A few days ago, we walked through one of my favorite stores. You remarked about how I like to go up and down each aisle, and I whispered the excitement of something unique on so many shelves. I gasped over one piece, and you laughed at how I fell in love.
A few aisles over, you were the ones in love. There were dolls, and each of you found one perfect. Your heart yearned for those toys so badly, and faces dropped when I said we wouldn’t be buying them. I thought we were about to have a toddler show down, but it was resolved and you all shuffled away sadly, even as I reminded you how I, too, had just walked away from something my heart fell in love with.
But, sweet girls, our hearts are deceitful. They tell us that something (or someone) will make us happy, and though it may for a tiny bit, it is not a lasting happiness. The truth is, I wanted to buy you those dolls so badly. But, it wasn’t a wise choice, not just financially, but for your character, as well. To give you everything your heart desires would be to cheat you.
There are so many things I want to give you, things you can hold in your arms or play with all day. But there’s a different list too. A better list. There is a list of experiences I want for you, and this is the beginning of my bucket list for your lives.
I want you to laugh.
not just any laugh. girls, I want you to laugh at each other. with each other. I want you to laugh when you nervously ride with each other as teenagers with big dreams and small experiences. I want you to laugh with joy when each of you comes to the others with life announcements of wedding bells being planned or sweet new life still hidden away.
I want you to laugh at yourselves when you realize you’ve taken yourselves too seriously. I want you to laugh when it’s late and I have yelled at you to sleep, but you cannot contain the mirth at the moment and you giggle away despite me.
I want you to laugh when it hurts; when your heart is breaking and it feels like your world is ending. I want you to laugh, and I want you to see that laugh as life inside yourself and hope that your world will still go on.
I want you to slow the rush.
I want you to slow down when the world hurries you on. I want you to slow down when mama hurries you on. I want you to listen, and not just hear. I want you to notice those the rest of us rush past. I want you to take your time and make the good choices. Even if it means we will continue being late for everything for the next 18 years or more, I want you to learn to consider choices and people. Consider God’s will and His perspective. Because sometimes, habits form small. What begins as considering exactly where the location of a shoe has the potential to blossom into “how are my words going to affect her?” Which leads me to the next desire…
I want you to be a friend
a good one. Yes, I want you to laugh and take your time as a friend, but more importantly, I want you to be a blessing. I want you to say the hard thing, in the gentle way.
I want you to swallow hard and die to self and consider others more important than yourself. Because being a friend isn’t the same as having friends.
I want you to show up with help when you are needed most. I want you to have the blessing of being a blessing. That’s why we’re blessed in the first place.
I want you to be hurt
now, stay with me a moment, because London, I can already see your eyes getting huge. We know that muscles cannot become strong without exercising them. You cannot be strong without the same. And I want you to be strong. I want you to withstand the hurt of the world, to look past the lies and cheap shots and stand at the end victorious able to hear, “well done, good and faithful servant.” But, as hard as it is, I know you cannot do that without hurt in your heart, but I want it to be hurt that heals.
True strength is born out of those times when you answer, “I’m good,” but you really mean, “I feel like a crumpled up piece of paper left on the floor.” It comes from times when you have the wind knocked out of you from life’s hard hits, and sit alone processing how to pull yourself together. But when those moments come, that is when that laughter and those friends and each other will pour their own blessings out and anoint you with God’s grace. and, oh, I want you to have that anointing.
I want you to feel insignificant
I want you to stand before a tree larger than you’ve ever seen. I want you to stand at the edge of the ocean, water pulling sand from beneath your feet. I want you to lie in the dark beneath a star filled sky. And in all of those moments, I want you to feel tiny, insignificant. I want your problems and our world to shrink and God’s majesty to boom. I want you to learn to number your days, and to make the most of our very short time on this very small planet.
Because it’s all a vapor. We are hear for a short breath of time, and then we are called away. You are all so little now, so far from giggling teens in a car or grown sisters whispering heartache over coffee. But, at the same time, it was so little time ago that I held you new in my arms. One eyes wide open, ready to take in the world. One, broken-hearted to be in a new place and away from the comfort you had known for 9 months. The other, so in need of the comfort of your people.
It’ll be here before we know it, girls, these moments of life that kick us when we’re down and make us laugh until we cry. So, I want you to be ready…not ready to take on the moments. You can’t prepare for such. But, I want you to be ready to hold tight to each other. To do the right thing. But mostly, ready to see God’s hand in every moment whether the tears made are from sorrow or joy.