My Dearest Kami,
It hardly seems possible that you are a teenager! 13 years old! A teenager...AHHHHHHHHH! Where did the time go? How did we get here so quickly? How did you become such a beautiful young woman along the way?
I was thinking about some things today that I wanted to tell you on your 13th birthday “just so you know”. I can’t believe how many dads don’t actually talk to their daughters about their feelings or their dreams or their pride in their little feminine hearts. I hope I never turn into that dad. So in order to prevent that, I thought I’d list some things that I love about you.
- I love how you look at the bright side of things instead of dwelling on what is wrong with the world. I know that most parents aren’t blessed with a daughter that writes all over stuff, “I love my life!” This is a treasure.
- I love how you love to snuggle morning, noon, or night. You fold into my arms and wrap yourself around my body like a blanket. You have always been this way, soaking in that intimate time of connection with me like a co-dependant Kuala bear.
- I love how active you are and how you want to be in the middle of where the action is. You hate been left out of conversation or decisions because God made you to be in the center of “life-changing” moments adding your two cents to make the world a better place, to make the conversation a better conversation, to make the story of life a better story.
- I love how much you love little children and are especially geeked about having two little brothers added to our family. I know that you will take care of them with all your heart and pour yourself into their little lives almost like a mother. That is going to be awesome to watch you use your gift of compassion through adoption.
- I love how passionate you are about technology and connectivity with the world around you (though it gets consuming and distracting at times). I believe God made you to be connected and as you get older I hope you’ll take that gift to help others get connected to God and not just pics and texts and links and pinterest and instagram! That is the most important connection you could help someone make.
- I love how unabashedly feminine you are! I love how you love wearing dresses and skirts and makeup. I love how you love to paint your nails and priss up for school each day. You are such a beautiful person with a beautiful soul and it shines through your desire to be a truly feminine young woman. I see it how you dance...the elegance, the tenderness, the strength.
- I love your heart for God even though you are just beginning to learn how to live that out in your world. Even the other night when we were having a conversation about your relationship with Jesus and seeing your tears of desire to be closer to him and hearing your comment on how life gets worse when you don’t take time to spend with him and make him #1 in your life...those tears were priceless. This is probably what I love about you most and the thing I pray most deeply stays throbbing inside your heart throughout your life.
Which brings me to the next part of this 13th Birthday Letter...the part where I tell you who you really are and my deepest prayer for your life going into the future. Buckle up, this could be deep, but it comes from the deepest place inside your Father’s Heart. It might not even make sense until you get older.
#1 – Your mother and I have prayed for you from the beginning that God would give you a strong heart. Even more than a tender heart, I have prayed for you to have the strength of a thousand warriors. You will continue to need strength to fight off the evil and to fight for the good in this world and others around you. I pray that your will rebel against rebellion and love all that is love.
#2 – From the day you were born, we knew that you were special, but not because of the physical challenges you were faced with. We knew that God wouldn’t have allowed you to have these physical attributes if he hadn’t chosen to make you a “unique soul” to take those obstacles and turn them into opportunities...opportunities to show everyone around you what it looks like to live free and happy regardless of what life throws at you. You do that all the time...I don’t know if you’re aware of that. I want you to be known for that all your days.
#3 – As I give you this ring today, I obviously want you to make a promise to your mother and I to keep yourself pure for marriage by not having sex until after you’re married to the husband God has prepared for you even now though you haven’t met yet. (By the way, we are praying this for him as well.) But we are also making a promise to you to pray for you diligently to have the strength to carry out that promise when times of peer pressure from friends and the patterns of this world whisper to you, “It’s not big deal…everyone’s doing it.” I pray that you will know immediately that this is a lie. Remember Josh and Leslie’s wedding and Dave and Lindsey’s wedding and how powerful those wedding were in comparison to others precisely because they guarded their purity until their wedding night. Believe me when I say that you will never regret staying sexually pure.
#4 – I hope purity will not just mean not having sex until marriage. As we’ve talked recently, we hope you will have a pure heart that is seen in how you talk to people and bless others with your life. We hope you will be pure in your choices and that you won’t let lying, cheating, laziness, bitterness, jealously, gossip and anger to darken your heart and make you selfish. Purity to me is a “selfless life”. A life lived for God and others instead of self. We hope this purity just pours out of you so much so that others witness your life and want to be like you because you’re like Jesus.
#5 – You have asked Jesus to come and live inside your heart by His Spirit. There is nothing that is more important to your mother and I than that decision you’ve made. In some ways, you will have to make that decision on some level everyday waking up and making Jesus #1 in your life. You are the “best you” when you are obedient to God and surrendered to His desires for your life. You are full of joy and positivity and passion and freedom and compassion for the world. When you make life about you, you dry up and become insecure and fearful and selfish. That is not who you are. Deep in your heart you are God’s daughter and when you live to make him proud he fills you with pleasure...deep pleasure.
#6 – Lastly, I want you to know that your mother and I are very proud of you...who you are, who you’ve become and who you are becoming every day we see you grow into the woman God had in mind when he formed you inside your mommy 13 years ago. I want you to know something...and you have to stop and really read this with all your attention, ok? Your mom and I love you unconditionally. What that means is that no matter where you go, what you do, for better or worse, in good times and in bad times, when life is going well and when life is falling apart...we will always be here for you. We will never leave you or let you go. Even when you get marriage someday, we will let you leave us, but we will not let you go from our hearts...you will always be our daughter and as such, you will always have a special place in our home and hearts. And one other thing, if you ever grown up and have a hard time, we will help you no matter where you are. And if anyone hurts you, I will drive through the night, I will find you wherever you are, and I will rescue you. You never have to wonder if you are alone, because you will never be alone, we are going to be with you your whole life no matter where you go. You may not live in our home someday, but you will never stop living in our heart. You are and will always be our daughter. Ok?
So on your 13th birthday, this glorious day, this special day...I hope you will feel deep in your heart the presence of God, your heavenly Father who loves you even more than we do, the presence of your grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins who know you’re the first grandchild of the extended family and value you beyond your imagination, the presence of your sisters who love you and look up to you more than you could ever know, and the presence of your Daddy and Mommy who cherish you as our firstborn gift from God. You are surrounded by so many people who love you and would drop everything to do anything for you at a moment’s notice. Not many young women have that kind of love to live in, protecting them and praying for them. You do.
Your mother and I love you and celebrate your life today. You bring us great joy (and laughter) and we’re praying that this purity ring always reminds you of God’s love for you and our love for you every time you look at it. You are precious. You are beautiful. You are one-of-a kind.
But more than anything, you are ours, and you always will be.
Happy Birthday, Kami! We love you. XOXOXOX
Daddy and Mommy