Monday, February 25, 2013

13: Don't forget who you are. Be You, Bravely.

Today Miss Sassfras celebrates 13.
And in our family, when you turn 13, friends and family write you letters of encouragment, prayers and scripture. Those letters are gathered by Mama and Daddy and put in a special box that is given to the birthday kiddo on their special day. A box full of reminders of what makes you special. A box of encouragement to pull from on those angst filled days when you don't think anyone understands or cares..... a very special get you through a bad day or remind you of all you have box filled with love. Lots of love.
So today, on this Monday, instead of posting a menu or a list of my thankfuls, I want to share with you my {slightly edited for this post} letter to my girl. 
She's thirteen today, at least three inches taller than me, two shoe sizes ahead of me and filled to the brim with a heart full of compassion. I love this middle child of mine, fiercely.
Allow me a few moments of sharing....


To my Darling Sassafras,
Happiest Thirteenth Birthday blessings on you, my dear, sweet Sassy Girl. It’s hard for your Daddy and I to take it all in that you are now 13. What a gift you are to us! 
Your caring, empathetic heart is legendary. You have a heart that beats to serve others. I love that about you. You love to help in big and small ways and always with that beautiful dimpled smile of yours. Oh how I treasure you and your smile.
You have grown so very much these thirteen years and I’m not just talking about your beautiful height, I’m talking about your sweet and generous spirit. I love how you are different and I pray daily that you will always embrace your unique “you-ness”. Don’t let the world dictate how you will behave, let God do that. He made you just the way you are and He has a very specific purpose for your life that includes the you-ness He created in you. To those that may call you “weird” and other not so kind names, I say this, “Embrace your inner weirdo!” God made you who you are- Enjoy it!!!! Remember this also- you are a daughter of the KING. Jesus the King and that makes you a princess. A beloved princess.
Many friends and family have written you letters encouraging you to continue growing your kind heart, gentle spirit and grace-filled manner. I too pray that God will continue to grow these traits and more like them in you. I pray for God to grant you wisdom and discernment so that you will be able to make right choices with His guidance. I pray that you will have humility, honesty and integrity… so that when you find you are wrong you will be quick to apologize and ask forgiveness with a humble spirit and a contrite heart. That you will work to right the wrong.  And when there comes those times when you have been wronged, I pray you will be quick to forgive fully and completely with a Christ-like love.
Sassafras circa 2005... Same smile
Your Daddy and I continue on this journey of parenthood and so we continue to learn how to parent each of you according to the way in which God created you. You are not Ms. Books. You are not The Boy. You are Sassafras and we love you for you. We, as your parents, will for sure mess things up every so often and we are bound to hurt your feelings and no doubt confuse you but please know this darling daughter, we pray and seek God’s best for you and His best in raising you. We know we need Him and His guidance to get this parenting thing right. Unfortunately, because we are human, we are bound to fail you at times but know this-- we love you with a love that is only surpassed by God’s love. We desire His very best for you all the days of your life. You are His gift to us, a gift we treasure. And we will protect the treasure you are to us, even if it means protecting you from your own self/selfishness at times. 

I want to encourage you to keep up with your artwork and continue expanding your creativity. What a gift you have there! I pray that you will find ways to be able to use this gift of creativity for God’s glory and that it will always give you joy.
Another gift of yours is your loving care of little children. Jesus said, “Let the children come to me.” And they did and He loved on them. When I see you interact with young children I see Jesus shining through you and that is such a pleasure to witness! You are so helpful, so patient and loving with young children. This is also a gift from God to you. I pray He will guide you on how best to use it and that you will always shine Jesus with little ones.
I want to encourage you to daily seek God’s very best for yourself. Don’t neglect your quiet time, seek His face always. Daily. I pray you will love and crave, yes- crave this daily special time with the Lord and that He will grow you through it in ways you never could imagine.
Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in. 1 Peter 3:4
True beauty, my darling Sass, comes from having Jesus in your heart and shining him right through to the outsides of you.
When life and the people in your life let you down, hurt you, discourage you, make fun of you and any other such negative stuff….  Remember who you are.

You are beautiful.
You are brave.
You are fabulous.
You are smart.
You are generous.
You are courageous.
You are loveable.
You are hilarious.
You are strong.
You are capable.
You are enough.

Because God made you who you are!

I love these verses from the Message version of 1 Peter Chapter 3…. And I pray them for you.
Summing up: Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble. That goes for all of you, no exceptions. No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm. Instead, bless—that’s your job, to bless. You’ll be a blessing and also get a blessing.
Whoever wants to embrace life
    and see the day fill up with good,
Here’s what you do:
    Say nothing evil or hurtful;
Snub evil and cultivate good;
    run after peace for all you’re worth.
(verses 8-10)
If with heart and soul you’re doing good, do you think you can be stopped? Even if you suffer for it, you’re still better off. Don’t give the opposition a second thought. Through thick and thin, keep your hearts at attention, in adoration before Christ, your Master. Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you’re living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy. Keep a clear conscience before God so that when people throw mud at you, none of it will stick. They’ll end up realizing that they’re the ones who need a bath. It’s better to suffer for doing good, if that’s what God wants, than to be punished for doing bad. That’s what Christ did definitively: suffered because of others’ sins, the Righteous One for the unrighteous ones. He went through it all—was put to death and then made alive—to bring us to God.
(verses 13-18)
I pray these things for you Sassafras. That you will keep a clear conscience before God and that when people try and throw mud on you, none of it will stick. Remember it’s not who you are that matters, it’s who you are IN Christ. You are His, my darling.
Thank you, my dearest daughter, for the laughter and joy you bring your Daddy and I. I so enjoy your hilarity, your hyena laugh and your bubbly spirit. You have added so very much to our lives. Every day we have together will never be long enough to tell you how much we love and adore you.

Remember this also... when the world wants you to conform:
BE YOU BRAVELY.

And here I close with a full to bursting heart and our family motto:
Be Silly
Be Honest
Be Kind
And Love like Jesus.

Happiest thirteen to you my Sweet Baby Girl.
With all my heart,
Mama


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