(A little late, as her birthday was in January!)
Double digits WHAT?????? It has truly been a joy this past year to watch you grow and change. You’re slowly finding your place, joining in the dance. Your beautiful smile shines a little more all the time, and you’re pulling yourself toward us, pulling away less frequently. And I’m grateful to God for it and for you.
You’re tasting joy, and your whole face changes when you do. You relax, you grin, and you know peace. You tell us you know that joy is from God. I know you still don’t want him, and I understand why. But you know the source of the happiness, and I still believe one day you’ll be ready to embrace it completely.
My prayer for you this next year is the same prayer I have for me—to stop fearing. This one word, fear, is a powerful little booger. It rules us without us being aware. It stops us from embracing who God wants us to be, and just like your mama, it’s taken over your mind. It’s a hard one to fight. We fear what others will think of us, we fear not being good at something we try, we fear bad things happening to us or those we love, we fear ourselves because we know what we’re capable of.
But it’s not supposed to be that way. Jesus came to defeat fear and to replace it with a freedom greater than the freedom we also celebrate on this holiday honoring Martin Luther King, Jr., a brave man who fought hard for freedom for his people. He loved Jesus fiercely, and that love gave him the power to fight through his fears even to the point of giving up his own life, much like the one who strengthened him through it all.
But the freedom Jesus gave us wasn’t just a freedom for all people to be equal. It was a freedom from shame. A freedom to show all our cards, to confess our failures, to embrace tomorrow, to know who we are, to walk in a new identity because our past doesn’t define us anymore. It’s a freedom that makes us princes and princesses of the kingdom of God, his adopted children with the same inheritance as Jesus, so what others think of us is a moot point.
Your single digits weren’t always good to you. As always, Dad and I are the soldiers at the forefront on Team Heaven. We will fight harder for you than anyone else. But our general is King Jesus, and my hope is that you’ll be able to embrace him, his freedom and his joy, in your first year of double digits.
I love you more and more every day, my H-Dawg.
Mom and Dad