It was a short four years ago that our family welcomed you into the world. While I can remember the details of your birthday like it was yesterday, I can also step back and marvel at how much has happened in your short four years.
Our family has traveled thousands of miles each year, whether it was to see extended family, to accompany Daddy on business trips, or to enjoy vacations at Disney or the beach. Annalyse, you are eager to experience the world. Sometimes hesitant at first, but usually always ready to participate or try once you see your older brothers give something a go.
Our family anticipated the arrival of a new sibling and we grieved together when we had to say a sudden goodbye before we held him. You were just old enough to be incredibly excited about the idea of a new baby joining our family, but just young enough to lack understanding about why that baby wasn't going to come. But even still, you knew how to pray and pray you did. For Mommy. For the baby. For our family. Your simple prayers encouraged my hurting heart.
And most recent, we welcomed our newest family member, Jaxton Isaac, into our home and you have enjoyed the whirlwind of newborn activity. You went from being the little sister to being a big sister with a huge smile, with willing servant-heartedness, and with eager expectation. You have become my right hand helper and I depend on you in ways I didn't expect from my little girl.
Annalyse, you are beautiful because you are "fearfully and wonderfully made; [God's] works are wonderful, I know that full well." (Psalm 27:4) Your clothes don't matter. Your body will always change. But your actions, your words, and your attitude - those are your choices. Choose wisely and you will radiate true beauty.
You have a tender heart and desire to serve. As you grow you're going to see your friends give incredible attention to their toys and clothes and appearance. I pray that you will know people look "at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." (1 Samuel 16:7b) Use what you have and what you can do to serve others.
Annalyse Joy, you are loved and cherished. You hold your own but have a compliant heart. You communicate freely and explore bravely. You are a gift I didn't dare to dream for and a treasure way beyond what I deserve. Happy Fourth Birthday Sweetheart!
"The Lord has done great things and we are filled with JOY..." Psalm 126:3