Wednesday, August 21, 2013


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...

  I felt myself say "Thank you  Jesus," for the  heart of a child.  You are good at doing this. You are full of wonder and curiosity. Never lose that. Goodness, life has so much joy and beauty  to uncover. How do so many of us, as we grow up lose our way?  Truth be told my darling, it will get harder. You will see that the world can be a dark place and you will not escape sorrows and struggles;  none of us do.  When those days come and the world feels harsh and lonely, know this; you were made for another.  Always, always, look and seek for God and His glory and you will find it. That is my prayer for you. Learn to love His Word and know that you are His daughter, adopted, forgiven and more loved than you can imagine.  His ways bring a deeper fulfillment and joy than all the lies that want to sell you false happiness. Never ever let people's opinions, or what you see in the mirror or your accomplishments define you. You were known to God before you were ever born and He holds you always. Let him shape your heart to echo His. The most beautiful you will ever be is when you are serving and loving others. Try to truly see people. Every person is a masterpiece of God's design; be compassionate always. Read books, and create and dance and build and laugh until it hurts. Love deeply without reserve. Find the things that make you feel the most alive and do them for God's glory. Listen for his voice in life.
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.