I loved you before I met you. When your mom told me the news that she was pregnant with our first child, my heart was overwhelmed. I was partly overwhelmed because I had just started a Master’s degree
program, and had planned to work only part-time. We had planned for you, but God’s timing was a little bit different than ours. I wasn’t sure what adjustments we would have to make, but I knew it wouldn’t be easy. Despite the added hardship of having to continue to work full-time and go to school full-time, my love for you, even before I met you, removed my fear and made a place for you in our home and in my heart forever.
The first time I laid eyes on you my heart was full of joy. From the start it has been such a blessing and a joy to share life with you. You have been with us through many, many good times, and also the bad. Regardless, I am glad that you have been with us through it all.
Your mom and I have done our best, but at times we have fallen far short of being the people God created us to be, and the parents you needed us to be. Forgive us for where we have failed; be thankful for when we have succeeded. And know that even the hardship by God’s grace will work together for God’s good and eternal purpose for you in Jesus Christ.
I am amazed by and thankful for the gifts and talents with which God has blessed you! Your sharp mind and steel will have brought you tremendous success. You learned to walk without one of your hip sockets; you were determined to get around even in a spica cast after surgery; and you learned to walk all over again when it was removed in spite of other complications. You have had to deal with so many challenges and setbacks, including with your very sensitive skin. Yet, in spite of it all, you have never wavered in your determination to succeed in life.
When you were dragging yourself around in that cast, I knew you were headed for success. Your accomplishments are amazing, but not surprising. And I am thankful that you have used your talents and abilities, not only to attain accolades for yourself, but also to bless and buildup the church and others.
Not long ago, you asked me, with some incredulity, how your life turned out the way it did. You were remembering a time when you were on the brink of making some
really bad decisions that would have taken you down a wide and destructive path. The answer, of course, is in your name, grace, God’s grace. At some point you decided to follow Jesus, rather than just following your heart; that has made all the difference.
Your mom and I have tried to teach you the best we can. I am thankful for all the long talks we have had, although you probably wish they hadn’t all been quite so long. Of course we have prayed for you all along the way. We prayed that you would not just know about God, but that you would come to know God through Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit. We prayed that you might be born; we also prayed that you might be born again.
As much as I love you, God loves you infinitely more. He loved you before the foundation of the world. He formed you and made you even in your mother’s womb. You are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14 ESV). By the precious blood of his Son he saved you from sin, and by the power of his Holy Spirit he has remade and is remaking you as a new creation in Christ Jesus (2 Cor 5:17). Whatever great plans you have for yourself, God’s plan is greater. Your life is not your own; “for you were bought with a price” (1 Cor 6:20). “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Col 3:17).
I remember being amazed how fast time had gone by when you turned eight, and then when you were in the eighth grade. Now you are eighteen! I pray that you will continue to follow Jesus all of your days, with all of your heart. The journey will not be easy, but the destination is worth it. You are my precious, precious daughter; most importantly you are a beloved child of God. By God’s grace live fully into that calling. Forever blossom to the glory of God. And always, always know that you are loved.