Saturday, November 26, 2016

To Jocelyn, On Your 11th Birthday

Dear Jocelyn,
                   I am a little sad that this is the first of these letters that I have written late. Since your birthday was on Thanksgiving this year it was almost impossible for me to write your letter, and I didn't want to do it before your birthday. Hopefully, if you ever read all of these, you won't mind that I wasn't on time.

    Wow. This has been one crazy year. I always think that if something has been hard on me as a comprehending, mature "grown-up" it must be even harder for you, as a kid. 2016 started off with the death of one of our favorite people, Grams. That was the first really important person you have ever lost and it has been a doozy. Watching you deal with your grief has changed me as a mom. Encouraging you to show your feelings, and seeing how you have openly been so very sad, has been hard. But watching you fiercely love Gramps, and never allowing it to make you bitter has helped me to see that it isn't impossible to grieve as one who has hope.

   Because you are filled with hope. Each passing day I see your love for Christ deepen, and you search to become more like Him. It is so crazy to say this about your own child, but you truly do challenge me in my walk. Honestly? I kind of want to be like you when I grow up. You have a joy for the Lord and a passion to share Him fearlessly. Your gift of evangelism is certainly something you have in common with Grams. I can see the beginnings of the transition to adulthood, and it is painful for both of us sometimes. You have shed more tears in the past year for various reasons than you have in rest of your life. But even in the struggle to deal with your changing feelings and starting to become more aware of the complexity of life, you've continued to turn to the Lord and stayed strong in your desire to tell everyone you come in contact with about Him.

   I pray that sticks with you. We are coming to the end of the innocence of the "little girl" years. It isn't easy for me, but I'd much rather have you grow up than face the alternative! Watching you mature makes me bittersweetly nostalgic. I am excited to see where you will go, but at the same time I just want time to slow down a little! I feel this way much more frequently than I did when you were an adorable toddler, even.

   I'm just praying you hold on to the sweetness of spirit and joy for living that makes you *you*. You are incredibly kind and generous, creative and friendly. You've spent this year learning so many new things. You've stayed with hard things, like dance, determinedly practicing, not bent on being the star, but just on improving. You committed to working diligently in school, not complaining and getting your work done. You've taken a real interest in history, and blown me away by using the summer months to work hard in math so that you are now working a grade ahead. I thought sixth grade would be difficult, but you have surprised me!

    You've really made a name for yourself with your helpful willingness. I can count on you to do the work of an adult, practically, when we are volunteering at church! Watching you carefully pack Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes blessed me so much. You have a real heart for ministry. You always say you want to grow up to direct VBS and it probably won't be long before you are more qualified than I. I look forward to working for you! People genuinely love to have you around-the only credit I can take for that is all the prayers I have prayed for you. The rest is all the Lord.

    He knew we would need our ray of sunshine. In our little family you definitely can claim that! I love you so much it hurts sometimes, and I am praying constantly that the Lord shows me how to be the mom you need and deserve. Every time I write one of these letters I cry, not for the time that has passed, but for how blessed I am to get to call you my daughter. For how proud I am of you, for how intensely I love you, and how sweet it is to know you return those feelings. You are amazing, beautiful inside and out, and I love you.

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