Thursday, October 2, 2014

Altogether Beautiful: A Letter for Your First Year of Life

Almost three months ago exactly, I landed on a plane back in the United States after living for six weeks in Johannesburg, South Africa caring for precious babies every day. The world likes to call them orphans, and I catch myself doing the same thing from time to time, but I deeply believe in God’s eyes they are not left or alone, they are deeply loved by Him and simply yet to be found by their forever families.

Each of those precious babies stole my heart, but one grabbed me in a way I will never recover from. I went to change her life and she ended up eternally changing mine. This week, she turned one and my heart aches that I can’t be there to hold her, to stand on the balcony every night and tell her how loved she is. This letter is in the mail to South Africa in hopes that one day, when she’s old enough to understand the words; someone who loves her deeply and has taken her in forever will read it to her and remind her that she has always been deeply loved.   

My precious T,
                This week you turn one and my heart aches that I am miles and miles away. I only wish that I could be there to hold you and watch you take your first steps. You are always in my thoughts and I love you more than anything. On your first birthday, I wanted to tell you a few things you will need to know in this life.

1.  Love Deeply

You light up a room with your smile and laughter. Never lose that unsinkable joy, it will carry you far. Open your heart to people. Sometimes it will get broken, but the return of loving people well is worth the risk, always.

2.  Never stop believing in yourself and others.

You have a twinkle in your eye that shows you believe you can do anything- and you can. I knew it as I watched you learn to walk, falling 100 times and giggling as you stood back up to try again. I knew it as I watched you learn to give kisses. You bit my nose every time, but you grinned like you had done the most amazing thing. Never lose your wonder. Dream big and continue getting up and trying again. You can and will do great things my love. I believe in you.

3.  Follow Jesus with reckless abandon.
You will find this one hard sometimes, when Jesus seems far away or life seems unfair, but He is always with you baby girl. If I could wish one thing for the rest of your life, it would be this- that you would learn to love Him deeply and allow yourself to be deeply loved by Him. Spend time with Him, get to know Him. He loves you more than anyone, so much that He died to bring you freedom and eternal life. Cling to Him and let Him carry you through this life. There is nothing of greater significance than this (Jeremiah 29:13).

4.  Know that you are, and have forever been, loved and wanted (Jeremiah 31:3).

God created you and knit you before you were born with great purpose (Psalm 139:13-17). He loved you from the beginning and He has such incredible plans for you. I used to hold you on the balcony every night as the sun was setting and tell you these things. I would pray over your sweet life and the big plans God has for you and then I would remind you and pray that you would always know- You are NOT a mistake, You are loved, and You are eternally wanted. God loves you and so do I. Never ever forget that!

There are a million things I want to tell you, but for now, these will have to do. Please know how deeply I love you. I think of you daily and am always praying for you and your future.

“You are altogether beautiful, my darling” Song of Solomon 4:7

I crossed oceans hoping to change lives, and in the end, you have forever changed mine.

With all of my heart,
                Auntie Hannah

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