Tomorrow is your first birthday. This means nothing to you, of course, but your sisters have waited impatiently for the ‘real’ birthday with actual cake and actual presents.
We’ve spent a year celebrating milestones and ‘firsts’ and you’ve been growing all along, learning little by little: Smiles, chattering, crawling, clapping. We cheered you on all the way.
It seems like yesterday.
One day you’re a tiny bundle of baby perfection snuggled into my chest, swaddled tight in blue blankets, wearing your baby hat….
And the next day you’re all energy, zooming across our living room to chase after three sisters and two cats, almost never sitting still long enough to snuggle, ripping off hats as soon as I put them on your head and wriggling out of blankets.
Oh, we love you so.
You’ve taught this momma (who thought she’d only ever have daughters) that God loves to surprise us and that He equips us for our calling.
You’ve taught me to change diapers quickly so I don’t get peed on.
You’ve taught me that sometimes one bath a day isn’t enough…three might be necessary.
And you taught me that it’s okay to say what I need sometimes. I feel so often that I need to do everything, be everywhere….and yet, you remind me to say, “I’m at my limit. I need a rest. I need some food. I need a break.”
And just as you’re teaching me, I hope I’m teaching you even now what you really need to know in life:
Oh sure, what you probably need right now are lessons like don’t play in the litter box, don’t take your diaper off while you’re napping, and food is better when you eat it than when you wear it.
But here’s some deeper truth to tuck away for the future. You’ll need it. I promise.
Your sense of humor and your joy are a strength and a treasure. Never lose that. You have this deep, deep belly laugh that shows up in your eye s, and the tiniest things will send you into fits of giggles. You squeal in delight over toys. You explore the window, the cat, the book, the table, the tiniest specks on the floor, and the piano. This big world is a wonder. Always look wide-eyed. Don’t miss out on the joy. And laugh. Laugh often and laugh hard.
It’s okay to know what you want, but make sure you want the right things. I’ve had go-with-the-flow babies and I’ve had know-their-own-mind babies. You are the latter. It’s a strength that I love about you. Stand up for the right things even if no one else does. Be honest. Fight for justice. But if you’re going to pursue what you really want in life, make sure what you want is good and true. Be passionate about God’s Word, about truth, about the Gospel, about compassion. And know that the best things in this life aren’t just worth waiting for; they are worth working hard for. Make the sacrifices. Choose discipline. Commit your way to the Lord and walk in obedience…
Leadership begins with serving others. Our family attracts comments everywhere we go—-how you’ll be so spoiled by three older sisters. How you “don’t stand a chance.” How you’ll be “mothered to death.” My son, you are the baby in this family with three big sisters to dote on you and brag about you and treat you like the center of the universe. Know how much you are loved, but don’t be fooled into thinking this world should serve you. Instead, serve others. Be humble. Put other people first. Christ didn’t lead by demanding attention or through selfishness and abuse. He led with humble self-sacrifice and compassion. “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3 ESV).
Know beauty when you see it. I’ve spent years teaching three daughters that “Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting” (Proverbs 31:30). I tell them that true beauty is Jesus in you; it’s strength, gentleness, wisdom, discipline, honesty, kindness, and Christ-like love. They need to know how to be truly beautiful. You need to know how to see true beauty. By the time you start building up real memories of me, I’ll be about 40 years old and have birthed four children. But, dear son, may you still see beauty in me: the real kind, the kind that grows with time instead of fading. The kind that sacrifices self to pour out for others. The kind of beauty that isn’t defined by a number on a scale or the color or style of my hair, but that comes from wisdom and grace. You’ll find tons of girls who know how to do their hair, put on their makeup and choose the perfect outfit. Don’t be deceived. Don’t look for someone whose beauty peaks at 22 years old, before kids, and depends on products, expensive clothes, and hours in front of the mirror. Look for someone who will be beautiful at 40…at 60….at 80. True beauty isn’t how you look at any given moment; it’s always about who you are becoming.
And know this….
I am so deeply thankful that God chose me to be your mama. What an honor and a joy.
Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now! To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.
Copyright © 2014 Heather King