I could not let this day pass by without saying a few words about this momentous occasion.
Twenty years. Can it be so many years since I brought home the most gloriously sweet baby girl? Her tiny head covered in dark, dark hair? Only twenty-one myself, young, unmarried, unsure, I had no idea what it would require of me to bring up a child. I had no idea what gifts it would give me in return, all of them of much greater value than any I had to give. At twenty-one, I was full of self, full of insecurity, full of fear. But my loving Heavenly Father had given me one wonderful gift already and I was to receive all that I needed from Him through the years. His first gift to me was my own mom, not a perfect mom, but a beautifully flawed one who loved me and made sure that I knew she would love me always, flaws and all, no matter what. And I was surely full of them, but I knew, I had been taught, to love my baby with all that I had within me and I did, and I do! Then, my Heavenly Father gave me the gift of Himself, through salvation. The transformative work He has done in my heart, gently, patiently has been a long one and continues, but I thank Him that He helped me to walk out this transformation in front of my own daughter’s very eyes. Indeed, she knows me as well as anyone and has been the recipient of the fruit of my flaws as much as anyone, but through the grace of God, she knows the power of repentance and forgiveness. And He gave me the gift of a God-loving husband who grew to love my little girl with heart of adoption, and the heart of a daddy. And God gave me the gift of knowing that my girl also loves Him. Not because of me, indeed, sometimes in spite of me, she has come to know the love of her Heavenly Father as well, and I am so grateful. When I see my beautiful daughter, she is so many of the things I wish I had been. She, through God’s gracious mercy, has been able to avoid many of the pitfalls and sins I fell readily into at her age. As I look forward to celebrating life’s milestones with her, it is with a grateful heart that she will not have many of the regrets that I had. There was a time in my life when my little girl and I were just another statistic, an unwed young mother relying on welfare and food stamps to get by, another brick in the legacy of dysfunction and fatherlessness and poverty, but my very big God has turned us into more than a statistic-indeed there is no one who is a statistic to Him-He has picked us up, turned us around and given us a legacy. Thank you, Father, for my daughter. Happy birthday, Allie. I love you times a billion.