Tuesday, September 30, 2014

And Just Like That She Is Four

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. 
Daddy and I made major career decisions with significant financial implications, most of which happened unbeknownst to you. And although you were too young to understand my times of tears, moments of discouragement, and yes, even periods of nervous hesitancy, I pray that those times were a lesson learned for me so that when financial decisions like that happen again, because they will, I can demonstrate confident respect for Daddy and his efforts, and honest faith in God for his provision.

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.
Daddy and I made spent months in prayer before making difficult decisions regarding our family's ministry and worship with a local body. We struggle to help you understand our decision and that we believed it was an act of obedience to Jesus. While you were sad to say goodbye to so many friends and familiar places, you were willing to trust us and were brave in meeting new friends, visiting new churches, and trying new things. Not an easy thing for a little girl.

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. 
In four short years you've seen a lot of things change in our family. The pace of change only increases as you get older and begin to experience life. Please remember that no matter what changes you face, changes that thrill you or that discourage you, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." (Hebrews 13:8) Hold fast to this promise - it's the one thing that gives credibility to your prayers.

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

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