Sometimes I am in awe of all the beauty that can be wrapped up in one relatively small person. Most days, when I have enough perspective to separate myself from all the things I have bouncing around my head and all the things I should be doing (or doing better), I am awe struck by the fact that as much as a human being can belong to another, she is mine. I am constantly amazed by her, challenged by her, melted into a puddle in front of her, and bursting at the seams with gratitude for the incredible blessing of being around her. Thank you beyond what my words can express that you chose me out of all the women in the world to be Mommy to this precious girl. It is a gift I am not worthy of but would never want to give up. As her third birthday is quickly approaching in just two days, I cannot help but reminisce. I am sure there are better examples of your wisdom, providence and perfect timing, but in my life the “surprise” of Hayleigh ranks pretty high. There will always be a special room in my heart for the little baby you used to “fix” me. At the time I found out I was pregnant I never thought I could live and thrive without heavy anti-depressant and anti-physicotic medication. And if it weren’t for your healing hand and your grace reaching even to me, I could not have. Your healing came in the form of a microscopic embryo. I didn’t know what to think, what to do and what was going to come next. I praise you God for your power to heal. Sometimes you use medicine as part of your treatment plan, and I praise you for that. Sometimes the healing that comes apart from medicine is just as restorative and I am forever grateful for you giving me Hayleigh despite me feeling ill-equipped to be a mother.
At times, God, I still feel very ill-equipped to be the mother you have called me to be-the mother I so desire to be. Sometimes it is helpful to remember that from the time of Hayleigh’s conception I was not like most other mothers who planned and waited and felt “ready” to be moms, yet you have prevailed. I have felt unprepared and less-than most of the way. It is in those feelings of inadequacy that I know you carry me and you work in awesome ways in spite of me. Thank you for being the parent that I can never be, the parent that both Hayleigh and I desperately need. And thank you for giving me such a beautiful gift of being Hayleigh’s mommy. I thank you for all that she is as a reflection of your image. I praise you because she is fearfully and wonderfully made. I praise you for her lips that purse to kiss me, her eyes that dance when she laughs, her voice that sings your praise in the most beautiful off key tone I have ever heard, for her tender care for others, her enthusiasm for life and learning, her silliness, her incredible imagination, her quirks, and everything that comprises the complex and ever-growing life that is Hayleigh.
It is my prayer, Lord, that as she grows, you will be near her when I cannot. And that when we are together that you will equip me to be the best mother I can be for her. I pray that as she learns that she will see you in everything. I pray for her salvation-that just as she revels in dressing up and pretending she is a princess now, that as she grows she will recognize what it means to be a child of the King. I pray that her enthusiasm for other people and her exuberance will be used by you to bring people to know you also. Lord, in some ways I wish I could protect her from any emotional pain, from social struggles, the ugliness of this world and from any mental or spiritual struggles she may encounter as she grows older. Sometimes I just wish I could take it all on myself so that she wouldn’t have to, or so that I could assure she would never waver or be broken by all the things that can distract and cripple a person. When I think these things I am so grateful that in you she has a parent that is better than me. Your love is perfect Lord. You know what Hayleigh will encounter and you will not prevent her from going through trials because you know they make her stronger. I pray Lord that whatever she goes through may she always turn to you for the wisdom and strength that she needs. May she find her beauty and identity rooted in her relationship with you. May she find your grace and your love to be boundless. May she learn what it means to be forgiven and free. I know from my own life that the hardest things are often the best things, so in an attempt to be the most loving mother I can be, I pray that you will challenge Hayleigh throughout her life. That you will make her to be a wiser, stronger, more compassionate and relatable person as a result of the circumstances in her life that are not always easy. I pray for her to have unwavering faith and persistence through trials. And I pray that I will allow her to go though them, although it is bound to be excruciatingly painful. I pray that one day she will truly understand just how special she is and just how much she is loved by you, Lord. I pray that that knowledge would equip her to root herself in you so that she will make godly choices, unscathed by the pulls of this world.
I pray that I will continue to learn what it means to be a daughter of yours as well so that I can model that for Hayleigh. It is not easy to be a girl in the culture today. I look at Hayleigh and see so much inner beauty emerging already. I pray that you would use her for all that she is, and that she would never feel the need to change who you have made her to be in order to fit a mold. As she grows, I pray that you would give me the wisdom to answer the tough questions in a honest, true and helpful way. I pray for the patience and strength which I also need on a daily basis. I pray that I may display to Hayleigh the love I feel so deeply and passionately for her-that she will never doubt it. And even more so, I pray that through my own actions she will never be able to doubt my love and devotion to you as well. It is a daunting task to be a mother. I felt it as soon as I knew I was pregnant with this angel, it grew heavier when that red-faced 9lb baby was first placed in my arms three years ago, and it has grown heavier the older she has gotten. Now there is more to parenting than changing diapers, stacking blocks and making funny faces behind a camera. The older she gets, the more I look and really see her-the more I turn inward to look at myself. Am I really the woman I want my daughter to become? Lord, I fall on my face knowing I cannot do it alone. I never could, but it has never been more real to me than now. Thank you for the comfort that comes from your words in Matthew 11:29-30: “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light”. I know I have already made so many mistakes and there are many yet to come. It continues to be my prayer that all my imperfections will be used by you, in all your infinite wisdom, grace and love, to point Hayleigh to her perfect Heavenly Father who will never let her down.
This has turned into more of a prayer for me, than for Hayleigh, Lord. But I know that Hayleigh’s health and well-being, especially spiritually, depend on me. I am both her greatest threat and hope. The magnitude of that is something I feel daily. May my actions reflect that truth, and when I fail Lord, I am ever grateful that your tender and powerful hands are holding us both. I love you.