For the past year, we’ve been writing letters to the kids in their birthdays. Here’s Ariana’s for her ninth birthday:
To our sweet and lovely Ariana,
Today on your ninth birthday, we celebrate you as our firstborn daughter. We celebrate the sweetness that God has worked in your heart through his Spirit. And we rejoice in the loveliness that he’s given you. Not just in outward beauty—of which God has made you truly gorgeous. But also with inward beauty. You have a heart to serve others. You are full of joy and life. You see beauty all around you and embrace it.
You also have an eye to see beauty and recreate it in other forms. You have a God-given talent for art. You draw and paint and create beauty. You have an eye for colors and shapes and designs. You are an artist and you should be unafraid to chase after that. Creativity is a reflection of God’s own creative nature. By seeing and shaping and creating beauty, you are reflecting the image of our Creator God.
You are eager to love others and serve them by putting them first. You’re quick to give things up for the sake of others. You’re constantly making gifts for others. You learn the names of all your friends and always know about what they like and who their families are. You have a big heart that loves others well. There will be some along the way who will want to snuff that out of you. But you also believe in a King who has an unstoppable, never-giving-up love. And he’s put that same love in you, too.
But there are also warnings for you. Fear is chasing you, wanting to stop you from loving well, from obeying well, from living well. Fear is a temptation to stop trusting in our Good Father, who gives us every good thing. It’s this same fear that makes you shy and want to speak quietly when others can hear what you’re saying. You have every reason for confidence in who God has made you. Not confidence in yourself, but confidence in the Spirit that is so powerfully at work in you. If God is for you, who can be against you? Easy answer: no one.
You’re at the beginning of leaving girlhood behind and heading into womanhood. It’s not going to happen right away. And there’s still a long way to go. But you’re well on your way. Your mother is about to start taking you down that path—showing you what God has designed for you as a woman. Trust your mother. Listen to the words and the teachings she gives you.
More than that, be like your mom. She has been crafted by God’s Spirit into a godly woman. She’s wise and filled with the Spirit and lively. She can cook and write and decorate cakes and raise babies and organize a home and clean anything and counsel women and see things as they really are. Listen to her and learn from her. She is your best asset on your way to becoming your own woman.
Ariana, your name means holy. Remember that you are holy because of what Jesus has done for you. And your middle name means “God is my crown”—because as much as every girl wants to wear a tiara and be a princess, there’s no crown worth wearing but the crown of God himself. Crown yourself with him every moment and every day, for he is good and will always hold you.
Happy birthday, darling.
Dad and mom