I remember the day I turned 10 years old.
I stood in the kitchen next to the fridge, still in my pajamas. My eyes blinked away sleep and my hair was a mess, and I ran my hands down the sides of my PJ’s to smooth them out.
My dad said, “Did you expect to look or feel different today?”
That shook me awake.
I hadn’t really been thinking anything. I just stood in the moment without being all philosophical or deep.
But I guess it looked like I was examining my progress in life. Had I grown overnight? Changed? Matured?
Was I a different person today than I was when I stood in that same kitchen yesterday and chose between cereal, oatmeal and a Pop Tart?
Of course, growth doesn’t happen all in one night. One magic 8-hour stretch of sleep doesn’t change who you are or what you look like.
But this year, all year, our family and friends have looked at you and then shaken their heads in wonder at me.
“I can’t believe it….”
That’s what they say.
They don’t even have to finish the thought. I know what they mean. We think of you as a baby still and yet there you are standing so tall and thin, that long blond hair waving down your shoulders.
You may be growing up, but there are still little wisdom-pearls this momma wants to give you. Now that you are days away from your tenth birthday, here’s what I want you to know:
You are loved
We sat around that table last month and you girls asked me the same questions we’ve been over time and time again. “What was I like as a baby, mom?” “What did I do?” “What was my first word?”
I told the stories again–How you were so strong, Victoria. Even in the hospital you held your head up that first day as if you were 4 months old, and doctors and nurses marveled at you.
Then I said how you cried and cried and you would scream it all out and fight for what you wanted.
But it turns out that story I was telling hurt your heart. You felt like I was picking at you, like your sisters were better babies or somehow this was a competition of performance and you hadn’t measured up.
Beloved girl, never forget that you are loved.
This world will scream lies at you. Sometimes your own feelings will bully you.
Hold on to the truth: No matter what, you are totally and thoroughly loved by us and by God. We adore you and we always have.
Even before I ever laid eyes on your beautiful face and you gripped my fingers with super-baby-strength, I loved you completely.
Own your own faith
That day you cried about my ‘baby stories,’ I told you to hold on to your testimony. We saw that change in you. It was this dramatic turning.
Yes, you worked us hard as new parents. But that moment you prayed for Jesus to be your Savior, your heart turned over. All your strength, determination and focus transformed with salvation into solid rock faith.
You stand up for what is right. You set your heart and mind on things above.
You pour your heart and mind and soul into everything you do, working harder, harder, harder than those around you. You set goals and you push at them without giving up.
Keep at it, my girl. In life, yes. In faith all the more.
You’re going to step out into the big wide world and find that people don’t believe what you believe. People don’t obey God. The world is broken and wrecked with sin.
You may be mocked, ostracized, tempted.
Do not forget your testimony. You are a Jesus-girl and the older you get, the more that faith needs to be yours apart from your dad and me.
Don’t just listen to me read the Bible—-read it. Don’t let me pray for you—-pray. Don’t watch me worship—–worship. In the end, it’s got to be between you and God.
Now is the time to pick up your faith in your own two hands.
We are in this together
Maybe sometimes during the next few years, it’ll feel like no one understands.
Maybe you’ll feel alone. Maybe it’ll seem like the world is against you. Maybe your dad and I will appear harsh or stern or out of touch. Maybe you’ll look at us and wish you were allowed to roll your eyes because these parents of yours are loony or even mean. Maybe you’ll feel embarrassed to ask or start those tough conversations with me.
But, baby girl, we are in this together.
You and me, girlfriend.
I am never your enemy. I am not against you. I am for you. Always.
And this space between us is a safe and honest space. You can tell me. You can ask me. You can sob it all out even when it’s ugly crying.
No one is gonna celebrate you, pray for you, love on you, or have your back more than your dad and I do.
Sweet girl, there is so much more I want to say, but really—doesn’t it all come down to that? Always remember, you are loved.
We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them (1 John 4:16 NLT)
The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing (Zephaniah 3:17)
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