becoming

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Celebrating our little girl’s birthday this week got me thinking… raising a daughter is bloody. At least raising this one. Even in the womb, I felt her struggle to fit–always stretching and jabbing her pointy places into my tender spaces. Flash forward several years, she’s never without a bruise or scrape {she proudly displays}. Her life and energy crashes into the walls of the world. And it leaves her bloody.

From her grand entrance ‘til now, this girl makes me stretch. There’s almost too much of her to fit into her continually sprouting form. Will she ever be  contained? No. I think not. She’s not meant to be. We can only pad her landings, offer safe places to emerge, and remind her she’s not in charge. This requires a steady supply of chocolate–for her and me, the kind support of many friends, and knees bloodied from desperate prayers.

Most of the time, I’m what you might call the trainee in this relationship. I’m getting schooled in extraversion, food aversion, and mess immersion. This girl can turn a neat place setting into a hazardous waste area quicker than we can speak “bless this mess.” Our dog loves her and the wake of crumbs and sticky spills she leaves behind.

Bless her, she was born into a house full of introverts. The three of us cover our bleeding ears and look at each other in wonder. I try to direct her gift of words and wind pipes toward operatic bath times or cranking up the radio on car trips and belting out Mumford. On occasion these strategies minimize the curdling howls of rivalry and low blood sugar rants.

And then there’s the joy and frustration of the fierce love between a mother and her daughter. It’s just, different, than a son. Not more or less love, just an inherent tension since Eve, I suspect. Perhaps the curse of birth pangs are lifelong for some. There is an inexpressible delight in discovering you will have a daughter to relish being a woman with; but also a bit of anguish at knowing so well what it takes to be a woman. There will be blood.

Will she experience it? How each relationship is pregnant with the possibility of so much richness, and also so much pain? Does every woman struggle with insecurity and pride? This strong desire to nurture, but also self-preserve? It will not be without pinching and scrapes that you turn from the child marveling at every move of your mother in the mirror, to becoming the woman who will struggle to embrace her own reflection. There’s just so much more to a woman than meets the eye.

The way I see it, her parents may get a lot wrong along this journey. Still, we have the privilege of not just witnessing her transformation, but joining in as she struggles. Our part to play includes ennobling her when she feels like she’s not enough. Celebrating her when she feels like she’s too much. Her Daddy encourages her strength and notices her beauty. I whisper through her tousled locks, snuggling in the dim of night, “Be brave. There’s more to you than meets the eye.” We will wonder together at the story of her. Will she save lives? Will she adopt a little girl? Will she dance? Will she float down the canals of Venice?

I will introduce her to my Rescuer. With Jesus, I can promise her a way, that whatever the pain, the scrapes, the aches, she will never be alone. I can promise her that right in the middle of a mess—her mess, she can be free. Because she is not just our daughter, she’s a daughter of the King. He will listen to her tell the stories of how she got her scars. And He will show her His. By His blood she can be healed.

Once our little family waited and watched over five cocoons. Then one morning we woke to 5 beautiful butterflies airing their fragile wings, and we saw what looked like blood. The pamphlet told us it was red meconium, metabolic waste from metamorphosis. It makes sense doesn’t it? Becoming, it is messy.

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~For her little birthday party we encouraged our guests to donate their spare change rather than bring a gift. A simple way for the birthday girl to turn receiving into giving. She would use the donations to bless someone else who really needed it. She ended up with $135! And she opted to give all her money to His Chase to support our orphan friend Bizimani James. $100 allows him the opportunity of attending a wonderful school in Rwanda. Do you want to share in the fun of supporting one of the 241 orphans who need to go to school? Yes? Click here to find out more. We treasure the correspondence with James. And we are honored to play a small role in his becoming.

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