My Dear Girl,
You turn 9 in a few days. I’m always amazed at how quickly each birthday comes around. I love celebrating you every year; to look back on how much you’ve changed – another mark a few inches higher on the growth chart, another grade completed, another hobby explored. This birthday’s got me thinking, though. I know it’ll be another three hundred something days until we reach double digits but this weekend marks another important point in our journey.
Have you ever heard of William Shakespeare? I don’t think you’ve studied playwrights in school just yet. Shakespeare wrote,
All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts. . . As You Like It – Act II, Scene VII
This life we’re living isn’t really an act but at times it can feel like a play or a film. Life doesn’t come with a script and the reality is, it will probably never look like your favorite TV show or movie. But I believe if we stand on the right truth and values, our presence on this stage of life can make an amazing impact.
We’ve spent the first act of your life trying to figure things out. You made me a mother all those years ago and I’ve struggled to play the part, not always knowing the cues. This first act flew by as we did our best – you learned how to be independent and I learned how to slowly let you go. Now we’re here at intermission, with a very short pause before it’s time to begin the play again, this time without all the butterflies inside us. We’re beginning to find our courage and my hope is that we’ll breeze through this next act, together.
I’ve got nine more short years before you potentially leave my care for good. That’s 3285 days for me to help you grasp the importance of your identity, purpose and relationships. I’m committed to supporting you through every scene and with every line until you exit my stage.
There are some things I want you to know, dear one. Things I’m still learning but wish I had grasped when I was growing up. If you can conquer these life lessons now, you’ll play your role with excellence, making great impact on every eye that observes your life.
9 Truths I Want You to Learn in the Second Act of Your Life in My Care
1. The secret to life is in knowing who you are. It sounds simple but it’s a life-long process. The earlier you start exploring, the more you’ll understand your unique gifts and purpose. Spend your energy these next few years discovering your beautiful uniqueness. Embrace every bit of yourself, both inside and out and stay true to YOU.
2. Confidence is beautiful. A girl who knows who she is and owns it is more attractive than one with pretty eyes or good hair. Confidence is the most powerful accessory you can put on. Don’t ever leave home without it.
3. When you find your thing, work hard at it. Even when it seems too hard or overwhelming, don’t give up. One of my greatest regrets in life is giving up on things too soon, things I could have been really good at. When you fall in love with something, do whatever it takes to get better, one step at a time, because in the end hard work always pays off.
4. Growth is more important than perfection. You may never get straight A’s or get the lead in the play or score the most soccer goals. But as long as you are growing; learning and doing more than you did the day (or year or season) before, you’re winning.
5. Don’t let others hold you back. You can’t control what others think or want. Don’t let anyone stop you from going after your dreams or believing the best about yourself. Don’t wait for others’ participation or approval to go after something. Sometimes doing it scared and alone is exactly what you need to grow. But the truth is, you’ll never really be alone because your Dad and I will always be by your side, cheering you on.
6. The world needs noticers. Pay attention. Always be on the lookout for those who need kindness and love. The more confident you become, the less time you’ll spend thinking about yourself and the more energy you’ll have to bless others. Try to never miss an opportunity to love on and cheer for those around you.
7. Listen more than you talk. Ask questions and tune your heart to listen beyond the words when someone is sharing. The best way to learn about new people and new ideas is to soak up what others say first, then respond with your thoughtful contribution.
8. Find your people. There will be many opportunities to meet new people in your life. Though you should always be kind and inviting, you don’t have to (and you simply can’t) build deep relationships with everyone. The friends you can be yourself around (without fear or hesitation) are YOUR people. Invest in these relationships. With the right care, they can last a lifetime.
9. Gratitude turns what we have into enough. Someone will always have more, do more or seem to be more than you. Comparison is never helpful but gratitude will always turn what we have into enough. Practice being thankful. It’s the most life-giving habit you can develop.
Dear girl. . .at times it’s going to feel like life is all about being popular. But this next act is about so much more than being liked. It’s about understanding you are known by God and knowing you belong to him. The Bible talks a lot about our identity in Christ but my favorite verse on popularity and identity can be found in Proverbs, chapter 3. It says. . .
Let LOVE and FAITHFULNESS never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. Proverbs 3:3-4 NIV
Love well and live in loyalty my girl, and a good reputation will follow you always.
Proverbs goes on to say this. . .
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways [acknowledge] him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV
The promise is clear. When we trust in him, he will show us the path to living an amazing life. When we walk with him, we won’t miss out on anything good, because every good and perfect gift comes from God (James 1:17).
You, my girl, are one of the greatest gifts he has given me. Thank you for making my dream of motherhood come true. Thank you for being patient as I learn this part I play. It’s time for you to step out into the spotlight. This next act is about becoming who you were meant to be. I’ll be standing in the wings, watching with joy, ready to cheer wildly when the curtain falls.
Happy Birthday sweet girl. I love you,