Kami's 18th birthday letter...


I know today doesn't seem like the ideal birthday for you, but I think it says a lot about you.

Usually a birthday is a day cleared out for friends and family to dote on you, planning parties, coffee dates, after school pedicures, cake, and piles of gifts.  This day is a bit different.  The minute you get out of school you were mentioning last night how you have to rush home and lock yourself in your room to go over your message notes for tonight.  Leave it to you to agree to speak in youth group on your 18th birthday on Selflessness.

Instead of relaxing at home before going to ISM, you have to go early to speak to the Middle Schoolers first and then the High Schoolers later on in the evening.  I'm sure by the time 9:00pm rolls around and youth group wraps up, you'll be more than a little tuckered out.  That's kinda what happens when you pour out your heart and share all the things that you've studied.  What an awesome way to spend your special day...preaching your little heart out to your peers and hoping to have an impact on their lives.  I'm praying for you even now.

I hope the message you're sharing on 'selflessness' becomes the anthem of your life.  In a world consumed with self and selfies, what a rare jewel you would be if you would but let God make you humble and kind, patient and flexible.  With every day that goes by leading to your departure for college in August, I'm watching you catch a vision for the selfless life.  Even last week when you were down in the living room talking to your mother and I, it was evident that you are hungry to be openhearted and kindhearted.  I know it's not easy for you...it's not easy for me or anyone.  That's why it takes a daily discipline of "dying to yourself" and "coming alive" to the interests, desires, needs, and dreams of others.  It is my prayer that this kind of life would envelope you in the years to come so that when people talk about Kami they can't help but say, "She is such a giving and gracious person."  Can you think of anything more satisfying than that...to be known for your selfless love?  I can't.

More than anything today, I want you to know that I'm proud of you.  I'm proud that you have volunteered for Campus Life that last two years faithfully pouring your heart into some pretty difficult kids...it shows your perseverance.  I'm proud that you have found a couple places of employment and have worked hard even on some nights when you're tired and wishing you could just veg at home...it shows your responsibility.  I'm proud of the friends you have surrounded yourself with especially when you went through many years of struggling to find good friends...it shows your discernment.  I'm proud of your eye for photography and your passion for capturing beauty...it shows your artistry.  I'm proud of how clean, organized, and planned out you like to be...it shows your orderliness.  I'm proud of your love of all things social and relational...it shows your love of life.  I'm proud of your passion to confront conflict...it shows your courage.  I'm proud that you're leaving the nest and heading off to college out of state...it shows your strength and appetite for risk.  I'm proud of how affectionate you are...it shows your tenderheartedness.  I'm proud of how so many people talk to you about their struggles and problems...is shows that you're a sympathetic listener.

I love so many things about you. I love how you tell people the truth even if it means putting the friendship at risk...it shows that you have unbreakable values.  I love how you have little verses and sayings plastered up around your room...it shows that you care about God's heart and your own.  I love that you love coffee...it shows that you have a brain...hehehe.  I love that you love meaningful late-night conversations with your friends...it shows that you're deep.  I love that you love movies that make you cry...it shows that you care about good stories.  I love that you enjoy getting together with our extended families...it show that you have an appreciation for our heritage.  I love that we've been able to go on hundreds of little dates since you were born...it shows that you're not embarrassed of being with me...hehehe. (I'll always cherish those from the time we shared a milkshake at McDonalds when you were one and a half to sitting across from each other at Blue Water Grill and trying new food...you foodie!)  I love to watch you worship as you lead people in worship...it shows your passion for the heart of God.  I love to see you laugh hard with your sisters in the back seat coming home from long trips...it shows your value of sisterhood.  I love watching you snuggle the boys and kissing them on the cheek over and over again...it shows how you've welcomed them into our family.  I love your sense of fashion...it shows your eye for colors & designs and the ability you have to coordinate them.  (I don't have that.)  More than anything...I love that you love your mom and I.  There is nothing that would hurt me more than being shut out of on of my children's lives and you continue to let us into your heart and to care about our hearts.  I hope it's always like that.

So, I'm proud of you.  And I love you deeply.

I always will even when you're gone.  I will always carry you close to my heart and I'll be a text or phone call away.

I look forward to watching you fly in the months to come.

You got this.

Happy 18th birthday, Rose.


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