For my Ella who is now eight;
"Is it gonna storm mama?" You asked with a furrow in your brow. "I don't think so but if it does I will be with you." I said as I stuffed towels and water bottles in the backpack. We piled into the van headed for our favorite swimming hole. We stepped through the mossy forest floor, past fiddle heads and ferns and everything in me calmed with the cool green landscape, trees stretched against sky, just the sound of water over rocks and your chatter and play. We were made for this, to glory in the earth scent and deep blue sky, to feel the warmth on our freckled summer skin. It is everything summer and carefree, swimming through clear green pools, we built rock towers and collected treasures, layed on our backs and picked m&m's out of the trail mix.
At some point I noticed the dark clouds roll in and your face turn to worry. Storms are a big fear for you. The rain started gently with just a low rumble of thunder in the distance. We grabbed our towels and ran to the shelter of a big rock overhanging. We huddled close and sang and watched the rain. The thunder came and went and when it came close your tears welled up and daddy held you and comforted you. You looked small in his arms. It made me think about someone I listened to recently who spoke about when Jesus was in the boat with his friends. The storm raged and they were gripped with fear. All He did was speak and the waves and winds obeyed and became still. Can you imagine? A raging storm turned to perfect calm in an instant. In life God doesn't always calm the storm. He doesn't always make everything okay despite all the well intentioned platitudes you may hear. But it has to be enough that we are in the boat with Jesus. He never leaves us alone to face our storms. He is with us always, our strength and comfort, our never failing anchor.
The storm passed and the sun returned along with your smile. I will forever treasure this day with you.
I see you sweet daughter, growing thoughtful and wiser as the days pass. There is a lot I understand about you. You are a noticer. You observe with eyes and heart and see things that others miss in your own quiet way. Your current career aspiration is to be an author and illustrator. Although I know that this changes quickly, it does really capture your eight-year-old self. You love making books. You spend hours carefully telling stories and drawing and you love making them for people. I think I will need a separate chest for the kind letters, cards and books you create that I can't part with. You don't always speak a lot of words but you speak volumes with your pencils and paints. The other day I found this tucked in some of your drawings...
Ella, your name means light and you are certainly that. Your presence brings light to our hearts. Don't be afraid to give your light to others. I am so proud of the things I see God growing in your tender spirit already. Some things I love about you: how you are always singing, beat-boxing, dancing, how you can't get enough of bunnies, your stories and art, your dimple, your clear green-blue eyes, the freckle on the end of your nose, your kindness, how no one cries alone if you are with them, your silliness, your ability to notice everything around you. Such a gift you are to me precious one.