Dear Eleanor Jane,
From the moment I found out you were joining our family, I learned a valuable lesson. I learned the truth about how much “control” I really do possess. I could do all of the right things a pregnant woman is told to do-eat a nutritious diet, take vitamins, rest, etc, but I couldn’t guarantee another day of your growth and development. I couldn’t (and can’t) dictate your life span or quality of life. I can do everything in my power to help along the way, but ultimately your future isn’t up to me.
Because of this, it made me really start thinking about my role as a mother and the promises I want to make to you.
While your health and development are important to me, more than anything, I pray for your heart and mind. You are constantly being pursued by a loving and faithful God. I pray that you would have a heart and mind aware of and willing to accept the tremendous love of Christ. I pray that out of the abundance of that love in your life, you would openly and willingly love and serve others.
I pray that even though I can’t always keep you safe, that you would find our home to be a safe place. Not only in literal terms of protection from harm, but also that you would feel comfortable to come to us with any questions and doubts you may have. Also, if you do make a mistake (and you will), that you will always have loving arms to run home to. We are not capable of perfectly demonstrating the love of Christ, but because of His grace in our lives, I know we both will try our hardest to point you to Jesus instead of adding to any guilt or shame you may be feeling. He frees us from that, and I hope day by day, you choose that beautiful gift. I know we won’t always get it right, but I promise to constantly examine my heart and mind and seek repentance when I respond out of my own flesh. Love can be such a funny thing—you can want the absolute best for someone so strongly that you can so easily lose sight of how to be loving in order to get your own version of “the best.” This does not mean that there won’t ever be discipline or correction, but with Christ’s help, we will try our hardest to be loving during those times.
I pray that you would also give us grace when we mess up (because we will). I decided a while ago that I will not try to project a false image of “perfection” when describing my own life or when trying to teach you about life. While having morals and making good decisions produce many benefits (and help you avoid a lot of unnecessary pain), those are not the things that save us. It’s humbling to know that right now, in whatever state or situation we find ourselves in, we are loved. We do nothing to deserve it, but it is freely given to us.
I pray that we will raise you to think for yourself and to speak with conviction and boldness. We will raise you to the best of our ability teaching the Truth that we believe, but ultimately your acceptance of that is up to you. I pray that we would help enable you to think and question, to research and examine, and to stand by your beliefs with strength and conviction. It is so easy to be swayed in so many different directions, and each direction produces it’s own questions and demands allegiance in one way or another. While I hope and pray you will choose the path of God and His Grace, I don’t want you to be manipulated into that belief. Also, I pray that you would overcome any fears you may have about being different. I struggled with the prospect of being different -it scared me and it hindered me in many ways, not only spiritually, but academically, socially, and in a lot of the decisions that I made.
Lastly, I pray that you would have a life filled with joy. We want to give you plenty of reasons to smile and find enjoyment in life, but during the tough times, I pray that you would be filled with a security and joy that God can provide. There is an unending hope for the believer that cannot be taken away during any circumstance. During our time on this earth, suffering and trials are inevitable, but with Him, we can overcome anything that comes our way.
While I haven’t quite met you yet, I am surprised by the amount of love I already have for you. You have filled a place in my heart that I didn’t know existed, and I know that place will continue to grow as you enter the world and become a huge part of our family. I’m excited to grow and learn together. I’m excited to see the traits of your personality and how you grow and see the world. I’m excited to see how God uses you. I’m excited for giggles and snuggles. I’m excited to see your interactions with your daddy—you are going to be one lucky little girl to have him as your dad. I thank God that He entrusted us to be your parents and we are counting down the days until your big arrival.