Dear Daughter, Tomorrow You Graduate

Tomorrow marks the day you graduate into adulthood. But lying in the hospital with you in my arms seems like only yesterday. You cried so loud, a ripple of fear went through my veins. Would I be able to calm you? Make you feel safe, loved, cared for?

I was only a young girl myself really. Twenty-three isn’t much older than you are today. But I was just a girl. With a baby. With dreams for you. 

To be happy. To be kind. Generous. Sweet. 

You’re all those things.

Be brave. Be strong. Be a leader.

You are all those things.

Watching you grow, I never felt you’d actually become an adult. But your long cotton top hair than hung to your tailbone was cut.

It turned into a dirty blond bob. 

You lost your baby teeth. Mostly you tore them out for cash. *See be brave. Be strong.

Slowly, you developed into an adolescent. You wanted freedom and your room changed from sweet pink and mint green into a “big girl” room. 

Then you were a teenager… starting high school. We walked together. Made mistakes together. Lost our cool…together. Figure it out…together.

Slowly…surely…you needed me less. You were sprouting wings. It pained me. It made me proud. 

You’re beautiful. Inside. Out. 

I treasured our nights laughing and talking about life, relationships…your crazy antics at school. 

I admire your tenacity. I respect your outspoken personality.

I secretly wish I’d been more like you instead of like me.

Time hasn’t been slow. It’s been a blink. You fit on a couch cushion once.

Now you have to find your fit in the world. It’ll feel small at first. But do not despise the day of small beginnings, my love. 

Small starts, if respected, result in big finishes. 

I want that for you. A big finish. I want to stand in glory beside you one day and watch as Jesus fills your crown with jewel after jewel. More than I could ever have received. I want you to have fulfilled all your purpose. I want you to know that you can achieve your dreams, hand in hand with God. I hope you see me and know this truth. Bailey's Photo

I want a line so long of people to surprise you in heaven with how much you’ve sowed into their lives.  You’ve sowed into mine. 

You, darling, are my treasure. But I can’t keep you in a treasure chest for myself. I have to give you to the world and trust that I’ve done good enough but whether I have or not, you’ll make choices that will disappoint me. You’ll have to learn so many things the hard way and I won’t be able to make them all go away.

You’re leaving here. This will never be your house again, not like it was once before.

Your room will feel so empty without your larger than life presence. I’ll miss your voice calling our names. I’ll ache for late nights in your bed when we watch TV and giggle.

But you’re always in my heart. Always in my prayers. A phone call away. Not a terribly far drive.

Go and fly, darling girl. Go and be all that God wants for you. All I want for you.  Never forget who you are, to Whom you belong.

I want you to soar. To be happy. To be content. 

I want you to study hard. Remember it’s a calling. 

I want you to fall in love with a man like your daddy–who will love you and treasure you. He’ll cherish and honor you. And spoil you like a rotten brat! A man who loves Jesus and imitates Him and His love for you.

 I love you. I support you. 

I’m your biggest fan.

I always have been (and Daddy too). We always will be.

 I’m going to cry a lot without you here. But I have strong shoulders to cry on. Remember, you do too. 

With all my love,







What an Imperfect Mom Has to Say to Her Daughter

I’d been happy. I’d been blessed. But I’d never felt the
kind of joy I felt when I found out I was having you.

A rough little babe, sick and crying often, it hurt my heart
not to be able to make the pain go away. But you grew into the sweetest little
cherub, with rosy cheeks and golden hair that bounced with curls.
You loved Barney, My Dog Skip, Mary Poppins and the
horrible, awful, Teletubbies but we bought you every single one.
I knew there was something extraordinary about you. Something
special that God had breathed into your soul. I remember walking into your
bedroom late at night, you were only about three.
“Mama, there’s a little girl in the jungle. She’s so sad
because she lost her mommy and daddy and she lives with her grandma. And now
her grandma is sick. God said I should pray for this little girl. Will you pray
with me?”
With tears, I knelt beside your bed as you prayed for this
little girl not to be scared and for God to take good care of her. I believe He
When you were four, we ate at Lambert’s and the paramedics
came in. A man was having a heart attack, but you didn’t know that. You only
said, “Mama, we should pray for him.” And you got up from the table. Your
boldness and courage inspired and convicted me.

You speak your mind. You are wise beyond your years. It
never ceases to amaze me. While, I’m not unaware of your flaws and
imperfections—as we are not perfect people—I marvel at the good choices you
make. I thank God every day that you are not like your mama at that age. And I
know it must only be the grace of God as I am an imperfect mama.
I’m not the mom who throws elaborate parties or creates
homemade goods. I never monogrammed a single dress you wore, or designed your
room like a magazine. I wasn’t your room-mom or even crafty. I am still
not. I never read a book on parenting. I make mistakes and you always show me grace and forgiveness.
And I love you. Hopelessly, wildly, desperately. Love you.
I love our open and honest relationship. I love that you
want to hang out in my room, on my bed, watching old movies and talking about
boys and the drama at school. I love that you feel able to ask me questions
about anything, and I am always honest and I never judge. And you never judge me. I love that you want “girl” nights/times/days. Not for what I can buy you but because you love spending time with me. I love that we laugh until you puke and I pee my pants. And then we laugh over that. We laugh and make jokes and even go to self defense classes together! I love our whispers late at night. I love sittin in the back of the van with the hatch open, looking at the stars and getting eaten by mosquitos while we talk about boys, God, our dreams and hopes. Our fears. And how ridiculous boy bands are. I have loved taking you to see the Cheetah Girls, and Justin Beiber back when he was actually cool. I love that I can make fun of you for it now. And you make fun of my Vampire Diaries obsession. 

I love going to the Mexican restaurant with you and spilling salsa. I love letting you know which guys are scoping you out (pretty much all of them). I love it when you tell me what dirty old men are scoping me out. Eeeew! I love laughing in the grocery store until we’re almost kicked out. 
I love keeping you up at night with my horribly bad jokes that amuse me. I love that you don’t repeat them! I love that you secretly record me because you think I’m funny. Or stupid. Either way…
I love being your mom. I love being your friend. I love being
your best friend. I love everything about you, and I would never change a
single thing.
I love the way you fight for others, when you feel they have
no voice, you are their voice. While I don’t always agree with your methods, I
love that you feel compelled to fight and defend. You express your mind and you
can articulate it in a clear and concise manner. You’re responsible. You’re a
leader. You’re a world changer. You’re called and designed for a purpose that
only you can fulfill.
You are the head and not the tail.
You are loved unconditionally.
You are free.
You are lovely.
You are more than a conqueror.
You are able to do anything and everything through Christ,
who is your beloved.
You are blessed with every spiritual blessing.
You are a joint heir to Christ.
You are holy unto God.
You are His treasure.
You are His dove.
You are strong.
You are courageous.
You are able.
You are a soldier. A fighter.
You are hands.
You are feet.
You are a mouthpiece.
You are a runner.

And you, my precious one—whose name means in charge and able—are
mine, too.
My heart is full. Because of you.
I am blessed to be called your mother. And your friend.

Happy 16th Birthday, daughter!