Hey missy girl,
When you saw that I’d written an open letter to your big brother on his ninth birthday, you were insistent I do the same for you when you turn nine.
That’s you in a nutshell, isn’t it, kid? You know what you want and you go for it. Even as we’re at the halfway point of raising you, there’s one thing I’m convinced of: that spunk, that determination, that persistence is going to take you places.
Of course, for now, it leaves me a little bedraggled and more-than-a-little snappy – I let you know that often enough, don’t I?
But what I don’t say enough is that I’m bursting with pride when I see the woman that you’re growing into.
I love your determination. I love that you’re nothing like me in that department. This mama of yours – she is prone to throwing in the towel when the going gets tough. But not you. I remember those chopsticks you brought home from a dinner out at a Chinese restaurant - you even ate your cereal with them till you became a pro. Some things you try don’t come easy. But you just keep on keepin’ on.
I love that you can pour yourself into intricate adult colouring books and your Rainbow Loom and quilling sets, but at the same time you effortlessly cartwheel on the lawn, hold a plank for the longest time and create little shoebox homes for the worms you and your brother collect.
I love that you speak up when you have to. This world has enough women trying to please everyone, afraid of offending someone. Even though you’re only nine (yes, I know that’s a big girl) you’re startlingly wise. That’s a strange thing to say to a kid. But I’ve watched you, marvelling that you stay away from tween gossip and taking sides and being snobbish, simply to be part of a clique.
I love that despite your independent spirit, you still reach for me, curling up next to me under the soft fleece blanket, planting an unexpected kiss on my cheek with a spontaneous, “I love you, mama.”
But as you begin your 10th year, as you’re halfway to being an adult, I know I can’t stop at just letting you know how awesome you are (and believe me, as far as awesome kids go, you got them beat). I know I have to point you to the One who can carry you through life.
Give God room in your life. Know that even strong women need Him. Give Him the space to say “no” to your way. You’ll find out soon enough that His way is better than anything you can dream up.
Delight yourself in Jesus. The world has so many distractions. So many baubles and so many shiny trinkets to make you feel “complete.” But nothing fills you up inside like a real relationship with God.
In the noise of this world, be still enough to hear Him whisper. Because His whispers never condemn. The world will tell you one day that you “deserve” more than you have. On another day it will scream in your face that you don’t measure up. That you’re not beautiful enough or smart enough or thin enough. But stay still long enough to hear Him whisper gently that you’re absolutely perfect and infinitely loved.
I could go on and on … there’s so much to share with you. Like, diets and boyfriends are not worth the trouble. Like, saying “yes” when you really want to say “no” is a rubbish plan. Like, enjoy dinner at a fancy restaurant without needing to post it anywhere. Yup, there's a lot more where that came from. If I could, I would swaddle you in bubble wrap and keep you home with me. Sometimes, this mama’s heart wracks with fear and anxiety over the many “what ifs?”
But for now, the best thing I can do is tell you that you’re loved. You’re loved by mama and dada and your brother (even if he won’t admit it) and by your family and your friends. But, more than that, know in the deepest place of your heart that you’re loved by Him. That’s your confidence. That’s your safe place. That’s who you are.
Keep shining, baby girl!
With all my heart,