a letter to my daughter for her first birthday

Royce Adelyn,

I wrote this letter to you once before, then somehow it got deleted from our computer. Our of sheer frustration at the daunting task or re-writing, coupled with the business of Christmas, I am just now getting back to write to you again. I am sorry this is a little late. Although, by the time you read it, it won’t really matter.


You turned “1” this month. It is so hard for me to believe a year has gone by. It feels like just a few weeks or months ago that I sat on the couch late at night nuzzling your sweet, soft, skin, inhaling, and praying for the scent of newborn to last just a little bit longer. I remember the first time I met you I was filled with such elation, so much joy and excitement. I remember thinking, “It was YOU. All along, you.” You melted me in a surprising way. I had “done it all before” but for some reason, a little beyond my ability to explain, you captivated me. I felt myself simultaneously be emptied and filled. It was like everything ugly, and painful and heavy just escaped me, as you took your first breath. We exhaled together. And then inhaled again, something fresh and pleasant, filled with so much mystery and joy.




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You still have that same effect on me much of the time. There is something so life-giving in your spirit. I know that God sent you to breathe joy into our hearts and our home. You have Daddy smitten, from minute one, with your way of breaking down the barriers we put up when we are stressed or angry or distracted. Braxton and Hayleigh still laugh with so much glee at basically everything you do. There is something intoxicating about your silly little sideways smile, as if you know something we don’t. Whatever your secret is, it is no secret to me that God sent you to accomplish big things. You have already spread so much genuine and contagious joy, without even trying. It is remarkable to me that someone who has barely uttered a half dozen words can have such an impact on us all. I don’t know what God’s specific plan is for the rest of your life, but I do know that for the first year of your life His purpose was to use you to show me how God gives good gifts to His children.

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You came in the midst of heartache. Our family was facing a diagnosis that made our heads spin and our stomachs just ache. That started a year filled with one punch after the other for us. At times I wondered whether God was someone who really did give good gifts, who really did uphold his promises, who really deserved my trust, my praise and my obedience. Yet even in my moments of weakness and pain, God gently reminded me of His sovereignty. He reminded me to step out farther than my eyes could see. He reminded me that He really does love His children.


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So many of the times those reminders came through you- a perfectly timed cry that took me out of my own head space and caused me to pour myself into others, a smile that broke through the tears, causing me to laugh (it is nearly impossible to look at your silly little smirk and not just laugh at the pure adorableness and happiness of it), a drooly kiss, a head on my shoulder and a soft, chubby little hand pat-patting my back, a finger twirling your hair as your eye lids become heavy reminding me that when I feel the heavy God wants me to find my rest in Him, a peek-a-boo face begging me to put away the big stuff and just enjoy the small things (which really are the big things), a tense dinner table conversation interrupted by you ripping your bib off again and yelling for us to look at you-so sassy, a hand in the air as you enter a room saying “tada!” Royce is here!,  a giggle so contagious that I had to laugh along and from the depths of my heart. I could feel the doubt, and resentment and worry crumbling away and God putting joy in its place.


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So many times this year I have thought of how you were born into a “dark” year for us and have been such a source of light. It reminds me often of the baby Jesus born into the darkness and depravity of sin to be a light and a savior. I am not comparing you to Jesus. Trust me girlfriend, your Daddy and I already see plenty of sassy, spunky, sin in you. I am just saying that God has used your birth, and your life this past year, to point me to another baby born to give freedom and love and joy unimaginable! You are already pointing people to Jesus, sweet Roycie. God has used you so much already. Everything is brighter and lighter with you. By adding to our “load” God has lightened it in a way only He could do. God knew just how to point me to the savior I needed-for my own daily forgiveness, for my own daily discipleship, for my own daily sustenance. He knew what we needed even when we didn’t and being the wonderful Father that He is, He did not keep it from us-at any point this year. It just took me having you not in accordance with my own plan to finally see (really see) that God gives good gifts. Sometimes they are disguised as not-so-awesome. Sometimes we would like to exchange them. But after this year, and after meeting and instantly loving you, instantly being changed by you, I can say with full certainty that “God works all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28.


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I love you so much, my Roycie Adelyn Bee-bah. You are one of God’s most wonderful, generous gifts to me. You are my Joy Baby. I pray for you that I can point you to who you are in Christ, just as God has used you to point me to His own grace and truth. I pray that the joy you have given others would not fade, that you would always bring lightness wherever you go and give it generously to others. You are already so different from your brother and sister. I want to foster your uniqueness-the way God has made you to be. I love seeing your spunk, although sometimes it scares me, I must admit. You are your own person, exerting yourself in this sometimes chaotic and busy home. You are never lost in the sauce, that is for sure. You make yourself heard and seen. You assert yourself, yet you also love to take it all in, always processing. I pray that as your grow that you would allow God to use your assertive personality for good things. I pray that you would not pursue selfish gain, but instead speak for those who cannot or do not speak for themselves. I pray that you would be assertive in sharing God’s message with others-with confidence, passion and grace.



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I love getting to know your more and more, my Bee-bah. The more I see of you, the more I hold you, the more I feel as though I have been given such a privilege: to be your Mommy. I think you are incredible. God knit you together in ways unexpected and magnificent. You have been such a huge, inexplicable blessing this past year. I love you in a way I have loved no one else before, because you are like no one else I have ever loved. I cannot imagine our home without you. You have touched each of us this past year and I am so excited for the next months to see your personality emerge even more. I pray that you will continue to bless those you encounter and that you will never doubt how high and wide and deep is the love of Christ-who came into the darkness for you as a radiant light.


Happy birthday, my love.



Royce’s “month” pictures: newborn-12 months


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           Oh, how I love you.

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