To Naya Faith- on the day you turned 6,
You, sweet daughter, are starlight and summer breezes, you are the scent of meadows in sunshine, you are stubborn, wild and pure, dark-eyed curious, unruly wisps framing a face like a painting. You are joy to my days from the moment you tumble into my bed in the morning full of chatter and wiggles to the way you beg for just one more kiss at night. You are graceful and always dancing and singing. I hope you will never be afraid to sing your heart out and dance when your body wants to move. You are rarely quiet. You are learning to read and everything seems to be clicking all at once and it's amazing to be your teacher. You are belly laughs and endless questions. I heard somewhere that five year olds ask a hundred questions a day. I believe it. Although they sometimes get lost in the noise of home, I try as I am able to listen to you always. As I sat trying to be attentive and answer your questions I marveled at all that was spinning in your head. "Mama, where do colors come from?", "What is heaven like?", "Why can't I see Jesus?", "Can we go to Nana's house?", "Can I have a birdie?", "Can we have two more girl babies?", "When can I see Nora again?", "Can she come to my birthday party?", "Why are people different colors?" And on and on it went as I tried to answer the best I could and this was one car ride!
My little girl, what a journey you have ahead of you! Is it strange that I still can't believe sometimes, that God gave me you. What a gift and honor to be the one who gets to love and guide you.
Being a little girl in this old world is hard. Becoming a woman in this world is even harder.
I was that little girl, all barefoot, dancing, big wheels, fairies and crayons. I grew into that girl who noticed everything, who got stung by flippant words, who learned not to trust, who felt not good enough, who wished sometimes to just disappear, who didn't realize that Jesus loved me and rejoiced over me with singing.
Naya, this old world, it's gonna hurt you. You won't escape sins' arrows. They will rip and wound you, and make you braver and stronger in their wake. Darling, whatever your story holds, know this; you are not what you do, what you accomplish, what you look like, what mistakes you will make or what anyone else may choose to say about you someday. Those are all just little parts that make up your story.
The real story is this. You were knit together by the loving hands of the God who sets the all the planets spinning in place. You are a precious, fearfully and wonderfully made creature, adopted by Christ and named His daughter. The day you turned five, you had your real birthday. It was an amazing day. Here you are on that day.
When we were out together just you and me, you asked me if you could pray to ask Jesus to come into your heart. We talked about this verse, "He saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our own accomplishments, but according to his own purpose and the grace that was given to us in the Messiah Jesus before time began."
We talked about how he forgives us for our sins and how his love is deeper and wider than the ocean. You prayed a simple prayer and I rejoiced in a way I can't really describe. He is making you something new. You can do nothing to earn his love. And whatever the worst things are that you could do, he will never ever love you any less. His grace sets you free. With that said though, seek after his heart and let him guide your choices. When Jesus hung dying on that cross, he had you on his heart. That alone is your worth. He gave you to us and we will do our best to help you know the wonder of childhood and awakening to the world around you and we will love and pray for you as your experiences, both good and bad broaden your understanding of the world. Who you really are will show when everyone you are with is belittling someone else, it will show in what you do in the midst of injustice, how you respond to the hurting, if you are willing to be a servant, what you do with what you've been given, what you do when someone you love tears you all the way down, and how you love those around you.
For now, you are a wild mess of knee socks, braids, skinned knees and tu-tus. The sacred and mundane weave their way through our days. You whine and stomp your feet, and watch stars, dream and pray. We struggle and thrive and grow. You draw me piles of pictures of rainbows and flowers. You bring me fistfuls of little wilty flowers when you run inside breathless and flushed. You have endless energy and endless questions that are becoming increasingly thoughtful and complicated. You are full of mischeif, wonder, laughter and curiosity. You are a treasure to me every day of these six years and always.