18. {A Look Back}

Sweet little 8 lb. girl, born March 11, 1996, you have no idea, but you’re already so loved.
P.S. You look like a gnarly rollie pollie.

With that great big smile and that full head of hair, they’ll call you the eskimo baby.
In your early years, whenever your parents take you out, people will ask what country you were adopted from. 

Your parents will try to convince you later on in life that you actually were adopted. You weren’t.

Sweet little girl with those big brown eyes, you’re going to grow up so fast. This year you’ll be a big sister to a sweet baby brother, and he’s going to fill your life with so much joy.
Get used to those bangs, they’re going to be around for a while. 
Spring will come again, and with that, you’ll be four. You’ll swing on the big swing in the backyard.
One day you’ll play on that swing set with your sister, and she will run inside with a splinter. You’ll stay perched on your swing, carelessly staring into the clouds as the autumn wind blows through your curly locks. Your glassy-eyed gaze will be broken by the shrieking of panic-stricken parents as they call for your little brother. He’s not going to answer. The sweet boy you were sliding with moments before will have wandered into the swimming pool just yards away. In a matter of minutes, the sounds of sirens, helicopters, and dozens of swarming people will fill your home. You’ll be whisked away to your bedroom. Your brother will be with Jesus.
Night after night, you’ll sneak out of your bed into the room with the red fire trucks on the wall. Standing on your tippy toes, you’ll peer over the edge of the crib, but each time you’ll find it empty.
In the coming weeks, you’ll start to understand the meaning of death. You’ll realize that he’s not coming back, no matter how many times you call his name from your bottom bunk. You’ll have your first memorable feelings of heartache in the dead of night as your mind replays the tragic events of that terrible day in September.
Oh, how your heart will ache, dear child. You’ll blame yourself. You’ll blame God. Your mind will race with would-haves and should-haves.

You don’t know it yet, but God has a plan for that pain.

You’ll turn 5…
 Then you’ll turn 6…and life will slowly resume to a new sense of normal.

That necklace with the ballerinas will be your most favorite 6th birthday gift. You’ll twirl around the house in it all day long, showing off your latest skill of blowing bubbles with your bubble gum. You’ll start to find joy in the little things.

You have no idea that the tooth fairy isn’t real. You’ll lose your first tooth and you’ll be over the moon – and $2 richer the next day.
Sweet little 6 year old, you’re going to love “real school.” Don’t worry about the kids that will pick on your haircut – second graders can be mean. And don’t ask your mom if your uniform is a church outfit. It isn’t that cute.
Dear little 8 year old with that terribly crooked smile, don’t worry, braces are just around the corner.

This year you’ll be baptized, but you won’t understand the implications of that until much, much later on in life. Oh, the journey has just begun. Hold fast, little one.
This year you’ll also be a donkey in the school Christmas performance. This isn’t the last time you’ll be an ass. (Sorry!)
Soon you’ll turn 10, and you’ve got one thing on your mind: pierced ears. Don’t worry, you’ll get them. 9 times.

Sweet little girl, see the one next to you? She’s going to be your best friend. 

You’ll laugh together…

You’ll play together….

And you’ll realize that there’s no gift quite like that of a sister.

Soon you’ll share everything – a room, toys, secrets, and jokes.

Don’t you dare take those moments for granted; they go by so fast. 

Pretty soon her heart will be shared with a sweet young boy, and in a few, short years she’ll call him her husband.
You’ll say some words you can’t take back.  You’ll wrestle. You’re going to argue.  Say your sorry. Ask for forgiveness. Keep your promises.

Sweet little one, you’ll be your Daddy’s girl.

He’s going to let you down. He isn’t perfect; he’s going to offend you, disappoint you, and make you cry. Love him anyway. 

Forgive him quickly. He’s going to take care of you. He’s going to make you giggle. And though you’ll run out of church crying when a family friend says you look just like him, pretty soon you’ll be thankful that you share his DNA. 

From him you’ll get your temper, your quick wit, your passion, and your determination – refine those things quickly. Your Daddy will understand you like no one else can. His life will be the proof of his love. 
Hold on tight though, it won’t be easy.

Sweet little girl, so full of sass and spunk – always decked out in the craziest outfits. Soon you’ll learn what yoga pants are. Don’t ever lose your inner fashionista.

You won’t let the boy in your church class tell you that’s not a pretty dress. You’ll tell him he doesn’t have a pretty heart.

You’re going to do a 31 week bible study on becoming God’s princess, but it won’t work the first time, so you’ll be enrolled for a second course. Don’t worry about it, you’ll never be very poised. Just embrace that.

