An Open Letter to my Daughter on Her Sixteenth Birthday


I sure do love you Jadie-babe. Please know that down to your core. Always know I love you, think about you, hope for you and wish for you joy, love and oh-so-much happiness in your life.

Where did the years go? It seems like just yesterday your Dad, Joey and I were waiting to meet you. Anxious to know what you looked like. Would you be a blondie like your brother or a brunette? Would you have any hair at all? Whose eyes would you have? What would your laugh sound like?

We had so many questions.

And then 16 years ago today, all of our questions were answered.  I became a mother for the second time around. They placed you safely in my arms and I fell in love with that sweet little dark haired, round faced girl.

I credit you for teaching me one of life's most important lessons...when I was only a mother to Joey, I often wondered if it was possible to love any other child with the depth and intensity and ferociousness that I felt for him. I couldn't imagine it. But when you were born my world got a little bit brighter, my heart cracked open a bit more and our lives felt complete.  I can clearly remember the day we brought you home...I was sitting on the couch nursing you while Joey played and I glanced at both of you and in my heart I knew my life was complete.

I cannot believe that today you are turning 16. It seems like only yesterday that I rocked you, while singing you are my sunshine, until you fell asleep. Only seems a short time ago that I was watching you take your first steps. Of course those first steps quickly turned to running to chase your brother around the house, with mouth wide open, in hopes of biting him. How many times I watched you spread your littlest pet shops on the living room floor and play with them for hours. And oh, how many times I watched you come down the stairs with the craziest outfits on we've ever saw, proudly proclaiming you were ready to go to Jesus {church}.
I am so grateful for you, Jade. You are amazing and one-of-a-kind. You are hilarious, passionate, filled with a strong sense of right and wrong, artistic and oh so caring.

Oh my beautiful Jade...cherish your body. Look at it and know it's beauty and strength. When you look in the mirror, be grateful for your vision. Notice the potato nose passed to you from your father. The beautiful blue eyes given to you from your Great-Grandmother. And your curves given to you from your Mama.  Being a woman is a gift.  Always remember God gave us, as women, the gift of softness, femininity and beauty. It's our responsibility to convey those with respect. Allow your appearance to reflect your pure and virtuous heart. Know your worth and reflect it on the outside. Your body is a gift from God!

You have such a tender heart filled with compassion and mercy.  And in that tender heart there has always been a place for children with special needs.  I will never forget how upset you were when a boy with special needs was being picked on in school.  You immediately jumped in and put him under your wing.  If that meant you taking the teasing for him, you were willing to do that.  You developed an instinct and desire to protect them by going through your own struggles with Dyslexia.  You've never once been afraid to step in and defend someone when it was called for.  You are aware of how great and wide God’s love for you is and you share that with others.

God has a purpose and plan for your life Jadie.  Always follow His lead and He will take you amazing places.  You are God’s handiwork, crafted by Him and for His good pleasure.  He uniquely designed you to be you alone, comfortable in your own skin.  Never will there be another Jade.  Never will someone else impact the lives you have and will in the future as only you can.

Your sense of humor and ability to be absolutely random is truly amazing.  That coupled with your personality is magnetic, drawing people to you. You are the type of person people want to be around!  You make them happy, make them laugh and make them feel good. That is a gift Jade, a gift obviously given to you by God.  We’ve had soooo many great times laughing in this household. Thank you for making me laugh.   

If there is only one thing I want you to remember and lock in your heart, it's this: love the Lord with all your heart, mind, and strength, and love your neighbors as yourself. These truths, combined with the strength of your wonderful character, have the power to change the world.

I am so very proud of the young Christian woman you've grown into. With so much sin and worldly ways around you, you aren't afraid to take a stand for what you believe in. You set your values in your heart long ago, and you aren't willing to waver on them. Nor are you afraid to tell them to others. Your views on modesty, pre-marital sex and drinking can be heard during so many conversations you have among friends. But yet, you have a grace about you that doesn't look down on others for not having the same opinion as you. I absolutely am so proud of you for that!

My job as a mother is to create a home of love, laughter and security where you can cry without fear, grow without judgment, and discover without prejudice. Even though I’m not perfect and have failed at times {many, many times}, you need to know we are here for you always.

The hardest thing I’m ever going to have to do is allow you to spread your wings and fly. But you're a child of God, only loaned to me for a while. I cannot wait to see what your future holds, the joys and challenges that await you, the legacy your life will create.

I want you to know that being your mother is the single greatest privilege in the world. You have made every single day a complete joy.

Love you my baby girl,

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