When we walk down a road we’ve walked before, have a similar experience as we’ve once had, or do a repeated action, those things often go unnoticed…until we walk down a road that sends part of our heart out the door. Two years ago I left part of my heart in the four walls of a college dorm room, and today I give another part of my heart to similar walls in a different dorm room. Today, in many ways, marks the end of a road of preparation, of years of being home with you, taking care of you, teaching you, making memories with you…all with the intention I was giving you wings to soar. How easy it would be to hold tight to you forever and never let you go? I could keep you here, safe, secure, aware of every single detail of your life, but today I choose to look at as an “I get to” day. I get to watch you make a life for yourself that is the story that only you and God must write for you. I get to watch you grow in confidence of who I’ve always known you are, to now taking that confidence to chase your dreams. I get to rejoice in knowing that God gave you to us to prepare, to invest in, to help guide so that you would be ready for this day to come. You were never fully ours because you are first fully His, a gift on loan to us – and what a GIFT you have been! You’ve taught me more about myself than I knew before. In the first moments you entered this world and were placed in my arms, I knew our journey together would be special. Big eyes. They drew me in, and even then I probably knew that your world would become one of WONDER. Curious, adventurous, in the thick of it all – that’s always been YOU! From a little girl who hurt when anyone else hurt, I saw a nurturer who has now become a young woman who desires to nurture relationships. My little girl who has always trusted everyone had their best interest at heart, I’ve had to watch you walk through hard times to learn that not everyone is good, but God still is. My “never-runs-out-of-things-to-say” girl that would often leave my head spinning, I now see God using those words to be shared in obedience as He leads you to share your story of redemption. You’ve never been afraid to love people by asking them the tough questions, even when it’s burned you, but that’s where I’ve learned from you the most. You are unafraid to ever see your friends and family walk down a road that would hurt, and even kill, them…so you ask, you challenge, you care! It’s that hard road you’ve walked down that keeps you jealous for your circle because you know the hurt. You’ve lived the hurt. You’ve walked away from God…and you remember what that feels like. So, when the world around us often says tough love is to remain unspoken, you, my girl, have reminded me that tough love is often the BEST love because it’s a save-a-life LOVE, and don’t we all need saving? That is what you have shown me and done for me, my second-born. You have lived out, “There is no fear in love,” and “Perfect love drives out fear.” Maybe you don’t get it right all of the time. Maybe it seems too strong…seems too much…but, you keep loving the best you know how, and it will be your love that best shows who you are because that love shows who God is, and at the end of the day it’s BECOMING love that will change the world! Go become LOVE, my girl! Don’t give up when you get discouraged your love isn’t returned. Don’t stop loving because it’s uncomfortable, hard to speak, or harder to show. Just become love by striving each day to become more like Him.
Bailey Claire, you are one of God’s greatest gifts to me. I will miss your seeing your face everyday, watching you make perfect cups of coffee, hearing your hysterical laugh throughout the house, seeing you pour over your Bible every morning (and currently digging deep to get through the book of “Judges”…wow!), your constant “reasons” you MUST go to Barista Alley every. single. day, your kisses every night before you go to bed, and I’ll miss the one who will bluntly tell me if my outfit is a yes or a firm no before I head out the door. I will simply and deeply MISS YOU, so while you aren’t far away, I know my adventurous girl will slowly go from frequent visits to your journey taking you away from home more and more, and to that I say, “Go with every ounce of love that we have for you and CHASE YOUR DREAMS with everything you have! We believe in you!” Those walls of a dorm room may have you for a season, but I thank God everyday that I have been given the gift to love you for my whole life!