Sweet little girl with the big brown eyes, you’re going to be a big sister 4 times! 

You’re going to love helping with those youngsters.

You’ll feed lots of baby food and change lots of diapers…

You’ll discover, you’ll teach, and you’ll make lots of messes – right alongside of the ones you call siblings.

You’re going to sin against them all. Sometimes you’ll shout at them, sometimes you’ll resent them, and sometimes you’ll call them some interesting names.


Hug them tight.

Soon they won’t be so little anymore, but they’ll always be watching you.

So you watch your mouth.

Set an example. 

Spend time with them when it’s inconvenient. Buy them candy for long days at school. Tell them you love them. You never know how long you’ll have with them.

You’re going to fight. They’re going to see you at your very worst.

Yet they’re going to love you the very best.

Sweet one, don’t ever be ashamed of who you are. Your friends will make fun of your awful haircut. You will find out that you were the only one that wasn’t invited to that birthday party. You won’t be popular.

Jesus loves you.

Don’t worry about it. Hair grows and so do people. 

And that friend that saw you get baptized when you were 8? 

You don’t know this yet, but when you’re 18, she’s still going to be your best friend. She’s going to see you through the seasons – the painful and joyful ones alike. You’ll struggle, laugh, and grow beside her. It’s going to be great.
Sweet little stubborn girl, you will not be a graceful ballerina. 

But you’ll try to be, you really will.

You’ll refuse to wear your red, curly wig, and you’ll be the only clown on stage without one. You’ll soon be enrolled in gymnastics. You’ll be better at that.

You’re going to try your hand at painting….

And modeling… 😉

And you’ll try to like sea life.

But you won’t be good at any of those things. It’s ok. 

 Instead you’ll adopt a kitten from craigslist without asking your parents, and you’ll also be given a puppy when you’re 16. That puppy will be the worst and best gift you’ve ever been given.
Sweet little girl, your feet don’t even reach those pedals. Slow down. Stop trying to grow up so soon.

In the blink of an eye, that will be a bike, and soon a car.

Sweet little girl with that great big smile, there is so much in store for your life.

Some days you’ll stand tall

 Some days you’ll fall down

And some days will be filled with strife.
As you grow older, you’ll become better acquainted with the sin that stains this fallen world. People will fail you, you will fail others. You’ll use harsh, inappropriate words as weapons. 
You’ll look for fulfillment in things of this world – for security, for love, for affirmation. You’ll struggle with identity. Some days you’re going to force that smile and tell everyone you’re okay, when inside you’re soul is empty and your spirit is weak. 
But Jesus will be your strength. When your dad leaves for rehab. When your mom walks out. When you cry yourself to sleep night after night. When you’re broken, bruised, and lonely; He will be your refuge. 
You won’t be perfect, but Christ – He will be your perfection. You will be beautiful despite your brokenness. You will be forgiven despite your failures. 
Lots of people won’t support your decision to graduate at 16; He will give you peace. 
When you make mistakes at your job, when you’re exhausted, when your’e unsure of what to do next; He will be your comfort. He will be your guide.
 Sweet little girl, when you spread your wings too wide, when you take on too much – He will lighten your load, he will ease your burdens.
He will give you these people to share life with. And you will love these people more than life.
People will tell you to stop working so much, that “you have your whole life ahead of you.” You’re going to laugh at the inaccuracy of that sentiment. You’re also going to ponder the idea what it truly means to live a “whole life.” You’ll learn that a whole life is a life surrendered to the will of your Father. It’s one full of joy, one that gives generously, one that recognizes the grace in each day. You’ll realize that a completely whole life, though, is one that awaits. It’s one free of tears, sickness, sorrow, and scars. It’s a life that lies somewhere on a distant shore. It’s a perfect life, and it’s worth waiting for.
Sweet little one, you’ve already learned so much in this short life of yours, yet you haven’t learned it all. One day you’ll look back on today, and you’ll see traces of His fingerprints. Just remember when you don’t understand, He does. When you can’t see past today, He can. When others don’t love you well, He will. 
Sweet little girl, one day that veil might be real, and your biggest dream will have come true. 
Just remember – in life, 
whether single, or a wife
your life is not about you. 
It’s all about Jesus
and sharing His grace
trusting His heart
when you can’t see His face.
From the very beginning
you’ve been held in His hand
your days are already numbered
and already planned.
So seek out your purpose
and follow His will
and when you fall short,
know that He loves you still.
In sorrow, in joy, in laughter, in tears
He will remain faithful in all of your years.
Thank you, Lord, for 18 great ones.