Today is Shelby's 4th birthday. There are days that she seems frozen in time, like a music-box ballerina ... like my mind and the world around us just slow to a crawl and that mess of curls unfurls like spun honey around her. Her eyes, twinkling innocence and smiles, dance around to see if I'm watching.
Part of me wants everything to stop right here. Lets just stay like this. But I know the whole point of being her parents is that we're raising her ... we're lifting her up to help her soar, the Holy Spirit under her wings ... I don't want to see her crash as she learns to fly, but I know she will. And momma will be right there to help her learn from the fall.
Y'all, I don't know if I can write this. My baby is four today. It has been four years since the best friends anyone could have stocked up our freezer, loaded up our apartment, and filled our waiting home. Since my doctor told us I was running out of time. Since my greatest fear in childbirth, being separated from Tim, came to be.
Sweet Shelby, we've been praying for you since before you were born and I'm not about to stop now.
Father, oh Father ...
You who understand a mother's heart better than any other ... thank You for entrusting this amazing spirit to our care. My greatest prayer for Shelby in these formative years is that You speak to her heart. Send your Holy Spirit to knock, to whisper, and give her the ears to hear You. I pray that she comes to know You early in life.
And Father, I don't just want her to know You as one passing through the flames. Please, even though it may take losses and hardships that break the mother's heart in me, teach her to trust You. Only You. Always You. That when we fail her, when the world betrays her, when the enemy lies to her, You are always there, always good, always loving.
Lord, I cry out that You will help her see that obeying You is the only way to love you and the best way to live. She's so independent ... I pray that independence will be utilized as a tool for your kingdom, a light in the darkness, and not a rebel flag in the desert.
Abba! Guard her heart. Set up a wall around her. I beg you to protect her innocence as long as possible. Protect her sweet, carefree, nurturing, loving, including, vibrant heart. Not encased in a bubble Lord ... but free to share Your light with an untaintable, tarnish-proof shine that knocks the enemies flaming arrows right out of their trajectories, smoking and broken, nothing but burnt-up sticks.
Give her hands that serve You and serve others. Feet that are swift to run to You, and swift to spread Your great news, Your rescue plan. Let her heart continue to grow in the love of Your praises, to sing to You without shame and without fear.
Father I have no idea how this swirling, whirling world around her is going to change. But I know that You are steadfast and true. You won't change. Let her see that. Let her make You her compass and happy place, her true North.
And if she is meant to marry ... Lord Lord, I pray these same things for him. Give him a fierce love for You. Protect him for her. Teach him all he needs to know to be the match for her. As much as I want to tell you know one will be good enough for her, I know You know better ... and that his momma would probably disagree.
For now, I thank You for providing for her - her family, our home, our provisions, our church family, our friends. I thank You for her light in our home and our lives. I think You for her health. I thank you for her sisterhood with Victoria.
Thank You for this undeserved blessing of being Shelby's momma.