I didn’t know it when you entered this world. “They” always said that God’s timing was perfect. When you are in the throngs of sorrow though, that isn’t what you want to hear. In hindsight, it is so true. You were and are the child we prayed for, that our hearts yearned for.
To my eldest daughter, Willow:
We waited four long years and suffered a miscarriage before we got to hold you. Your smile brightens up the darkest hours. You are incredibly jovial with such zest for life. Enthusiasm is infectious and you spread it wherever you wander.
I could never have anticipated how you’d bring me closer to righteousness though. Yes, parenthood helps us to understand God better because we understand him as our provider, care-taker, and nurturer. However, I didn’t know I’d encounter grace when you convict me of sin. I didn’t expect you to have a greater handle on theological concepts than I do. Jesus did though. “He called a child, whom he put among them, and said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” Matt. 18:2-4.
When we are in the car, I sometimes get agitated, borderline road rage filled. When I grumble or yell, you’ll perk up. Sometimes you shout and sometimes you whisper, “Mama, stop being so angry! Slow down.” I take sharp curves a little too quickly and you’ll utter, “Whoa! Easy!” In those moments, I am reminded to slow my pace, that I don’t need to rush, but to embrace the sacred moment of the present.
Occasionally, you catch me venting of a person who has frustrated me. I’ll spiral to the pit of gossip, but just as I’m teetering into that gorge, you call out randomly, “We must obey God, pray for each other.” You are most likely reciting those verses from route memory because it is part of your homeschooling curriculum. However, God brings them to your mind in the hour I need to hear them the most. While I might get frustrated that you have caught me in sin, I am grateful.
When I am sick, you throw a bag of candy into the grocery cart. Apparently, I need it because I’m nauseous, or at least that is what you tell me.
You snuggle up next to me and pat my back when I am in pain.
Sometimes, when the back pain is severe enough, you offer to give me a massage.
When your sister is crying, you say, “It’ll be alright Fiona, you don’t need to cry. I’m here.”
My heart swells and I couldn’t be more proud. I pray you continue to act with such compassion, such tenderness, and such conviction. You have been my remedy to sin malady at times. Yes, I know it is God doing the work, but he really does use vessels and I’m glad it is you speaking to me.
To My Fiona Joy:
Willow was a long awaited prayer. You are my most blessed surprise. Your giggles penetrate somber air and morph the ambiance to joy.
Most of the time you really are your name. You radiate pure joy. You are contented to play with a toy for hours, studying its intricacies. While I can’t know it yet, I have an inkling that you will be predisposed to mathematics and science, towards logic and reasoning. It is my prayer that you would use it to speak truth with grace. Continue to spread pure joy as you rest in the joy of our Lord Jesus Christ.
You are young yet, but I can see the buds of faith. One of your favorite songs is the B-I-B-L-E. You shout the word with such gusto! You are drawn towards the Bible and flip through its pages with cheer on your cheeks and a smile stretched across your lips. Quietly you listen to prayer, absorbing all that you can.
My daughters, God has blessed your father and I so richly. It is our prayer that you continue to walk with the Lord, growing closer to him each day, and one day will spread this good news with others through love, hospitality, and service. It has been our prayer that you would do a great work for the Lord together. I can already see amity between you two; I pray it continues with richness and depth.
As we prepare to meet your sibling in March, we pray that amicable relationships will develop between all three of you. We would love for all of you to pursue the Lord without abandon. May you minister together as a tight knit group, a family entrenched with love.
We are excited to see this new dynamic. It’ll be interesting to witness how God continues to work through and in you all through your encounters with us, each other, and the world.
Go forth in love dear children knowing how deeply you have been loved and longed for.
*We: Your father and I