My Daughter's Two Loves -- A Birthday Tribute

In honor of my daughter's birthday on Saturday, I'm reposting a birthday tribute from three years ago. Happy Birthday, Kristen!

I fell in love with her when she was a foot in my side and a hiccup under my rib cage. Like a weird scene from the movie The Exorcist, I’d watch my growing belly rise and fall while her various appendages took turns jabbing and kicking my vital organs. A most efficient miniature kick boxer, she was famous for her stealth attack just as I had settled down, unsuspecting, for the night. Sometimes I envisioned her standing on my bladder and streeeeeeeeetching all of her 21-1/2 inches of height to pat me on the head--through my throat. 

How a curly-headed blue-eyed cherub was born from such ignoble beginnings, I know not, but when I clasped her to my heart for the first time, I knew not only that I loved her, but that I would die for her. It’s a good thing we got that settled early on, because twelve weeks of colic might have undone a lesser commitment. 

I remember the first time she laughed. Not just a snicker, or a chuckle, but an all-out belly laugh. It was such a big noise from such a small child that it caught me by surprise, and I laughed in response. Then she laughed, and I laughed, and we were in love all over again.

Early on I prayed two things for her. That she would love God with all her heart, and that she would love books and reading. Those were my two loves, and I couldn’t imagine a daughter of my flesh without either. 

The first was easy. What child wouldn’t love the God who loved her first? The One who knit her together, placed her in her parents’ arms, and gave his Son to purchase her place in Heaven?

Although her initial faith prayer came early, as simple child-like faith often does, with each dawning awareness of how much bigger God was than she ever imagined, she revisited that commitment. God has always stood the test, and her commitment continues to grow. It was birthed in childhood, and it is blossoming in adulthood.

And the love of books and reading. Now that came at the price of many tears. Kindergarten phonics lessons left us both in despair—frustrated, impatient, and discouraged. But we persevered, because we knew what the prize was, and it was worth having. The day she read the first American Girl book from cover to cover without assistance or tears, oh, what a glorious day!

And through the years, this sharing of those two loves, the love of God and the love of books, has been the vehicle that has formed her into the lovely young woman she is today.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future” (Jer. 39:11).

On this, her birthday, she is living that hope, and the future is bright.

Happy Birthday, Kristen.

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Mat. 6:33).

I love you very much!

2015 Update: Now my daughter has THREE loves. On March 8, we welcomed our new son-in-law, Michael, into our family.

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