My oldest baby turns twelve today. She’s my responsible, independent girl who loves walks in the fresh air, spaghetti bolognese and chocolate ganache drizzled over cupcakes. Occasionally she still lets me sing her a song before turning the lights out for bed, but these days she usually falls asleep with the light on and a book in her hand.
Lately I’ve found myself counting, tallying the time we’ve spent with her versus the time we still have left before she flies away to college. When I was 18 years old, I left home to study and never moved back again for longer than a few months at a time. My guess is that her trajectory will be similar. If it is, we have about six more years before she strikes out on her own. We’re two thirds of the way there (suppressing a sob as I type).
A Decade of Becoming
The next decade is defining in so many ways. In the years between twelve and 22 she will make decisions that will close some doors and open others, meet people who will shape how she thinks and feels about the world, about others, about God. She will become her own woman. This is a decade of becoming.
Since this upcoming decade is bound to be one of the definitive thresholds in her life, I want her to step bravely into it with my blessing.
For a month or so I’ve been praying for the words to share with her on this day. As a mother I want to speak words that communicate the delight that sharing life with her brings and the good I envision for her future—words that breathe life.
Blessing as Gift
A blessing is a prayer crafted to be spoken to another in the presence of God. It’s a deeply relational form of intercession because it’s prayer that is shared. A blessing is prayer as gift. A blessing is prayer that invites communion.
I wrote the words of the blessing by hand on the pages of a journal I gave her this morning after breakfast. I asked her if I could share them with you.
A Blessing on Your Birthday
Remember that evening when we were walking by the water just before sunset and you coaxed a wild bunny to eat from your hand?
You knelt down in the green grass and waited by some blackberry bushes, your open hand filled with some freshly picked grass from the field. You were only six, but you waited still and patient and gentle, as the rabbit hesitantly inched in your direction, eventually relaxed and approached to be fed.
Watching you that evening, I saw so many of the qualities we’ve been praying for since you were born—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, self control. May spiritual fruit continue to grow in your spirit to nourish others.
Ever since you were young, you’ve had a natural sensitivity to the beauty of the world. You marveled at color, form and light in flowers, plants and animals. May you crave beauty and goodness and be satisfied by the experiences God gives you as you move through the wonderful world He spun into being. May you look at the world around you with a sense of wonder.
May God bless you with creative, trustworthy, generous friends
Every day I see you changing and maturing in so many ways, some observable, some under the surface of your skin. Gradually you’re defining the boundaries of your own space. As you become more and more your own person, realize the people God brings into your life share in helping you become the person you’re meant to be. May you be drawn to friends who delight in your particularities and encourage you to be yourself, rather than trying to shape you into their own image.
The best friends inspire. They see the potential in you and help draw it out. They never shame, never manipulate, never belittle. Friends aren’t captivated by surface appearances, but look toward the heart. May you be the friend to others that you want others to be to you.
Over the next ten years you will meet so many different sorts of people—people who act differently, who think differently, who believe differently, who make choices and respond in ways you might not understand. Even when you feel confused by the different, remember that God’s image is imprinted deep within each and every one of them.
May you honor the image of God in each person by relating to others with dignity, kindness and love.
May you find a still, steady center for your soul
May you be comfortable in the world, but not of it. May you be comfortable moving among different circles of people, engaging with a range of ideas, traveling to new places. May you find a still, steady place within your heart that is a refuge when it seems the world is spinning out of control. May you hold fast to Jesus, the anchor of your soul.
May you have the confidence and freedom to ask hard questions. Ask, my love. Ask and keep asking. Seek and keep seeking. To seek self, to seek others, to seek God is to live.
To be real, your faith must be your own. Our faith is not fragile; it won’t break under the weight of questioning. It is deep and wide and has been enriched through two thousand years of reflection and study by Christians around the world. I won’t be able to answer all your questions, neither will your dad or your teachers; but you can trust scripture to light your way and the Spirit of God to lead you to truth. May you bring your questions to God the foundation of reason and the source of wisdom.
May you be embraced by a family of faith
In the next few years there may be moments when you feel lonely, when you feel that no one understands you. There will even be moments when you’re not even sure you understand yourself. May you be patient through the loneliness, knowing it’s an opportunity to listen for God’s voice. The Lord will speak, sometimes in a very still, very small, very quiet voice that’s only possible to hear if you’re alone and paying attention.
May the loneliness only last long enough to teach you that you’re never truly alone.
Your cross-cultural experience of church has been very different from mine growing up. I know the worship and the teaching feel distant because they aren’t in your heart language. But I promise that if you are patient with the church, you will find living water that will satisfy your soul. Wherever you are in the world, may you be knit into a family of faith where you feel revived and refreshed, where you worship in spirit and truth, where you learn to love through serving.
Every moment of every day, may you be certain of one thing: that you are loved. You are loved by me and your dad, by your family and by God. This is not a love you earned. It’s not a love that you can lose. You are loved beyond comprehension, beyond expression, not because of any particular thing you’ve done, but just because you are, because you exist in the world. You were given to us and you will always be part of the fabric of our lives. May you meet God each day and allow him to speak truth into your inner being about your inestimable worth and your welcome around His table as a beloved daughter in Christ.
May you sense the presence of God protecting,
and surrounding you.
May the steadfast love of the Lord cover you,
For any parents out there who want to learn more about blessing your kids, I highly recommend Gary Smalley and John Trent’s book: The Blessing: Giving the Gift of Unconditional Love and Acceptance
Two different friends gave me a copy of The Blessing when they heard I was researching blessing in the Bible. This practical book focuses on five dimensions of giving a blessing. It’s an accessible introduction to the concept of blessing children within a family that is faithful to the biblical foundation.
Copyright © 2016 · All Rights Reserved · Tina Boesch