What a year it has been for you! You have become a big sister for the second time, started using your whole hand to show people how old you are, began going to school, played your first team sport, got your first fish, painted your own bedroom, cut your own hair and began picking your own outfits. Daughter, you have grown so much that you’re in a big girl booster seat, out grown the little kid shoe sizes, taught your sister how to climb the swing-set, helped to mow the backyard, decorated the Christmas tree, held your sister’s hand on her first trick-or-treating excursion, changed your brother’s diaper, worked as my sous chef many times over and you’ve proven time and time again to be a hard worker that loves to please.
Dear daughter your brave decisions have always impressed me; there isn’t an ounce of fear in you (except for the creatures in your closet). At the age of two you were climbing ten foot ladders and going down swirly slides into six foot deep water – head first, on your stomach, with your eyes closed, hands in the air and screams of joy! You went straight into soccer and gave it your best without knowing your coaches and teammates and what a kick you have, if we could get you to remember which goal is yours! You proudly held your first lost tooth in your hand and started wiggling the others in your mouth hoping for more. You changed church classes three times in one year and encouraged your sister in her transitions as well. You made the brave decision to ask Jesus for forgiveness and to welcome Him into your heart so that you can be a beacon on His love for everyone big and small. When you walked into your Pre-K and Kindergarten classes with your head held high, your shoulders back and brave face on I was so proud I cried (Shh, don’t tell anyone). Daughter, you impress me every day with your ability to make decisions and the reasoning that you put behind them, but I am even more impressed by your bravery. You face new things every day and you do your best and that’s all I can ask for and more.
Daughter, recently we’ve hit some speed bumps. You’ve changed a bit and your father and I are trying to figure out why. You’ve become angry and loud. You don’t express your feelings like you used to and you have resorted to defiance and physical aggression. I know you’re frustrated because there’s something you don’t understand – I can see it in your big hazel eyes. I don’t understand either, but I am fighting for you. This is a new and daunting territory for all of us but we are all doing our best. I will help you when you need help and find you people we trust that can offer extra help when your father and I are out of solutions. I will devote our time, energy and prayers to being your advocate because you deserve them and so much more. Bear, we will not give up, this journey may have only begun, and although we are already tired, we believe firmly in a God that heals, protects, sustains and encourages. We have faith that the battles we face bring us closer to God, His body of believers and each other. Our Father wants our growth and happiness vastly more than we can imagine and this is where I will rest my faith.
Bear, I know that sometimes other people don’t make sense to you and that’s part of life; a large majority of time people don’t make sense to me either. They will say things that we disagree with, do things we would never do and make decisions that we don’t understand. Let me reassure you, brave girl, they are not the person that we look to for advice and example. We are a flawed people and the only person worth looking to for example is the only person who is flawless. Believing this alone will bring you great opposition in life, but what is life without an opportunity to shine a light of hope and faith?
If there is one thing that I want you to understand from all of this, Brinley, is that you are not broken. I don’t care what the counselors, psychologists, teachers, principals and doctors say. You are made in the holy image of Christ! He knew you before you were created and He knew you would be strong enough to face these challenges and still come out on top. Bear, you are a daughter of the Lord of Lords! What great news that is! He knows the hairs on your head. He knows your heartache and your hurt. He knows your strengths and desires and He will not fail you! You are not the sum of your past transgressions. He loves you deeper than your anger and frustration. He holds you so tightly that not even your worst outburst of frustration can take you from Him. Your father and I are leaning on Him and praying over you more than you know. One day this season will make sense. Perhaps you will become an advocate for all the different children out there and help the grown-ups that don’t understand. Maybe you’ll become a school psychologist or a children’s counselor to help alleviate some of the frustrations that you, yourself, faced at their age. Or maybe you will became a mother who raises her children to embrace their differences and face their challenges without fear, knowing full well that their Holy Father has plans for them.
Daughter, you are wonderful. You have exposed emotions in me that I was unaware that I had. You teach me daily, what it is like to go into the lion’s den and do your best to make sense of it. Who knew that when I held you in my arms for the first time, five (and a half) years ago that it would be you teaching me about the way that God loves us? I sure didn’t see it coming but with every second that passes I learn a little bit more about the sacrifice He made by sending His son to cover my sins, your dad’s sins, your sins and those of the rest of us who are so much less than deserving.
You will always have my heart, even in times of frustration and misunderstanding; it’s still longing for you to be at peace and for your happiness. You are different, Brinley, and you always have been. Do not ever let anyone tell you that being different is bad. Dear, as I see it, being different is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Allow yourself to feel differently than others, to think differently and to behave differently, because (to quote Dr. Seuss) those who matter don’t mind and those who mind don’t matter.
I am fighting for you, Brinley. I am praying for you, Brinley. I will never give up on you, Brinley.
I love you,