A 19th Birthday Letter

For my eldest daughter on your 19th birthday,

Where do I begin?  It is your first birthday not celebrated in our home.  The first time I've woken up on February 1st and you were not here for me to sing to.  Strange, this becoming a Mama of adult children.  Watching my heart beat outside of my body and witnessing your journey into adulthood.  To say I am proud would be an understatement.  For me to simply say that seeing the work God has done over this past year of 18 to be remarkable just doesn't seem sufficient. What I'm really trying to say here is that you, my sweet girl, are the gift.  A daughter of the King and to think that He chose me to be your Mama.  That in and of itself makes me want to pinch my skin in disbelief.  So happy 19th birthday to you.  Shall we recap your 18th year a bit?  Yes, well alright then.  Here we go.  

You turned 18.  Then you graduated from high school.  Before that though, you made honor roll for the first time ever in your high school career.  You worked with a personal trainer to become a healthier version of yourself.  You were a para for a sweet girl with some special needs.  She and you became fast friends.  When I would see you two together her adoration was quite clear.  I think it was mutual.  You traveled to Israel with your Dad.  Shared in experiences of our faith and saw things anew.  You returned a bit different.  Changed, scarred, in the best way.  You said goodbye to many of your friends.  Celebrated them all.  Dealt with changes.  And then you left for Seattle.  Kairos.  The discipleship program that you enrolled in for your gap year.  So much new.  New people, new places, a new family to live with, new teachers, new experiences, new goals and new expectations.  Like I said, so much new.  And through it all I've watched the girl that didn't like change adapt and grow and thrive and press in like never before.  

Thing 1 you are stronger than you think.  More beautiful than you know.  Loyal like none other.  Steadfast and honest above all else.  You feel deeper and think logically than most.  I won't say don't change, because that is inevitable.  What I will say is keep on keepin' on.  Trusting the Lord with all your heart, reading, learning, loving and taking those risks.  Continue serving everyone, everywhere.  Smile.  Find joy in the little things.  Be committed to what stirs your soul and causes tears to flow.  Don't lose your passion.  Ever.  Admit when you're wrong.  Give grace always.  Be you, no one else can do it quite like you can.  

I wait with anticipation to see where this year of 19 takes you.  I'll be praying along the way.  Not for boundaries and safety but for the unknown.  For you to have courage and be bold.  For relationships unexpected and for doors to open and close.  I'll be praying that you know how much you are loved.  My sunshine girl, I wish you a happy birthday!  Much love is being sent your way, today and always.  

xo, Mama

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