As we’ve now had more than a year of the family tradition of writing birthday letters, it seems only right that I compose this one for you. These letters always seem to serve the dual purpose of remembering God’s goodness and saying a blessing for the coming year of life. There is much I have to say of both for you.
Looking back, it is clearer than the most perfect diamond that God our Father has been working all things together for good for you. The sweet little girl who grew up under her mother’s godly example, the years of shining in music, our path into a renewal of the gospel in our hearts, the addition of child upon child—what a ride! All of it has been part of the tapestry Dad has weaved of your life, whether painful or exhilarating or dull.
Still, what I find weird is how much harder each subsequent year is than the previous one. Sometimes I can’t decide if that’s good or bad—though ultimately I always lean on God’s goodness that it is, in fact, good. In particular, to say that adoption has owned almost every waking moment of the last year (plus!) is no exaggeration. As stupid as it sounds, I really expected that adoption would be so much easier than this. I thought with six bio kids under our belt, adopting more would be only marginally different.
I was far more than marginally wrong.
I say all of this because adoption is not just part of our family, but also part of our tapestry. In many ways, it’s overshadowed so much before it that I can scarcely remember those days. We’ve had to fight the good fight of faith together and that fight hasn’t always gone well. We’ve learned weakness in excruciatingly new ways.
But here enters the grace: for his grace is sufficient for us and his power is made perfect in weakness. We always knew that was true with your Crohn’s. Now we know it’s true as parents. Our weakness is a very real reminder of the great grace Dad gives us moment to moment to moment. So while the happily ever after of adoption doesn’t really seem attainable yet, I rejoice because the sufficiency of Jesus has been on display for us in a new array of colors.
That’s not the only thing worth remembering from the last year. God the Spirit has knit our church together in a way we’d always hoped would happen, but were beginning to despair never would. Yet it did. Those ladies are now your best friends. Our church is our family and the ones who are there for us in times of trouble and distress. How blessed we are to have that!
We also can’t forget to rejoice in God for his healing power: your Crohn’s is in remission! We never even thought of that as a possibility, but God gave us more than we could ever ask or imagine. And how cool to see the culmination of years of prayer, beginning with asking our elders at Cedar Grove to anoint you with oil and pray over you. God is far more faithful than we ever expect him to be.
The last year has been both hard and good, both discouraging and hopeful. Bittersweet. But any bitterness will one day be washed away in eternal light and joy. And until that day, there is joy to be had now as we rest in the finished work of Jesus to provide for us and sustain us.
I want to bless you as well. And there are some specific things I have in mind for you, as the Lord wills.
First, the Lord bless you in mothering all of your children together. May the struggles of adoption blur into the joyful struggles of motherhood. May this be the year when we see the family as the new whole it is.
Second, the Lord bless you in your friendships and fellowship. May the transitory and fragmented friendships of our whole lives transform into deeply rooted friendships with your sisters in Jesus. Overlook offenses. Find the good. Be quick to encourage. The Enemy would love to see the relationships you’ve built be torn down and trampled. May it never be so.
Third, the Lord bless your music. He gave you that musical mind, those vocal chords, that harmonic intuition. Some things may have been sitting on the shelf for a while, but it’s time to dust them off. You have my full confidence. I know you and know what you’re capable of. May God grant you humble success.
Lastly, the Lord bless your heart. The darkness has always chased you, but you have prevailed in Jesus. Truly, more and more all the time. But the Accuser rejoices to find new ways to coat his flaming darts with pitch. May the Lord hand you a new shield of faith each time the arsenal gets an upgrade. And may that shield never fail.
One last thing: I love you. I never tire of saying it. And I mean it more than ever. You captivate me and constantly surprise me. You make me smile and laugh and sing. You help me carry my burdens. You are the perfect fit for me. You’re lovely and vibrant and vivacious. I praise you in the gates (the interwebs are my gates) because you are strong and beautiful and holy. You are a blessing to each life you touch, mine more than any other.
Happy birthday, my heart.