My first born will be 11 in a few days. My first instinct is to blast on social media how time has flown and I can’t believe my baby girl is so old already. But instead, I feel like I need to tell her how proud I am of her and warn her of what’s ahead. So…
It’s been eleven years since you came into the world, blessing us with a strong voice and even stronger will. Your father and I waited four long years for you and you are, in every sense of the word, our promise from God fulfilled. I’ll be honest though. We had and still have no idea what we’re doing. You are our parenting guinea pig. I’m sure that we have failed you on some level daily and will continue to make mistakes with you that we won’t with your brother and sister, because well….practice makes perfect. We’ve never been a parent to an 11 year old before. With your feisty spirit, I hope you’ll forgive us one day as we trudge through the mucky mess of your tween-dom and teenage years. We are doing our best and everything we do (that I’m sure you think is because we hate you) is because we love you more than our own lives.
God chose us to be your parents for a reason, and it’s our job to make you a Christ-following, respectful, honorable young woman. So here are some things that I want you to know today that will hopefully stay with you forever.
1. You are a good kid, and always give your all. I know we battle with this sometimes. But you are. Everyone shares with me how amazing you are and I know it’s true. You are such a fierce and loyal friend, and you have wonderful manners when you are away from us. Your teachers rave about your behavior and how smart you are. Don’t take that for granted. Education comes so easy to you, and it may not always. So please always try your best in everything you do, and don’t just strive to coast by. “Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.” – Proverbs 21:5
2. What you decide today could impact your life forever. I know you are just a kid still and don’t realize it, but you’re going to blink soon and it’s going to be your high school graduation. The choices you make now impact and shape your life in more ways than you could ever know. Make good choices and continue to follow your sweet heart. Don’t feel pressured to do what other kids do, just because you want to fit in. Let Scripture guide you in the tough stuff (maybe let Dad and I guide you a bit too) and when in doubt, bathe it in prayer.
3. Never intentionally hurt or talk smack about your siblings. Kid, you are adored by both your little brother and sister. It sucks being the oldest sometimes (trust me, I know) but these are two people in your life that you will always be able to count on. Suck it up…they’re not going anywhere and one day the Baby ain’t gonna be so cute. Learn to appreciate what makes each of them unique, and be kind. They crave your attention and love more than they do from Mom & Dad.
4. Protect Yourself. As you get older, you get more and more involved in the online world. Baby Girl, I promise you…once it’s out there, it’s out there forever, never to be deleted or removed. So please, refer back to #2 and protect yourself. Be smart. Don’t give any information away to anyone that could put you in danger. Also, if you wouldn’t say it to Ms. Kathy or Pastor Ken at church, then PLEASE DON’T POST IT. Remember you are the daughter of a KING and sometime you’re the only Jesus people get to see. Protect your reputation and don’t make the mistake of unintentionally keeping people from knowing God. Let Him shine through you. “But you must be careful so that your freedom does not cause others with a weaker conscience to stumble.” – 1 Corinthians 8:9
5. You are exactly who you are supposed to be. We live in a world that will pick on you every day of your life for not being the picture perfect airbrushed image of beauty “they” have created. DO NOT LET THESE LIES GET TO YOU. You are gorgeous and perfect on the inside and out. You always will be. Part of what makes everyone beautiful is that we don’t all look the same. And there is beauty to be found in every person. I’m still learning this lesson, so I pray the message gets to you early, and your confidence exceeds what I had at your age. Be you. Because you are unique, beautiful, and loved.
I’ve loved every moment I’ve had as your Mother. Yes, even when we’re screaming at each other and slamming doors. You are my heart. You have every quality I want you to have as an adult and I’m confident that as challenging as the next few years will be for both of us, you will come out the other side a well-adjusted, respectful, confident, and Jesus-loving young woman. Please know that your parents love you with all our hearts, and we pray over you constantly every day. There is nothing in this life you can’t do if you set your mind to it, and I can’t wait to see what this year holds for you.
I love you so very much.