I write. I blog, I publish, I read, I journal, I write. It is me. Naturally, I write to my daughter. On May 15, 2007, I began a journal, written to my girl. Today, I cracked open those pages and read:
The good man brings good out of the good stored in his heart. – Luke 6:45
My sweet Madison, above all, I pray that you will know God. I pray that He will claim your heart and that you will passionately love and serve Him. I pray that you will bring God glory and that you will enjoy Him. I pray that Christ will store up good in your heart and that it will overflow to all those around you. I want to use this journal to keep a record of my prayers and my memories of you. I pray that you will realize how much Christ loves you and how much I love you! ….I LOVE YOU BECAUSE YOU ARE MINE! AND I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU! There is NOTHING you can do to keep me from loving you! I never want you to sin, but you will. And even if it hurts me, I will always love you! I always want you to talk to me. There is NOTHING you can’t tell me. I LOVE YOU!
As I read these pages and as I read these words, the emotions and memories of love could not be contained. As I wrote these words, I barely knew my Madison! I did not know that her little head fuzz would grow to be beautiful blonde hair. I did not know that she would spend her piggy bank money on Labor Day weekend, as an eight year old, and proudly purchase a snail for her aquatic collection. I did not know that on a hike she would beg her Daddy to pick up a snake and “swing it above his head.” I did not know that she would adore and strive to be like her older cousin Conner. I did not know the creature of habit that I held in my arms that would struggle without knowing the day’s schedule. How could I know she would crave mac and cheese or that she would fill her journal with drawings of animals? I basically knew one thing about that little baby, SHE WAS MINE! And I adored her! I loved, and still love her so much that it is even hard for this writer to put it into words.
But something happened from the time she was an infant to the time my daughter grew to be a third grader hopping out of my car and running off to her classroom: I got to know her a little more! And something happens when you get to know someone a little more.
It would be the epic fail of a mother if I did not correct my daughter as she grew and learned and tested the limits. We have all been around the little brats that complain and whine and get their little ways absolutely all the time. They have never heard that little word that will eventually rock their world: “no.” These are the cute little babies that grow up to be useless to our society because, as Momma did, they think everyone is out to serve them.
Therefore, when I look at my journal of my declaration of love to my daughter and then when I have a morning when I had to discipline her for being sassy, has my love altered? Have things changed since I have seen her quarrel with her friends? Is it different now that she had an all out tantrum in the middle of Pet Smart because I would not allow her to adopt ANOTHER dog? Have things changed now that I know the frustrations and the sacrifices of being a mother? YES!
Absolutely things have changed since the day I wrote that journal page to my almost three month old little baby girl! I LOVE HER MORE! Love is an action. Love is when I sacrifice my career to give my daughter what I think is best. Love is when I do not get the house I want so that we can afford the school that is the best option for her. Love is when I do not have what I want so that I can give her swim team and school supplies and allergy medicine and all the million other things that kids require. Every loving parent has a particular sacrifice that fits completely to the specific needs and desires of our particular children. Love is when I am patient while she is figuring out who she is. Love is when I react to what is best for her, not best for my reputation. And perhaps the greatest of all, love is forgiving. Love is when she messes up, when she really is rude and selfish, and I forgive and I continue to love, loving more and bigger because my love has done something and grown over an obstacle it had never been over before. Love is working out who she is, what she does, and who she is to become. And I can’t wait to see who grown up Madison is!
Why oh why God, why do you love me like you do?! BECAUSE I AM HIS! His love has done the ultimate! FOR ME, he hung on the cross, was separated from the perfect relationship that he had known for all of eternity, and suffered an excruciating death because there was an obstacle to overcome to be with me and he did it. I rejected him, I chose my own way, I was rude and selfish and I threw an outright tantrum because I did not get what I wanted. And he forgave me. And then he loved me still! And I see that when I came to him as a little bitty baby Christian and he held me in his arms and he loved me, he proclaimed, “I have a plan for you. It is going to hurt sometimes. You are going to mess up. But we are going to work out this salvation thing together.” GRACE! Oh, the grace of Jesus!
And I pick up my journal that he wrote to me and I love it and I soak up those words of the Bible, but he gave me even more than those holy words. I have a daily relationship, living with a God that doesn’t just write about his love for me, I am living in that love each and every day. And one day I will be completed and he will present me, completely holy, righteous, and redeemed and I will be forever who I am made to be. And I can’t wait to see who grown up Caroline is!