Happy Birthday, Emma!

You’re the baby, the last one of 4 … so I knew this milestone would come and it has. God knew you were the last missing piece that my heart, and our family, needed in order to be whole and complete.

You are one of a kind, Emma. I am sure most parents say that about their kids, but it’s one of the truest things I can say about you. You are brave in every way that matters. You stand firm for what is important to you, but even more importantly, you let the waves of drama break around you. You don’t flail around, tossed about in an ocean of indecision. You are only sixteen, but you know who you are.

You are talented. We knew it when you used construction paper, shoe boxes, material scraps, and duct tape to make paper dolls and an elaborate house for them. We became even surer of your gifts when you started singing “I Can Only Imagine,” every week before Sunday school. When you rose to the academic challenges at school and excelled, we knew your plans and dreams had roots in real intellect and talent.

I admire your originality. You don’t try to fit into anyone’s mold but Gods. You are who you are, and you don’t bend for anyone but Jesus. Your firm foundation in your faith and genuine convictions are the things I pray the most that you never lose. I think that must be every mother’s dream for their daughters. That they grow-up to be who they are intended to be without letting the world change them. I see that passion in you. The refusal to change who you are to be who others want you to be, and I’m so proud of you.

You have taught me about compassion, kindness. courage, and how to see the best in things. These are gifts I cherish, just as I cherish our friendship.

As you approached this milestone and I reflected on your life, I am thankful that God didn’t always allow me to fix the things that challenged you growing up. I see now that you were never meant for an easy path and it’s made you who you are today. Sometimes struggles are exactly what one needs, just like a caterpillar working it’s way from the cocoon. The struggles made you strong, and that strength has shown me what is possible when we forgive, love, and hold tight to the things that matter.

You have no idea how beautiful you are. I’m not sure if it is humility, or that you are wise enough to know that outward beauty is not what matters most. Whichever it is, you are even more attractive because you do not define any part of yourself by how you look.

I’m so excited for your year 16. I don’t pretend to know what God has in store for you, but I know that you will approach it the way you have everything else. You will face and embrace it, you will love those around you with all your heart, and you will boldly walk your own path.

Wherever God takes you, I hope you always know how much I love you.

Mama

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