To My Mary Alice girl on her twelfth birthday-
Yikes! Twelve? Really? Could it be that your time in our house is two thirds over? It boggles my mind that there are only six more years before you will be considered a legal adult? Crazy! So now, two weeks later, I will undertake writing a birthday letter to my special, fabulous, super mature twelve year old...
Mary Alice, you are so special to your Dad and me. We love you immensely. I love seeing the young woman you are starting to become, watching you grow and change and mature. I will attempt to capture a little of who you are at age twelve and some of what the past year has held.
This is the first year that I’ve seen big, huge leaps in your spiritual maturity level. You have changed a lot since you were eleven!! You possess a kindness, a care for the feelings of others, a self-control, and a sweetness that surpasses that of many mature Christians that I know. You have always been a bit of an old soul, but I’ve really noticed a marked difference in your spiritual maturity during this past year. I am proud of the way I’ve seen you treat some people this year who were being treated poorly by others. I am proud of the way you’ve been a friend to the friendless and done hard things. You know what I am talking about. I notice and God notices too. I think He smiles at your sweet spirit.
I am proud of the servant that you are to others. You step up where you are needed and do what needs to be done. What a hard worker! You are my right hand girl. :) Just last week, at Abel’s birthday party, we looked up to find that you had totally cleaned up all of the birthday decorations. You had picked up everything, gotten out the vacuum cleaner and cleaned the floors and entire room. You did this all quietly and without being asked. I was so proud! This was just one occasion, but you are always a willing helper at home. Thank you for being such a good help to me.
You are a nurturer. You have expressed interest in becoming a nurse one day. I TOTALLY see your gifts being in line with that. You love people. People love you. You are good communicator. You see needs before they are pointed out and get to work, filling the needs. You have a servant heart. You love visiting with elderly people. Whatever career path you choose, I see you excelling and being a world changer, one relationship at a time.
I see your gifts and talents being developed further this year. You are a FABULOUS cook. I can count on you to cook meals for our family on a regular basis and not be worried that we are all going to have to choke them down. I was SO proud of you when, a few weeks ago, you taught a lady who is much older than you to bake a layered cake. You figured out a way to work through the recipe, improvising and making do. Even though she had only self rising flour and no buttermilk, you figured out how to make a cake that was not only beautiful, but tasty. I was so proud to see your impromptu use of lemon juice and milk as a substitute for buttermilk and your makeshift subtraction of the baking powder because you knew that self rising flour would produce a mess of a cake! I promise you that I wasn’t that capable and confident in the kitchen at your age! You amazed me with your capability and quick thinking! So proud of you!
This year, you started your own blog, which I LOVE to read! You write about some of the things you've been making, recipes you've tried, things you've crafted. Love seeing the humor in your writing this year!You are SO funny and creative! You make me laugh hysterically with your crazy accents and impressions of people. You are mostly spot on. It is uncanny how you can imitate people, the way they walk, talk, everything. I especially enjoy your old Southern lady impersonation. God has blessed you with a wonderful sense of humor. I credit your drama classes with pulling some of that out of you. I am smiling just thinking about it!
Your dad and I can see God continuing to pour out the wisdom that we’ve prayed for you to have. I have been so proud of your discipline in Bible study over the past school year. This year, I loved hearing how your teacher saw your post it notes and decided to start implementing that same Bible study plan herself. That’s just how you are, Mary Alice girl. Your influence reaches farther than just within your peers. Your faithfulness in reading and service to others has the power to encourage others in their spiritual walks. Now that your Dad bought you a new Bible, you will have to start over on wearing out the pages. :)
You recently expressed to me your desire to mentor girls who were younger than you. I think that is a wonderful idea! I love watching you think Biblically and love seeing you make a difference in your world, being an example to the believers and non-believers in speech, in conduct, in love, and in purity.
On a less serious note, I was proud to run a 5K with you this year—Color Me Rad!! Before we ran, we were in SAD shape, embarrassing shape. Afterwards, we were buff hard-bodies, sortof. We ran faithfully from January until May training for this run. Even if you hate running and never want to do it again...I sure am proud of you for persevering and finishing! I didn’t always love the running part so early in the morning either, but I dearly loved praying with you on our driveway after our morning runs. I loved holding hands with you during our cool down walk each day. I have good memories of watching the neighborhood kids getting onto the school bus as we rounded the corner towards our house each morning , and how I always felt so thankful that we had that time together, just the two of us. It was hard. It was worth it to cross the finish line with you!! We did it!
Life is full of hard things that are totally worth it, Mary Alice. I see you doing hard things, loving others when it is hard, serving when it would be easier to sit and do nothing, being a friend to those who need it, trying hard to do what is right. I am so proud of you!
I can already see how God is using you, but wonder what the future holds for my Mary Alice girl. I can’t help but think that you will go far, that you will do many wonderful things to bring glory to God in your lifetime. It is our wish that you would love the Lord and His ways all the days of your life, however long that may be, that you would seek wisdom from His Word and strive to please Him in all that you do. It is our prayer that you would walk in truth and that you would bring others along with you in that way. We pray daily that if it is His will, God would eventually send you just the right person as a life partner. We pray for him too, knowing that your choice of a spouse will influence so much of what the rest of your life will be like.
I see you growing in wisdom and understanding and in love for God and others. I am so proud of the example you are to your dad and me. You are a joy and a blessing to us! I couldn’t have imagined what a sweet and essential part of our family you would be when you were born twelve years ago! I thank God for blessing us with you for twelve years. You’re a sweet one. I love you so very very much! Happy birthday, Mary Alice!!!