Today is your birthday – a milestone birthday. As I think back to the year of your birth, I remember those hot, humid days of August winding down and yet you were reluctant to leave your mama’s womb. August turned into September and still we waited for your arrival.
Finally, nine days ‘late,’ you arrived in the middle of the afternoon on this day. When the doctor announced you were a beautiful baby girl, I wasn’t surprised at all. Your sweet little face captured everyone who met you, and your daddy, your big sister, and I fell instantly in love with you.
Your name means lively and that’s surely what you were. And happy and sweet and oh, so very full of joy.
Before I knew it, you were a toddler dancing through the house singing, always singing, and making a joyful noise even if it was in a language only you understood.
You loved people, being with young and old alike, and telling long stories in your babbling private language.
You were always doing and you were fearless. Climbing the ladder of the highest sliding board in the park, scaling kitchen counters, exploring outside, riding your bike down hill at breakneck speed, running, playing, laughing, dancing. No doubt that’s why you wanted to be ‘on the go’ and loved playing soccer so much for so long.
And all too soon, you were leaping onto the big yellow bus heading off to kindergarten, so proud and excited to be going to school where you could learn, and do, and make new friends. Ever the social bee, you made friends easily and your elementary teachers always told us everyone wanted to be your friend.
Even at a young age, you showed compassion and caring for others. When a combative little girl with Down’s syndrome was mainstreamed into your classroom, you befriended her when most of your fellow classmates stayed away from her. That little girl loved you so much. She listened to you and would stop hitting people when you calmly reasoned with her on the playground. She ran to hug you every time she saw you. I think she recognized the very sweet soul inside of you.
You were the peacemaker in friendships and between your older sister and younger brother, a position I know wasn’t always easy for you – that middle child thing. When arguments arose, I distinctly can remember hearing you say, “Can’t we all just get along?” And the time you talked to a friend who was ‘fighting’ with you by saying, “On the road to friendship, we’ve taken a wrong turn.” Even though you were just a child, you still exhibited wisdom beyond your years.
I know the years of middle and high school weren’t the easiest for you because you left some very good friends, who shared the same beliefs and values as you, behind when we moved from the Pacific Northwest all the way across the country to my old hometown. Your real, honest faith and sticking true to your convictions didn’t make you the most popular girl in school, but it made you the nicest and kindest.
And even though you were soft-hearted and sensitive, your fierce fearlessness showed up on the soccer field. I will never, ever forget watching you as the only girl on that boys’ traveling team. You were their best goalkeeper and you astonished players and parents alike when you challenged a big, brawny opposing player trying to take a shot on you in the beginning minutes of one game.
You charged forward, threw yourself on the ball, and he sailed over you landing hard on the ground. Boys on the other team were incredulous and I could hear them saying, “that’s a GIRL!” while your male teammates were proud to have you as their starting goalie that entire season.
You learned about adversity while competing for a playing spot on the boys’ high school soccer team when the girls’ team disbanded. You learned life isn’t always fair either and that lesson would carry you through some difficult times ahead.
Before Dad and I could believe it, you were off to college. Again and again you faced challenges and even some major disappointments. But you never gave up even when you suffered a concussion serious enough to end your soccer playing days and threaten your nursing studies.
Instead you persevered and showed great strength through each difficulty you endured but most of all, your faith and trust in God increased. And you used that inner resolve and perseverance to complete your bachelor of science in nursing and switch sports to the college cross country team.
Your compassion for others and tender-hearted faith led you to take numerous mission trips from medical missions in Mexico to ministering to Native Americans in Arizona to rebuilding and clean-up after Hurricane Katrina in Mississippi.
And all of these experiences and challenges prepared you well for your work the last six years as a confident yet very caring hospital nurse. Your patients are blessed by your competent hands, sincere heart, and your sweet spirit.
My darling daughter, you are amazing.
As you reach this milestone birthday – your 30th – you have accomplished a lot but God has so much more in store for you. Because now, you have been given the most wonderful gift – a beautiful baby girl of your own. You are the mother I always suspected you would be, a patient, loving, devoted mama and it comes naturally to you. The fierceness you once displayed on the soccer field now shows in your determination to protect and take care of your child in the best way possible.
You are strong, smart, and you are incredibly brave, even though you don’t think you are. You have always been a loyal daughter, sister, wife, and friend, and now can add mama to the list. And, oh yes, still the social bug who loves people and being surrounded by family and friends for fun times.
Right now, you may be facing the most difficult set-back in your life, yet you are doing so with great strength and even greater faith in God while you put your child first, which is exactly what a devoted mother does. Your trust in God and reliance on Him does and will continue to sustain you no matter what comes your way.
I’m not only very proud of the woman you’ve become, I admire you so very much, not just for your strength and fearlessness, but for your loving and forgiving soul, extending that graciousness to others, even those who have hurt you.
Daughter, I see Jesus in you and what more could any believing parent ask for?
As we celebrate you this day, I recall the beautiful blessing you have been to us these last 30 years and I give thanks to God for you and for the joy and privilege of being your mother and now the grandmother to your adorable child.
Today as you turn 30, I hope you realize it is just another milestone in the journey of life. There is so much more on your horizon and this is just the beginning. Our omnipotent God has awesome plans and great purpose for you and your life. The best is yet to come, I believe that.
God’s Word tells us that the Lord had some astonishing plans for those who served him and they started accomplishing His will when they turned 30:
- “Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from Pharaoh’s presence and traveled throughout Egypt.” ~ Genesis 41:46
- “David was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned forty years.”~ 2 Samuel 5:4
- “Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry.” ~ Luke 3:23
Continue to put your faith and trust in the Lord; He loves you beyond measure and He will bless you, guide you, and make a way for you.
Believe His promises, especially Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
I can’t wait to see what your future holds. I think you will be astonished. And Dad and I will always be supportive whatever the future brings.
Happy 30th Birthday, my beloved and beautiful daughter!
“Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” ~A.A. Milne’s Christopher Robin to Winnie the Pooh