Happy 16th birthday! It is impossible to describe the joy that you bring us, and I hope that on your birthday you know at least a small part of that. We are past the halfway point of your teen years (eek!) and it has truly been a pleasure to be your mom. People say teenagers are the worst, but this has been my favorite part of parenting so far.
The biggest reason for that is that you are not just my daughter, you are my sister in Christ. You are there with an encouraging word for me in tough seasons, and have already given me wise and loving counsel. I see Jesus in you and it continually delights me. You are the fragrance of the Gospel wherever you go and it is inspiring to all who know you. You live a life worthy of Him who called you, and it isn't one lived in a bubble. You have been in some difficult relationships, and you have had your beliefs tested. I doubt that it will end soon, but allow it to continue to make you lean into Jesus.
I am trying hard not to think about the fact that our homeschooling journey is almost at an end. I am having so much fun teaching you this year-you have developed a love for literature that delights me to no end. You still have a brain for science, and of course, math! You can run circles around me in those areas. You carefully chose to end your dance training this fall, so you could pursue other interests. You've put time into your social media channels, and it has been fun seeing your success. You are so brave! You have had fun learning guitar, and spending time on your artwork. When you won that art contest earlier this year it was nice to see the validation you felt-it was time well spent.
Of course you have had time for friendships, too. You make your friends feel valued and it shows in how they seek you out. I loved that you still find ways to have fun and be silly-you realize that one is never too grown up to wear a good costume. Your "White Rabbit" this year was one of my all-time favorites of ever. (And literature inspired, too!)
And you are as helpful and cheerful as ever. Awana, Operation Christmas Child, our Browne ministry, Vacation Bible School. You are my volunteering buddy and I love it. Your work is exemplary, and you serve more than many adults, but you never ask for accolades. I know that your future crown is already full of jewels. As always, you inspire me, challenge me, and daily remind me of God's goodness. I am looking forward to seeing you tackle driving and starting college soon. You will do great, I know, because you will do it with the Lord at the center. With Him, you will never fail. I love you so much, my wonderful daughter.