Psalm 23:6a (the message)
Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life…
In a few hours we will be at your preschool graduation ceremony. Such a worn phrase, but I can’t believe how fast the time has flown by. I know you are excited about today. And I know you are excited about starting kindergarten in the fall. I am excited for you, too. I know you will love learning and helping your teacher and making new friends. But I don’t want to think too much about that right now…
I am so grateful to God, and your daddy, for making it possible for me to be at home with you girls. I know as this summer approaches it’s the last one I have with you just this way…before you take a big step into the big world. I know how this summer-before-kindergarten really marks the closing of a chapter in our lives. Well, I don’t want to think too much about that right now…
Here is what I want you to know about your newly-turned-five self when you read this later in life:
Your heart is so tender and sensitive. You notice so much around you. When you were a baby you were like this. You liked to stay close by mom or dad, not too interested in commanding attention, watching and observing. I would even say you were shy. Your preschool teachers last year, Ms. Ann and Ms. Kim, could not believe it when I described you this way. You really came out of your shyness in preschool last year.
Here is probably my most favorite thing right now. When you and me and Rivers are talking about how to treat others or just what other people are going through…or when we are talking about Jesus and how He loves us and wants us to love others…sometimes you will say, “I think I’m going to happy cry.” I love this, Leah. And I’m thankful because that “happy cry” you feel in your heart tells me that your heart is tender not just toward others, but towards Jesus. Yep. On the first Wednesday evening of March this year, as you sat on my bed with me folding clothes, we talked some more about Jesus and you decided you wanted to ask Him into your heart. The most beautiful sounds of my life have been the first cries of life and first chuckles of joy from my babies, as well as the simple prayer of inviting the Creator into your life. You have a lifetime ahead to discover what that means. Even us adults are still learning (though we like to think we have it all figured out!). Sweet Lee Lee, God never expects or asks us to understand everything or have it all figured out. He just asks us to believe. And the more you get to know Jesus, the more He will show you and your belief will grow and I pray be very personal. No matter what happens in life, when you know the sound of His voice for yourself, no one can talk you out of it.
As I sit here on our front porch with birds calling to each other in the distance, I pray about you. I know that God has a plan for your life…for your sensitive heart, your determination (aka competitive streak…smile), your big willingness and desire to help, and your “happy cry” tender spirit. I know it will be many years before you read this letter, but when you do I want you to know your dad and I are praying for you. We ask God to protect you and grow you up strong and healthy…to develop you, in every way, into the person He means for you to be. We ask Him to lead us in helping you to discover the gifts He has placed in you. We want to be a strong and solid launching pad for you. I know your tender heart can easily be crushed with a harsh reprimand or when you feel you’ve disappointed someone you love. Always remember, Leah, that we love you no matter what…when you do things right or when you do them wrong. When you choose to obey or when you choose to disobey. When you speak with kindness or when you lash out. When you are laughing with the world or when you feel the world is laughing at you. When you feel the rush of a win in life or when you feel the sting of loss. We love you always, no matter what…no limits. We are learning this from Jesus.
Leah, I pray you run straight toward Jesus your whole life because I know that kind of living will bring you great joy. Those big brown eyes are meant to see the plight of others and your big heart meant to help. I believe it. That “happy cry” and determination to accomplish things by yourself will change the world God has you in. You may be my “middle child” but I have never nor will I ever accept the idea your birth order relegates you to being overlooked or passed by…slipping through the cracks. As hard as it seems sometimes, I refuse to accept the cracks. I’m not a perfect mommy, even at five you know this!, but I ask God everyday to change me, mold me, have His way in me so that the cracks in my parenting can be filled with the sweet sap of His Spirit. So that the gaps in what you need and what I give will be bridged in His grace. So, no cracks, Leah. Your feet are firmly planted on the Rock-solid foundation of Christ. Not a perfect family…just one healed and sown tightly together in His mercy and redemption.
I am proud of you, brown-eyed-girl. Proud of the hit you got last night without using the “T” at your ballgame! Awesome! I am proud of how you know your letters and sounds and can write your name so well! I am proud, overwhelmingly joyful, as I sit writing and you now come out onto the porch in your almost-too-small PJ’s with “crazy hair” and a piece of paper and a pen to write Ms. Holly a note. Your first words to me this morning are, “we didn’t get Ms. Holly a surprise.” And as I wrap up this letter, I reassure you we will go by the store before graduation. Sweet Leah…your first thought this morning is for your preschool teacher. Ready to make her a card yourself.
You girls are God’s beauty and love chasing after me every day I wake up…my heart’s happy cry.
I love you more than a gazillion episodes of “Doc McStuffins.”