Happy Birthday! What a year to be 15! This year has been hard, no doubt about it. It has tried all of us in many ways and you are no exception. However, in the trying you have been refined, not broken. I see you wrestling with your faith, and I am thrilled. You are truly learning how to walk with Christ on your own, and that is all I could ever have asked for. All the other wonderful things about you are just extras.
And there are so many extras. One of my greatest pleasures this year has been sharing classic literature with you. Wrestling with Hamlet and delighting in Jane Eyre, seeing you "get" "The Yellow Wallpaper" and chuckle over "Bernice Bobs Her Hair" has brought me such satisfaction. You haven't loved everything, (such strong feelings about "The Gift of the Magi"!) but you've tackled it with enthusiasm. I always want you to know that I have never lost sight of what an awe-inspiring privilege it is to homeschool you. Our homeschool journey together is drawing swiftly to a close. It is so hard to think of "graduating" from that part of our relationship. You've suffered from many of my mistakes, but when I see your love of learning and your skillful work, I know we made the right choice. I wouldn't trade this time with you for anything.
In all of the teaching I've done, I am still learning, too. And you have shown me so much. You have an incredible talent for friendships. You are the friend to others that I always wanted at that age. You truly love your friends, and you care enough to work through tough things with them. You have faced some challenges, hard things, stuff that would have caused adults to abandon friendships without a second thought. Instead you have prayerfully confronted these things, and it blows me away to think of how the Lord has used you. People need to hear hard things from people who love them. It takes an incredible amount of grace and maturity, though, to be the one who speaks truth in love.
I am constantly astonished that you turn to me for advice, that you listen to what I have to say. The relationship that we have is truly a gift. To know that you trust me to lead you in truth makes me strive even hard to be the woman of God that you believe to me. You have deepened my relationship with Christ in so many ways. I am constantly praying that the Holy Spirit will make me worthy of that trust.
I am so thankful for you in so many ways. You are such a help to me-my companion in many of the ministries that I lead, and I don't think anyone realizes the ways that I rely on you. You are such a faithful worker for Christ-serving in countless ways, never expecting praise or recognition. You are essential in our Operation Christmas Child projects, we couldn't do VBS without you, you are always at Awana serving kids, you come early to co-op and stay late. You are involved in your own things, too. I know your gift of administration will shine in your new position as Student Representative. They have found a jewel in you! You know how to coordinate and motivate people in ways I could only dream of.
You are amazing. You are already doing great things-you've never seen any reason to wait to invest the talents God has given you right now. Here, now, you are living in confidence that God can use you and you are absolutely right. I'm just glad He let me be a part of it all. I love you so much. I hope 15 is wonderful beyond your wildest expectations.