In just 16 days I will have a 5-year-old. This girl is growing in overdrive. Growing out of clothes, growing out of shoes, losing her first tooth, developing a hilarious sense of humor, starting an individual relationship with God. And I’m just crazy about her! I try to make “birthday posts” for each kid when they get a year older so that they’ll be able to look back on them when they are older and since we’ll have family in town the week of her birthday and things will be busy up until that point, I am writing Layla’s now!
The Bible says that when we follow Christ, we are adopted as children of God.
Ephesians 1:5 “God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.”
The opportunity to call you daughter, though you did not come from my womb, has been incredible for so many reasons. You are a pleasure to spend time with. You are bright and inquisitive. Your vocabulary consistently amazes me. You are witty and energetic. You are determined and strong. You refuse to get discouraged when you struggle with your sensory disorder. Even your hardest days of occupational therapy are still full of laughs and smiles. You are so many things that Mommy is not. Outgoing, extroverted, thriving on communication with others. You’ve forced me to be more personable because it is of the utmost importance for you to say hello to every person in our general area when we’re out in public. And that has made me better. You will talk about Jesus with anyone who will listen to you. In fact, last week when we left the gym, you cried for at least ten minutes because you didn’t get the chance to talk with your friends in childcare about Him. I love your heart. I love the way you always remember to pray for those who are less fortunate than us. Many times, you are my accountability. At 5-years-old, Layla, you are already an inspiration. So of course, for all of those reasons, I count you as a gift from God. However, one of the biggest reasons I count you as one of our greatest gifts is because, adopting you has reminded your Dad and me time and time again of what God meant when he refers to US as adopted.
The first time I saw you, that was it for me. I was in love. Daddy had the same reaction. And all we could do was seek after you. It consumed us. Our love grew and grew along with the deep longing to be your parents. And the way we rejoiced when we got word that you would indeed be ours was a kind of rejoicing that is so rare, so full, so intense. And to think, Layla, that our Father in heaven does the same for us when we come to Him. Isn’t that incredible?!
The day you came home with us, all the days before that were forgotten for us. All the tears, all the missing you, all the worries about what would happen. Immediately, it was as if you were always ours. No different than if I would have physically given birth to you. The days of you not legally being ours were erased. And now, in our day to day lives, we always forget you are adopted. Over time your mannerisms have become like ours, your humor has become like ours, your facial expressions have become like ours…because you ARE ours! And it’s important for me to explain that, because I want you to know that’s how God feels about us. When we come into His family and get to know Him and study His words, the past is erased. Our sins are forgiven and forgotten and we begin to take on His mannerisms. We start to talk and think like Him. We become more and more like Him. And oh how He must delight in that!
The security that you have found in Mommy & Daddy, the assurance that we will always love you and never leave you…those are great things to have. But I pray, more than anything else, that you will come to know and understand how much MORE you can count on our Father in heaven. May that love transform you every day. Daddy and I love you more than we knew it was possible to love a little human. But Layla, all that love is nothing compared to how greatly you are loved by God. While we will fall short, He will always be enough. And if we, with all of our imperfection, are capable of delighting in you like we do, can you imagine how much more you are adored by the perfect One who is the very definition of love? I pray you will grasp that at a young age because that knowledge changes everything. It gives us assurance in our salvation, it gives us the confidence to be who we are in Christ, it compels us to serve him with our whole hearts. It is so important, Layla.
Before you were created in your birth mother’s womb, Layla, God knew you. Before you were born he had set you apart. He has a specific purpose for your life that was planned before we even knew your name. From the beginning of time God has known your name. He has known from the start that we would be your Mommy & Daddy, known exactly who you would be and what He had in mind for you. We are so excited to get to watch that plan unfold. We promise to be in your corner, praying for you and cheering you on no matter where He leads you! We love you so much and are already incredibly proud of who you are becoming! It is a pleasure to call you my daughter. Happy Birthday, baby girl!