Today you turn ten. You’re ready to change the world. You’re flipping over the leaf of your first completed decade and I am both inconceivably delighted and utterly terrified. There is no turning back. This is double digits. In some marketing demographic circles you are now officially a tween. Pardon me while I pause now and gag a little at that term.
I have a hard time comprehending how we got here to ten. I feel as if it’s been barely a blink since I was being bossy-pantsed into an ER for an emergency C-section; strapped down to a table barely able to breathe (why do they strap you down then they’ve just dosed you with the meds that render you immovable – why?); and then gasping unbelieving as they lifted you over and above the drape for your daddy to nestle you next to my cheek. Remember how I stayed up for forty-eight hours straight just looking at you? Remember how I worried about your ears – wondering if they would ever unfold – or if I would have to tape them to your head when you started school (birthing drugs and no sleep – I’m telling you). Remember when we had those first couple of years together? Where I got to be there all the time – when I got to be the one? I could go on and on in my memories and it will still feel like a flash, but it’s been a decade. Ten years. And we’ll celebrate today.
It will be the traditional breakfast – doughnut and strawberries. The weeks leading up are full of planning and sneaking about as we order presents into the house and drive home with a backseat of helium balloons and zero visibility. All fun memories. All things that make you smile.
But as the years have gone on and I have grown as a woman, as a mother, as a person, I find myself praying that there will be more that you remember than my crazy ideas about ears that won’t unfold and an annual doughnut. I want so much more for you.
I want you to remember my passion for writing, words, and language. And I want you to adopt it as your own. I know I’m supposed to let you pursue your own dreams, and I will, don’t worry. But like I’ve told you before, writing and words – they’re impressed into your DNA – and I’m going to do my best to give you the most they have to offer.
I want you to remember the relationships that I’ve learned to cultivate – how to have good, strong, supportive, meaningful relationships with women who love the Lord and share similar appetites and aspirations. I want you to remember what can happen when women pray, and how small groups of women who step out in faith and trust God and dream big – how we can move mountains in His name.
I want you to remember how I learned to see the world differently after walking with Him in the desert. That losing what I thought was important led me to find out what really was and how I discovered that being broken is only a pathway to being made whole.
Bella, as I think about the books that I’m wrapping up for you, the necklace with the verse that you’ll be wearing, and oh mercy, the Skylanders that you will be screaming over soon, I also want you to remember how incredibly blessed you to be born into this family in this place I this time. Not because we’re a family of wealth and influence (we’re not), but because in this time and in this space, you have the opportunity and the freedom to grow, be, and become exactly who God has in mind for you to be.
As I write this on your birthday, a special group of writer friends and I are launching Phase Two of the dream that is the Maubane Community Center in South Africa. 150 adults and about 250 orphans and vulnerable children meet in this open space for church, for meals, and for play. Lisa-Jo Baker – with whom we write the Five Minute Fridays – she had this dream to raise the money for a center for them – complete with garden, kitchen, playground, outreach hall, and classrooms.
It’s time to fund the kitchen.
(Click here to go straight to the Pure Charity site)
Bella-girl, remember how much fun we have when we’re in the kitchen together? Cooking up stir-fry? Making chili? Or frying up your favorite toad in the hole? Can you imagine trying to do that without a real kitchen? In the midst of dry dust and no running water? These people do – and it’s time to help them have something a little more.
These kids do not have piles of books or video games. These kids don’t have to worry about picking up tons of clothes the way you hate to because they might have one or two outfits. Period. They don’t have trampolines in their back yard or iPods or laptops. But they have love. And they have Jesus. I want you to remember that.
Because I want you to remember that love is best when it is a verb. And that sometimes, you can change the world one carrot, one brick, one classroom, one mom at a time (says the indomitable Lisa Jo). I want you to remember that we love because He loved us first. And that love asks – requires really – that we love back. That we give back. That we not stay comfortable with our piles of good books and great laptops and cool games. We need to be uncomfortable because that it when change happens.
I want you to remember that your Mama grew into a woman who wanted to live in the margins – a little on the outside – a little uncomfortable. I want you to remember that I pushed – that I always tried to push for the voice of those who didn’t have one. I want you to remember that I did these things with my trust fully planted in the God of the universe whose overwhelming power and abundance causes me to believe in things I have no business believing on my own, but that I can believe completely while resting in Him. I want you to remember that I taught you to do the same thing.
And baby girl, I want you to remember that if you do these things in Him, you too, can change the world.
To learn more about this project and this community and how you can get involved, visit the Pure Charity website for the Maubane Community Center in South Africa. Every bit that is donated and shared makes a difference. Jump in with us and change the world.
Click here to visit Lisa Jo Baker's site and read about five fun ways you can change the world.