Today is daughter Maggie’s 25th birthday.
She is an amazing young woman – shiny and fun and creative as a toddler’s birthday party. But also sincere and committed and serious about the sobering things of life like injustice and world poverty.
On this, as on all birthdays, I look back and remember the day she was born, stubborn from the start, refusing to come out without intense prompting even though my body had been saying it was time for over a month.
I also look back to my own 25 year old self and have been reflecting on what I would say to her and to Maggie.
I think I would say…
Don’t let this discourage you, but the older you get the more you’ll know how much you don’t know…how little you’re sure of. But that’s ok because it will help you to ask good questions, listen hard, and strain to hear God’s voice through His Word and others.
And as you do, you can remain certain of at least these three things.
1. You really do matter. The world is big and you’re so small, but even your little choices make a difference. Don’t ever “despise the day of small things” done with great love. Remember the theory that a butterfly flapping its wings in one part of the world can set in motion a chain of events that will lead to a hurricane somewhere else? Flap your wings. You matter.
2. Everything really will be ok. You’ve made mistakes before and you’ll make them again, and some days you’ll be sure the sky is falling, but the longer you live the more you will remember that the One who hung the stars is still on duty, holding them in place.
You’ll experience His mercies, new every morning. Again and again. Ever faithful. He really does cause all things to work together for good, even when that’s painful. And He really can redeem anything. Anything.
3. You are not alone. Even when you feel most alone. When someone has hurt you or betrayed you or you’ve lost something. No, no one has lived your story, but others have had chapters with similar themes of loss or fear or conflict or joy, and God has given them to you as companions, as well as Himself. He’s the sure thing. You are beloved.
Sweetie, anyone can write these words, but you will have to live them into your bones. I know that you will. You will stretch and ask and risk and hope and pray.
And you will run your race “not somehow, but triumphantly“. Surrounded by a “great cloud of witnesses” cheering you on. With Daddy and me in the front row.
Happy Birthday Magpie.