Gilly-Bean's Sweet 16

For you, sweet Thing 3, on your 16th birthday.  Every time I sit down to write one of these birthday letters nostalgia sneaks in and my mind begins to travel back to you as a toddler, you as a baby, in elementary school.  You resting your head on my shoulder and just wanting to be rocked, late into the night until you finally would give in and close your eyes.  Your little hands around my neck.  All the times you wore your swim vest in Poppi and Nani's pool, riding your tricycle around the patio, picking tomatoes straight from the garden and popping them into your mouth, standing on a chair next to me in the kitchen.  Then suddenly I'm jolted back to the now and you no longer need a chair, in fact you tower over me.  Yet you still do like those snuggles.  Now, we snuggle while watching Hallmark movies or reading our books, perusing cookbooks and scouring the internet for the next best recipe to attempt.  

 Life has been full of change and newness this last year.  A move and leaving behind friends and the known has had it's challenges.  I've watched you embrace the new.  Slowly, at your own discerning pace.  Just like always.  Never jumping right in but surveying it all and then deciding.  Or sometimes not.  I pray for fearless decision making in the coming year of 16.  I pray for Holy Spirit revelation, divine appointments and God surprises when you least expect them.  I pray for levity and more laughter than you know what to do with.  I pray for you and for your dreams to be realized.  I pray for favor.  I pray for your heart, your mind and your soul.  I pray you are confident in who you are in Christ.  I pray you know you are "fearfully and wonderfully made"; Loved by a Creator infinitely more than humanly possible.  I pray for boldness.  I pray for your servant's heart.  I pray for peace that transcends understanding and a closeness in your walk with Jesus that you haven't experienced before.  

When I look back at the your year of 15 there are so many memories.  Adventures in the kitchen, a chocolate cooking class, new horse stable and instructor, homeschooling, seeing Mamma Mia, hunting down the best donuts in whatever city we've traveled to, beginning a new job, supporting your siblings, traveling on your first missions trip for 7 weeks.  I mean, really, there is so, so much.  The friends made, the lessons learned.  Each year is a gift and 15 has been good.  Here's to 16 and all the promise it holds.  Be present.  Soak it all in and live with abandon for Jesus.  Which really means, stay close to Him.  Choose to walk with Him daily.  Read His word.  Remember to have HOPE.  And confidently know you are His above all.  You will make mistakes.  Please do.  Learn from them and grow.  There is always grace.  Always.  

My girl, I love you so very much.  It is nothing short of heavenly privilege to be your Mama.  Thank you for being you, no matter what, even when it isn't easy.  You are a precious gift.   

Much love,

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