Sunday, July 29, 2018

Mercedes' Eighth Birthday Letter

My Dear Sweet Mercedes,

Today you are eight! It is my absolute joy and delight to watch you turn into the amazing little person that you are. I love you more than you could ever imagine and I am so incredibly proud of you!

Ever since you were born, I have been praying fiercely for your heart. I have prayed for you to have a heart sensitive to spiritual things. A heart open and willing to accepting Jesus, a heart that loves Him deeply and a desire to walk with Him and let Him lead you through life. My greatest desire as your mom is for you to have a relationship with Jesus, a love for Him that is stronger than anything else in your life. And ever since you could talk, I have had the great privilege and joy of watching God answer my prayers for you. You have always had a heart sensitive to God and sensitive to sin. You have always had the desire to pray, to learn, to grow closer to Jesus and to hear His voice. Your heart breaks when you become aware of a sin in your life that creates too much "noise" to hear God's voice. This year in particular, I am blown away by your relationship with God and the way that you two talk with each other. Time and time again you have mentioned that He has told you something and I can quote a scripture back to you with the same truth that God has revealed to you. Many of these are scriptures you've never heard before.  Other times you mention God telling you something specific in your own life and then that something comes true. There is no doubt in my mind that Jesus is speaking directly to your heart. I admire your relationship with Him so much and I have often told Him I hope when I grow up I have the kind of relationship with Him that you do! You have the childlike faith that Jesus says all of us need. This is such a beautiful thing for a parent to witness in her child. I cannot express how much it means to me to see you walk closely with Jesus. God teaches me new things through you, constantly. You are such a wonderful blessing. It is truly an honor to be your mom.

I am doing my best to feed your hunger for Biblical truths and spiritual growth and wisdom. We start every day off memorize scripture, pray, read the Bible and read from a devotions book every morning during breakfast. We learn worship songs, talk about God constantly throughout the day and end the night talking with Him too. You love church and Sunday School, especially when your daddy is your teacher. You have discovered Adventures in Odyssey this summer and most days during Dominick's nap time, you, me and your sister will color and listen to Adventures in Odyssey together, discussing the lessons afterwards. You enjoyed both Vacation Bible School and a week of Morning Star Bible Camp for the very first time this summer! I love that you have other adults in your life who are teaching you the same truths I am about God. My prayer is that you would have lots of older and wiser brothers and sisters in Christ to look up to, seek council and wisdom from and turn to for help and advice. You have made new friends this year at Dazzlers, church, VBS and camp. I pray that you will find best friends to go through life with. Friends who love Jesus and will build you up and encourage you as you grow. I also pray that you would become that kind of friend as well.

This year, you have taken off reading. You devour graphic novels and chapter books. You read on your own constantly. Reading is such a beautiful gift and I am so happy to watch you become obsessed with the written word. You also love to write your own stories and journal. Reading and writing is becoming a passion for you. Me and you share a journal that we write letters in to each other. This has become an important way for the two of us to stay connected since you often times have trouble expressing your feelings or telling me what's bothering you out loud. Our journal has become another answer to prayer as I have always asked God to help me find a way to connect with you. Your introverted tendencies are something I will never understand, and it always breaks my heart when I can tell you are having an internal struggle that you don't feel comfortable talking with me about. 100% of the time, if I ask you to write it out instead and share it with me, you will. My prayer is that this special way of communicating with you even when it's hard will continue through your teen years!

Your love and passion for dance increases constantly. You have just completed your 3rd year with Dazzlers and are absolutely thriving. This summer you were able to take some extra technique classes at Dazzlers to learn new tricks and gain new skills and better flexibility. You are not just cute and fun when you dance anymore. You are also graceful, skillful and beautiful. You dance with your heart and you love every second of it. Watching you dance makes my heart happy, my eyes tear up and gives me chills! You are already dreaming of your Senior Solo dance when you graduate from High School. I would love it if your passion for dance continued through your childhood! You love creating your own choreography at home and dream of teaching dance when you grow up. I am excited to see where this passion of yours takes you in the future.

You are still taking gymnastics during the summer and practice all year long. Every year you get braver, more confident, more flexible and can do more tricks! You and your sister make up gymnastics performances for me to watch in your room and at the playground. You are proud of your cartwheels, tricks and flips! It's so fun for me to watch you grow in gymnastics every summer.

You also love to swim! We go to the pool, the lake and you take swim lessons every summer. This summer we have been going to the lake a LOT, and you've discovered how to do handstands and flips in the water. You've also been giving your sister "swim lessons" to help her gain confidence in the water. You are a fantastic little teacher! Teaching swim classes is also on your "to do" list for you future.

This fall you will be in 3rd grade and are excited to start a new school year! I absolutely adore homeschooling you and I feel so blessed to get to be the one to help you learn. You have a passion for knowledge and truly enjoy your school work every day. I still can't get over the fact that you will be in 3rd grade this fall. 3rd grade is a big deal, kiddo!

You still love to bake, craft and anything creative. You have plenty of sweetness and plenty of sass. You definitely have a goofy side, especially when you are playing with your sister! The two of you are best friends...always giggling, making jokes and silly faces and coming up with funny games between the two of you. I know having a little sister can be "annoying" (your word, not mine) but you are incredibly patient with your sister. You are also the BEST big sister to your little brother. The two of you adore each other. You are quick to step in and help whenever Dominick needs something and I'm busy or too far away to help him out immediately. You are my constant helper. Your latest career dream is to be a dolphin trainer in Florida. You wrote a research paper for school about dolphins and now you are obsessed with them! They are currently your very favorite animal.

I am more proud of you than I can express. I am so blessed to be your mom and I thank God every day for you. I am so excited for your future and I can't wait to see what this next year brings for you. Happy Birthday, Baby Girl. I love you!