I brushed her hair away from the corner of her eye, staring for a moment into her deep browns and stalling time in my heart. She is growing up. Bursting forth before my eyes into a beautiful, radiant young woman. Where have the last twelve years gone. How can it be only twelve when she looks 16 teen and I feel like it has been 20. And isn’t time funny? In my mind’s eye she’s still a little toddler, on her knees pointing outward and upward toward the creeping buses lining the long driveway cutting through the center of campus.
Her life is odd.
She wasn’t even supposed to be here yet.
Our plan was to come back to this holy ground as she would enter high school. Instead, we arrived before she was even conceived. She burst forth into our world wrapped in grace. A firstborn child who shouldn’t have been to twenty-something parents without a clue. Her first home was shared with 40 teenage boys in a brick and pillar residence hall. Her first independent steps planted in the heart of boarding school campus on the way to the dining hall. Her first terrors at the sound of the tractor-mower cutting the lawn. Her first time being disciplined — all because his daughters were ones we knew and wanted her to emulate, and he endorsed Shepherding a Child’s Heart, which set the course for our parenting style. Her first disappointment at the betrayal of friends, the natural course of girls like sisters living in community. Her first dreams formed around the hoops and bleacher hours, as she dreamed one day she might also play hard on the court in front of her. And she will. This month. In her blue and white uniform, long coveted.
How did we get here?
Where hope begged and tears prayed for what she is now and where she wants to go.
She’s no longer a little girl. She is a seventh-grade beauty, conquering the pressures of social drama and academic challenges with grace and poise, tears and pouts, determination and discipline. She’s learned to persevere through emotional and physical pain. She’s becoming a comforter and encourager. A helper and friend. An independent thinker. A reflective and inquisitive soul.
We’ve trained her up for this time in her life. It was worth the effort. Every bit of required joyful obedience and heart-check up prayer has borne such tasty fruit. Every beyond bedtime conversation, filled with repeat and repeat and repeat of the same story-response-advice-encouragement ingrained in her mind our love for her and her ability to overcome through Christ’s strength.
She is becoming a woman of strength and dignity for God’s glory and because of His grace.
She is becoming a friend to laugh with and cry with and pursue God’s things together.