Today is darling Ariana’s second birthday. Of all the birthdays we’ve celebrated with our children thus far, this one has been the most difficult to believe. I remember Ariana’s dramatic whirlwind birth, the announcement she was a girl, and the doctor’s working hard to try to get her to start breathing like it was just a few weeks ago. I remember getting so excited and joyfilled every time she woke me up in the middle of the night because that meant I got to nurse her and be close to her (not kidding). I remember her first big smiles, when she first sat, her sweet crawl, the way she grinned from ear to ear every time Liam was in the room. I remember trying to get her to use sign language for “more” when she was 7 months old and her saying the word “more” instead. I remember her first steps during our community group time. I remember working on catechisms with Liam and asking, “Who made you?” only to have Ariana surprisingly answer “God!”
Ariana’s birthday is such a surprise because of sin issues I struggled with when Liam was a baby. I was so focused on worry (will he ever sit, crawl, walk, talk?) instead of trusting God that I rarely treasured the little blessing God had given me. By God’s grace, I became aware of that sinfulness by the time Ariana was born and was able to enjoy her (and Liam) without most of the fear I experienced before. I think somewhere deep down I thought that if I soaked up every moment she would stay a baby forever. Today I realize she’s not a baby anymore but a wonderful, beautiful, happy, submissive toddler–the next phase to treasure.
As is tradition, I ask each of you to write Ariana a note wishing her a happy birthday, sharing memories, blessing her, and/or praying for her. We keep all these comments written for our children to be read to them in future years. Thank you, sweet friends and family!
Merciful God, I will never understand the grace you have shown to us. Was it not amazing enough to snatch us from the death we deserve through your perfect Son’s substitution? But you just keep going, giving blessing after blessing we don’t deserve. Some of the greatest blessings you have given me are in my children, and today I praise you especially for our second, little Ariana. Thank you so much for using her to make us more like You, showing us through her example how to trust and be filled with joy even in difficult situations and how to show complete compassion. I pray that you continue using Bill and me to show her the gospel in everything we do, that she will one day be redeemed from the bonds she is in and will live a life with the cross at the center of her very being. Help her learn to be a godly little lady who by Your grace may become a godly woman, loving others more than herself. My biggest prayer is that Your glory is expressed more magnificently through this child’s life as I have already experienced in so many ways. You are good, and I praise you wishing I could do it better. Amen.