Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Letter to a Twelve Year Old: Julia’s Birthday Letter 2014

I need a moment.  I just deleted about 4000 pictures from my laptop.  I know.  Maybe I should have had you sit down before I told you.  I mean, 4000 is a mere drop in the bucket compared to how many I left, but to now have these pictures only on an external hard drive..... I may not sleep tonight.  Got to have it copied soon.

So, thank you.   For my moment.

Dear Julia,

I’ve been taking pictures of you from day one, of course.  Maybe slightly a few more than the normal person.  As pictures come and go on my screen, I think, “I know that expression.  In fact, I just saw it earlier today.”  Your face.  I’m pretty sure I know every square inch of it.  And lately, I see it changing.

I’m no different than any other mom in that I miss this face...

And this one…

And that one...

And certainly this one… {because it’s right next to another favorite face of mine…}

And how can I leave this one out?  With the big goose egg on your forehead?

I miss those curls.. but not the goose egg.  {Same lake trip, folks- not TWO different goose eggs}

And these beach curls...

I miss these dance recitals when your class was the “littlest” class…

And these teeth….{Is that gross?  That I miss teeth?}

And especially the absence of these….

And parties like this….

If what “everyone” says is true, our last year of bliss started last Friday when you turned 12.  Do you really think that’s true?  Are you seriously going to turn on me?  Like become this person I don’t know or don’t want to hang out with?  Or is it the other way around?  You will decide I am from another planet and decide “girl time” should always be spent with someone other than me? Well, I’ve only got this for you.  If I have to spend the rest of my life trying to convince you that I am an earthling- the same earthling who introduced you to sugar, books, American Girl and bought for you your first pair of cowboy boots- and that you really do want to hang out with me, I will.  YOU are a big deal, but for a few more years, YOU and I, together, are a bigger deal.   We’ve got lots to do and even more conversations to have.  The level of enjoyment we experience in the process is really up to you.

I’ve been reminding you of what I told you a few years ago, “I see you.”  I see you growing up.  I see the questions on your face.  I see when it’s hard to keep the emotions under control.  I see your struggle trying to be a good big sister--- and a good daughter for that matter.  I see you, at times, measuring yourself by standards that aren’t stable, against expectations that aren’t real.  I see you trying to put the pieces together and sort out all the “whys” about the things you must learn about as your world changes from little to big. And that might be the biggest reason I miss “little”.  

Little worlds are shiny and happy and free from much heartache.  Little worlds are sweet birthday parties with girls in hats or crowns, snaggle tooth smiles, tutus and very little homework.  Big worlds have shadows. There are problems, realities and ideas difficult to explain, situations that can be hurtful- even dangerous, and the big world is full of heart sick people.  

And that, dear Julia, is why we talk about your relationship with Jesus so much.  We are all heart sick without Him.  We are all in need of His rescue.  Without Him, we live in shadows, darkness really, trying to make sense of all the heartache.  And heartache only hurts worse when we stay in it and don’t call for the Rescuer.  It’s true you didn’t know much, or anything at all, about heartache when you asked Him to save you but you knew you loved Him and wanted to be His because of what He had done for you on the cross.  Yes, you can still suffer many heartaches-- some you might bring on yourself and some may be straight from Him to accomplish His purposes.  Whatever kind of hurt you find yourself experiencing, my prayer for you is that you always run TO Him.  Never away.  There is only more hurt in running away.  By running TO Him, you will get to experience His love and compassion in unique ways.  And time after time, you will understand more clearly His plans and purposes for you.  I joke about, “Hey, listen to me now- learn this as I am telling you now, so you won’t have to take the field trip later and learn the hard way!”  I don’t want to have to watch you take the “field trip” or detours to learn important lessons, but sometimes we don’t have a choice, so that’s why I speak a passionate “RUN TO HIM” if that is where you find yourself.  He is the perfect Rescuer.  

I am committed to not “missing you”.  I’ll be watching you to see how I think you’re doing, to see if I think there’s something that needs to be coaxed out of you.  Nothing a little peppermint chocolate can’t do, right?  I will pursue you whether you like it at times or not.  There may be times you feel alone or times you wished I’d come looking for you, but just know, there may be times when the Lord tells me to be still because He wants you all to Himself.  That might not be easy either but I know it will be best.      And I can be sure, that will turn out beautiful.  

Yes, I miss “little” but, with Him , I am looking forward to “big”.

By His grace, we can do this.  I know we can. 

Goodbye, Eleven.  Hello, Twelve.


Emily said...

So much about this post that I love.
"I see you, at times, measuring yourself by standards that aren’t stable, against expectations that aren’t real." Worded so beautifully, and I wondered, will I ever grow out of that? Heart twinges also came at your description of a heart sick world, heavy on me after days like today, and tears pricked me when you talked about the Rescuer. I'm living vicariously through your charge to your sweet girl to RUN TO HIM!!! Great post sister.

Sarah said...

Sweet Julia. She's was so adorable then! So beautiful now! And you're doing a great job loving her! What a blessed girl and a blessed momma!

Alyssa said...

When I read this, I felt like it was a letter that all daughters of the King need to read. What solid words for an uncertain time. I love how you pursue knowing her heart, and I thoroughly enjoyed the stroll down memory lane through the pictures, though I wish she wasn't growing up so fast!

Kathie said...

Sweet memories.

Amy Cobble said...

What a special tribute to your relationship then and now. And I bet you'll always be a heavenly earthling in her eyes. On this road too with a new 13-year old daughter at Watermark.