Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Friend’s Letter to Julia, 2008

It’s birthday week around here.  My firstborn is turning 13!!!  Yikes-a-bikes!  Seriously.  Nothing prepares you for this passage of time.  However, aside from the time warp I feel like we are in,  I’ve got NO complaints.  I have a birthday letter to write but before that, I want to share this with you.  My friend, TJ, writes over here at Lift My Noise and she gave me this letter in 2008 to tuck away until I wanted to share it with Julia.  So now is the time and I thought you might enjoy it too.  TJ’s awfully gracious with her words but I’ve snowed her pretty good over the years.  She takes all my stuff with a grain of salt, knowing my dependency on Christ is my survival.  All these years.  Grab a tissue.  It’s one of those.

 Precious Julia,
At the time of this writing, you are a little over six years old with the maturity of a much older child. I have had the privilege of observing you through the eyes of an invested friend since your birth. It was a JOY for Corbin and me to travel to Shreveport in January 2002 for your birth, to hear “every detail” of your birth and adoption in that little motel room straight from the lips of your excited momma and daddy in the presence of your smiling and graceful great-grandmother, Julia.

We were all new to this parenthood thing - all testing out brand new wings that had yet to fly very far, and we did so with nervous trepidation that accompanies taking on such a deep, eternal role as motherhood and fatherhood, but also with an exhilarating glee and excitement knowing that all was right with the world now that we held these babies in our arms.



I tease your mom and dad - mostly your dad - about their first attempts at buckling you into your infant carrier. Still in Shreveport, we were preparing to leave for dinner one evening at a local casino - an appropriate first meal out for the daughter of a Southern Baptist preacher. We heard a shuffling commotion from the corner, and your mama and daddy were both bent over your tiny body in the infant carrier, struggling to get you placed securely with the straps just right. Now let me tell you, infant carriers can be confusing. But not that confusing. I instinctively walked over to examine their progress - I think your daddy had broken out in a sweat - and almost fell over laughing. Your dad, in a moment of technical deprivation, had somehow wedged you into your snug car seat without ever unbuckling any buckles or straps. And this wasn’t the first time you’d been wrangled into the thing!
I had known your mom for nearly a year before you were born. She was elegant and calm and glamorous and carried herself as stately as Audrey Hepburn. But in the days right after your birth (and a few times since) I have seen her frazzled and dizzy with the learning curves motherhood throws. She’s still mostly elegant and calm and glamorous, but I believe there’s a little more vulnerability to her stately demeanor that the Lord has crafted in her through you and Brighton. I’ve seen her proud as a peacock bursting with news of you reading your first word. She was amused you wanted to learn cursive so quickly and bypass manuscript altogether. And she’s been astounded with the depth and longevity of your memory.

Adoption Day-- 6 months later, it was official on paper
There are two reasons I’m writing you this letter, Julia. One, is to communicate as best as I can the depth of love your mom holds for you. She was an amazing lady before you came to be her daughter (I’m seeing that even more as I get to know your grandmother and Uncle Blake and hearing stories from your mom’s childhood - she’s always been a bright star), but she came alive after your birth. You were truly a dream come true. An undeserving gift from the Lord. She prayed for and longed for you years before you were even conceived. I’ll never forget holding little Hudson at your mom’s desk before your birth, and the hutch was completely adorned with note cards in your mom’s handwriting claiming God’s promises and faithfulness. This was right about the time they learned you would soon come dancing and giggling into their home. But these Scripture-filled notecards were written weeks and months and years before that, a visual comfort from the Lord to your momma that He sees and is faithful and trustworthy.  You were at the heart of those Scriptures, Julia.

As you mature, I can see you are the exact, perfect, God-created daughter for your momma. You are so similar to her - your love for order, your admiration of pretty things, your outgoing personality combined with a need for time alone, your acute awareness of your surroundings, your attention to detail, your tenacity, your competitive spirit, and your steel trap of a mind that locks in everything ... pretty soon we’ll need an “askjulia.com” website. You are also like your mom in your contemplative spirit. If something bothers you, really bothers you, instead of spewing out questions, you’ll likely bury your head and think on it - maybe for days - before bringing it up again. Eventually that will be a significant strength - harnessing self control to think on difficult issues before broadcasting them to everyone around you.

As you grow, I pray your contemplating becomes a form of prayer - that you make a habit of instinctively taking everything to God for direction and clarity. To see through His lenses. I can assure you that both your mom and your dad are in this habit. And most of the time your mom can maintain self control. And in addition to prayers, I pray that you know you can talk with your mom about anything. She is a good listener and wants to know the depths of your heart. But remember also that if she responds too quickly and harshly, give her another chance. I promise you, Julia, your mom wants nothing more than for you to come to her with anything and to be able to talk openly. She knows you are not just like her, and doesn’t expect you to be. And she’s teachable. She will learn great things about love and friendship and God from you. She already has.

The second reason I’m writing you today is to encourage you to embrace your story. Embrace this dynamic, blossoming narrative of who God has made you and give yourself freedom to bloom brilliantly. Look at all God has given you: big brown eyes, a sharp intellect, a smiling and earnest little brother who adores you, weekends at the lake on your daddy’s boat, summer vacations at the beach, beautiful hands with long slender fingers, a mom who (for now, anyway) chooses to give you the  privilege of learning at home and from her teaching, amazing grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins, and a great, contagious laugh. God did not create you to look just like your friends, Atlee and Isabella and Annalisa and Basden. He made your appearance unique and lovely and special. He also didn’t create you to have the same birth story as these friends. He gave you a unique platform through adoption to bless other people and point them to the goodness of God.

I am so grateful for your story of adoption, because it shows God’s creativity and faithfulness and overflowing abundance. He allowed your birth mother, Sarah, to give up something so dear that she’ll never go a day without considering that beautiful, very difficult choice. It blessed your momma in ways that we’ll never understand, we won’t see the ripples of blessing really until Heaven. And your story blesses me and my family in the process. What in the world would we do without Julia in our lives?!

As you know, your mom is an amazing woman AND an amazing mommy. She dreamed of you for years as the Lord gave her a unique opportunity to trust Him for His best - that  He created her to be the perfect mommy to Julia and Brighton. You are beautiful, Julia, and your story is beautiful. It’s no surprise that the Lord drew your heart to Him at such a young age. He is beautiful in you. I love you!

TJ, pouring more kind words into Julia’s heart and mind- affirming her story.

1 comment:

Alyssa said...

What a treasure! These words are powerful, and I know that they will bless Julia for years to come.