you’ll be grabbing the car keys and driving yourself to school before I know it. And that’s just plain scary.
I guess since I’m feeling old and wondering what happened to that newborn baby I used to cuddle with, I’m eager to impart some words of wisdom. You might not care now, but maybe you’ll stumble upon these words when you’re in high school or college, and they’ll resonate with you in a meaningful way.
I’ve known nothing but joy since becoming your daddy. I mean, sure, I experienced many sleepless nights when you were a baby, moments of frustration when you were potty training, and occasional disappointment when you disobeyed me, but through it all, I am grateful to call you my daughter. You’re an incredibly smart, funny, and sweet girl, and you’ve been that way throughout great tragedy.
That’s what amazes me most about you. You never gave up on life. You never quit. You just kept going, kept smiling, kept playing, kept loving.
I’ve seen you say your first word, take your first step, ride your first bike, graduate from preschool, and start Kindergarten, but none of that compares to the time you prayed to accept Jesus into your heart or when you proclaimed your faith in front of family and friends before being baptized with water.
I’ve never been more proud of who you are in Christ.
I don’t know the plans God has for you, but I know He has one. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans for a hope and a future. The journey you’re on has not been easy so far, and I wish I could say that it’ll be a smooth ride from here on out, but I can’t make that promise. Life is hard, and the journey is filled with many ups and downs. Bad things happen to everyone, and there’s nothing we can do to prevent that.
But make sure you get this, Elizabeth, for this may be the most important thing I ever tell you:
Your circumstances do not define you. Your actions do.
If you cling to God, especially in the hard times, you will experience a peace and comfort that passes all understanding, and other people will notice. They might not understand or appreciate it, but they won’t be able to ignore it. And then you’ll have an incredible opportunity to share the love and grace of Jesus Christ.
So don’t live in fear of sorrow or tragedy, my sweet child. Those moments may hurt, they may sting, they may knock you down and make you question what God is doing, but what you do next will make all the difference.
Choose wisely, Elizabeth, and may the Lord bless you all the days of your life.