Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A Letter to a Thirteen Year Old Girl: Julia’s Birthday Letter 2015

Dearest Julia,   Happy 13th Birthday! We’ve celebrated for a solid week and now I can sit down and write you a letter.  {Mark this down— your letter will NEVER be ready BEFORE your birthday.}  You said it best yourself, “I don’t FEEL thirteen.”  I don’t FEEL like I now have a teenager in the house.  Yes, you are growing up, but I hate to tell you, I will always picture you with brunette curls framing that perfect heart- shaped face and warm brown eyes peering at EVERYTHING going on around you trying to figure it all out.  We hit the ground running with you because you were WIDE awake when you got here, girl, and that hasn’t changed.  You don’t miss much and because of that, I can’t either.

This was the year you received sweet, life-giving words from some of our favorite moms.  {Not all, but some.}  You had a lot to take in that Tuesday morning but you did it with such quietness and grace.  I didn’t get everything right that morning, but you did.  {I was the blundering Martha and you were the calm Mary.}  You listened.  You smiled and made eye contact.  And you said, “Thank you”.  And one thing I love about you— I walked in on you in your room reading the letters a day or two later.  You are like me in that way.  You like words— no, you LOVE words.  Those letters will be a treasure to you, won’t they?  You will wind up knowing some of them by heart.

So, it’s my turn and I will try to keep it short this year since you’ve been given such gifts of wisdom from our friends.  Two words, sweet girl of mine.  Just two.  Kindness and Truth.

Do not let kindness and truth leave you;
Bind them around your neck,
Write them on the tablet of your heart.  Proverbs 3:3

Kindness.  We’ve not had near enough of that in our family.  I don’t know how it happens but mornings turn into a bundle of rush, the days into an announcement of tasks— and then you have a week, a month and then, a year.  Were we kind to one another?  How many snapshots of kindness do any of us remember?  I don’t want us to have difficulty remembering these moments in our family.  I want kindness to be THE character of our interactions.  I’ve told you many times, if you can be kind here at home, to those you are with the most, to those who have a tighter hold of your heart strings, to those who know your buttons better than anyone, you can be kind anywhere.  I see you learning that— and sometimes it’s painful.  My prayer is that the relationships in our home are characterized by kindness.

One more thing, Julia. Treat those you love and also, those you don’t with kindness.  It’s the most beautiful you can be— to be kind.  You know what this looks like and you know how attractive it is.  I pray you will be reminded to sparkle and shine with the light of kindness in all your circles, especially with your girlfriends, especially at this age.  All of you are looking for words of affirmation, words of kindness, mostly regarding your appearance.  I challenge you to give those words freely but think of their hearts.  Figure out how to genuinely lavish them with words of kindness that will enrich their hearts.  Their outfit or hairstyle will be different tomorrow but the longings of their hearts will be the same.  Serve them up some kindness.

And then- second word- live your life founded on, rooted in, anchored on, clinging to, walking in — the Truth that never changes when everything around you might.  What the culture says changes with Facebook likes.  You will find inconsistencies coming from people you respect and admire {Be careful where you allow your esteem to land!}.  Your friends’ opinions will change overnight.  You may, at times, think your Dad and I have changed our minds, when, in fact, we really have!  But please TAKE GREAT COMFORT that His Word, His Truth never changes.  When you need the feeling of solid ground under your feet, let Scripture be home base.  It’s unchangeable.

May His Spirit remind you that you have Truth as a Guide for your life and you never have to wonder if it’s the best for you.  Study it.  Memorize it.  Hunger for more of it.  Love it.  The Truth can be such a comfort in this unpredictable life.  I cannot shout this loud enough from a mountain high enough or even repeat it too many times.  Catch the bug for His Word and you are going to be just fine.

On a more trendy note— Instagram.  Yes, you got an account.  After many conversations and many months of waiting, we did it.  Enjoy it.  Like your friends’ pictures, take pictures, celebrate fun moments, brag on your friends but don’t take it too seriously.   When you find yourself dwelling on the numbers, it’s time to sign off for a while.  When you find relationships are getting tattered or even unraveling, it’s time to put it down.  When you find it taking cheap shots at your insecurities or blurring the identity Christ has covered you with, it’s time to put it down.  When you find yourself wanting to promote yourself, we need to talk.  That’s a tricky line— one I have most likely crossed at times.  You want to share something but your motive is fuzzy.  Just don’t.  Let’s just talk through it and decide together.

I am so very proud of you.  I am honored to be your mother.

I love you more than I could ever express.

P.S.  I didn’t keep it short.  I can never keep it short.

Goodbye, Twelve.  Hello, Thirteen!

1 comment:

Alyssa said...

I think I've read this three times now; it's just so good to remember, even at 40. Watching her grow up is a joy! She is one very special young lady!