Dear Emily…

 My sweet baby girl…or as I call her “my wit-el-bay-bee” has been in this world for 4 weeks what an impact she has had.  Everyone prepared me for this life changing experience, I can’t tell you how many times I heard, “your life is going to change!”.  For a while there I didn’t feel all that different, I thought I had missed out on something, or I was weird because I didn’t feel like a different person.

But, over the weekend I got it!  I figured it out!  It’s not that I am different all of a sudden, it’s that I’m more “authentically me”.  Emily has brought me a renewed sense of purpose in my life.  I’ve always had this list of dreams and aspirations I wanted for my life and now that she’s here, I’m not just starting at that list, but crossing things off.  I’ve always wanted to be a real author…we’re on track now. Someday soon, maybe we can see one of my books on the shelf at Barnes and Noble!

Her existence on this planet has made me a stronger woman.  I want to be real with her.  I want her to see me as a strong woman that she can look up to and aspire to be like.  That means I’m going to have to work hard, she’s watching every move I make, staring up at me with those great big blue eyes.  It’s a responsibility that I am thrilled to have.  It reminds me of the famous poem from Maya Angelou called, Phenomenal Woman.  To me, the poem is about a woman who loves her body and her personality no matter what the world might think of it!  The only way I can teach Emily how to never stare at the mirror and feel defeated is to model these characteristics myself.  So, Emily dear, my precious “wit-el-bay-bee”

I will be healthy for you.  Mentally: I will not seek into depression.  Physically: I will take care of my body and teach you how to do the same.  We will not fill our bodies with junk, and we will not be inactive.  Girl, we are going to get out there!  I never want you to stare at a mirror and frown, I want you to smile!  Spiritually, I will outwardly crave and seek a daily relationship with God, so you will too.

I will be happy for you.  I will not sulk and become defeated when things go wrong.  I will model for you how to handle fear and defeat with grace and optimism, relying on God every step of the way.  Never blaming God for bad things, but believing in God’s promise of a confident expectation of good things from Him.  I will show you hope for our future.

I will not be self-deprecating.  I will not be critical of myself or you.  You will never hear me say bad things about my body, hair, nose, etc.  You will never hear me say I’m stupid or dumb (or my but is too big).  I know that when I criticize myself you will learn it’s okay to do the same.  No way girl!  We are going to see ourselves the way God sees us!  We will only speak good things about ourselves and others. 

I will pursue dreams and encourage you to do the same.  I want you to be a dreamer.  Think big, plan big, and big will happen to you.  Never back down, never think “I can’t”.  I promise never to tell you your dreams are too big or limit you from achieving them.  Your Dad and I will do everything we can to help you achieve all of your dreams and never discourage you. You can do anything you set your mind too!  God is on your side and you are highly favored. 

So many women spend too much time unhappy with themselves, feeling like we don’t measure up.  I want her to grow up and be totally convinced that God is enthralled with her beauty inside and out, no matter what mistakes she might make in life.  There are too many times I’ve heard people talk about God allowing bad things to happen to them because of mistakes they’ve made, or so God could teach them something new.  I never what her to believe that is true. 

At one time in my life, I thought that way, and it was so unbearably difficult to cope with my parents divorcing, and my teenage rebellion.  I actually thought that God wanted those things to happen to me.  I even talked about it when I was at a church youth camp and church people actually thought I was so wise and strong to come to that understanding.  They did that silly…”shake their head and mumble mmmm thing” while I was talking to signify they understood.  What I wish someone would have done is pull me aside and tell me that God is good and explain that the concept actually goes against everything that Jesus teaches in the Bible. 

My theory is, when people talk like that, it’s their way of placing the blame on someone else because it’s too painful for them to realize that it’s their own fault.  We mess up and deal with the consequences, but God never purposely harms us to teach us.  The Bible says he doesn’t test or tempt us, He will not harm us.  He doesn’t put us in the valley of the shadow of death He leads us out of it!  No wonder people get angry with God and choose not to believe.  If we walk around telling them that their problems are from God, how could they love God? Jesus understood that and preached about unconditional love!  So, let’s do the same! 

Here’s my first of many letters to Emily, straight from my journal today…

My prayer today Father is to be an example to Emily of a woman that recognizes and applies your strength in life.  A healthy woman mentally, physically, and spiritually.  A woman that is not depressed, a woman that is in good shape and treats her body as God’s temple…a woman that walks with God and recognizes Your constant presence.  I have to be that woman so she can too. 

Emily, I promise not to be critical of the way I look.  I promise to exercise and eat healthy to be happy and live long enough to see hug and kiss my Great-Grandchildren.  I will not pass along the cycle of depression that the women in our family have struggled with.  You are the first in a new generation to break the cycle. 

Your first lesson from mommy about God is:  HE GIVES YOU STRENGTH to do anything you want to do as long as you include Him.

“I can do everything through Him who gives me strength” Philippians 4:13

Take your dreams my sweet girl and ask God to help you achieve them (He gave you those dreams in the first place).  His strength isn’t the kind of muscle strength that your Daddy has.  It’s like nothing here on earth.  God’s strength means “to enable”…it makes what seems like the impossible…possible!  It helps you achieve what you ask God to help you with.  It means you are not alone.  It’s as if you want to lift 100 lbs over your head…alone it seems impossible, even painful, but once you say a little prayer and ask God to help you, you lift whatever you can and God will handle the rest. 

Always remember my girl, that you are strong and God is even stronger.  You do your part, then ask God for help, and he will make the rest possible! 

I love you,