And the child grew and became strong in spirit: Happy 1st Birthday, Shelby!!

My precious Shelby,

Today is a very special day. It is a day of celebration, of remembrance, of thankfulness. Yes, I think you could say today is my Thanksgiving Day. You see, you were born one year ago today.

I knew you were coming; I just didn’t know you were coming that day. I expected you to be born nearly a month later. Yet, June 7th, 2011, was the perfect time; it was your time. I called your daddy the minute I felt you on your way.

 We couldn’t wait to meet you, and at 6:04 PM, you came into the world.

You were oh-so-tiny when you were born; just 5 lbs, 10 oz. The clothes I brought to the hospital to put you in were so little that I feared you would never wear them. But when we dressed you to take you home, you swam in the tiny outfit, and you looked so lost in your infant car seat.

 You were strong, though. Just seconds old, still moist and messy from the womb, you showed strength and independence. 

There is much to tell you about that day, and about the year that has followed. But on this day, my Thanksgiving Day, I must tell you something important, something I want you to know and remember always. Your life, my little one, was spoken into existence, planned, ordained, and blessed by a holy and loving God who holds your life in the palm of his hand (Ps. 119:73, Jer. 1:5, John 10:29). Each day you draw breath has been woven together into a tapestry of grace by a heart of Love. The hand of the Almighty knit you together, and it is by him that you live, move, and have your being (Ps. 139:13, Acts 17:28).  

My tiny Peanut, the Giver of eternal life is the Giver of your laughter. The Author of Salvation is the Author of your faith (Heb. 5:9, Heb. 12:2). The Maker of heaven and earth is the Maker of your body (Ps. 146:6, Ps. 139:14). The hand that holds the tides is the hand that holds your life (Job 38:8-11, Job 12:10). The Keeper of the stars is the Keeper of your tears (Ps. 8:3,Ps. 56:8). The One that orders the wind and the waves is the One that orders your steps (Matt. 8:27, Ps. 119:133). The Lamb that shed His blood to redeem your soul is the Lion that has triumphed and overcome death…to win your love (Rev. 7:14, Rev.5:5, John 3:16).

When you were just three weeks old, your daddy and I presented you back to your Maker, who entrusted you to us. Strength, power, and dignity were the visions for you that day. Your daddy and I, along with members of our family and our church family, gave our word and promised our undying efforts to stand in the gap for your soul and raise you according to God’s Word. 

The journey of parenting you these past 12 months has given me immeasurable joy, awe, and wonder. From the moment of your birth I have pointed you to the Savior. My sweet child, there is only a short lifetime to say all that there is to say, and how quickly the time passes. Yet with all my heart and all my strength, I will live the rest of my days helping you know the Lord. I will work to support, educate, train, and inspire you to be a woman of character, committed to the values of Christ, duty, honor, and country, prepared for excellence and service to God and others. I pray, my little one, that you become a fierce and feminine warrior for the kingdom of God, one to storm the gates of hell, and bring down the enemy’s strongholds in the name of Jesus. I will support the unique and special talents God has placed in you and help you to see that you can do anything he calls you to do, because he goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you, for this God is your God, forever and ever; he will be your guide even to the end (Deut. 31:8, Ps. 48:14).

You are a precious, spirited, happy child, Shelby, with a smile that enchants angels. I see God’s image in you, and I will look forward to watching him work in your life and on your behalf. My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me when he gave me you (Luke 1:46-49). I love you deeply and desperately, little one.

Happy 1st birthday, Shelby Deanne, your adventure has just begun!