Today you are five, and as I watch you twirl around the room free in the confidence and self assurance that comes with childhood, I can't help but wish that, for a moment, time could stand completely still so that I could bottle up this version of your precious, little self. Not because I want to keep you this small forever, but because I know that with each passing year, the voices of this world will threaten to chip away at that innocence little by little.
As your mother, I want to protect you from those losses because I understand the pain that accompanies them. But in the same breath, I know that it's in those moments with broken hearts and shattered dreams that you find your strength. Instead of trying to protect you from every painful season, it is my prayer that the Lord will give me the wisdom to fight your battles on my knees instead of giving into the temptation of fighting them for you.
As I write this, you are wearing a leotard and fur coat, TOGETHER, as you practice "gymnastics" on my yoga mat. Your biggest concern today has been that you couldn't find the right shade of pink to color Minnie Mouse's bow, and your biggest disappointment so far has been that you didn't get the toy you wanted in the McDonald's Happy Meal. Oh, sweet girl, things won't always be so simple, and your heartaches won't always be so easily fixed.
But what will stay the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow is the Father's love for you. No matter where your journey in this life may lead, you can walk in the confidence of knowing that you are fully loved by God. It's in loneliest valleys that He will become the lover of your soul. It's on the darkest nights that He will sit with you in the quiet and wipe every tear from your eyes. It's in your weakest moments that His strength will be made perfect. It's through the most sorrowful tears that He will turn your weeping into rejoicing. It's in the midst of your most terrifying storm that He will whisper, "Peace be still."
No matter what you face in this life, Ellie girl, it is my prayer that you will know and rest in the love of your Redeemer's embrace. I can't protect you from the storms of this life, but I can lead you daily into knowing the ONE who can. And it's in His presence that you can live in the gentle confidence that you have to today as a sweet, five-year old little girl twirling across the room.
I love you, Ellie. And I can't wait to watch you grow into a woman of faith.
Happy Birthday...love, Mom!