Dear Selah (On your very 1st birthday)

Dear Selah, my sweet firstborn,

Today is your birthday!  Wow.  How can we be meeting this moment already?  It feels like I've spent the past year, the very first year of your life, wanting to pour myself into celebrating and savoring every precious moment our heavenly Father has graciously blessed us with.  I've constantly wondered if I'm taking enough photos, writing enough memories, or studying and learning about the person God made you to be with enough care.  Ultimately, I've had to learn more about grace than ever before - both receiving and giving it.

Your Daddy and I have had so much fun talking about and preparing for this day; a day filled with reflection and joy, taking in the most amazing privilege ever of being entrusted with the care of one of God's amazing daughters.  We have loved this journey so far sweet girl.  It has not been without trial (and error :), but it's been oh so wonderful.  I wanted to surprise you with pink balloons over your bed this morning...but of course, on par with my often hilariously imperfect life and plans, they lost their helium and were all on the ground when we woke up.  But we got you out of your crib at your first peep, and snuggled with you in bed, replaying our memories of each moment of the special day you were born.  We told you the story, laughed at all we went through, and marveled at how far we've come.  We recalled those first moments and hours of snuggling your tiny little body, saying through tears how so very much we loved you.  There is simply nothing like new life little one.  The greatest adrenaline rush of my life as well as the most profound peace I've ever felt came in those hours and days after you were born.  Now we've had one whole year of getting to know each other and grow together.  I feel like every moment today I've been thinking about what that moment was like just one year ago.  I have absolutely loved the first time mom emotions this year.  The absolute elation and pride that comes from watching you learn and discover something is powerful.  With making the choice to stay home and with only having one car for the past year, we have had so many simple, beautiful, quiet days together.  And I've loved it.  I'm so thankful for the stillness we've often enjoyed as I learn how to make a home and you've learned what it's like to have one.

This morning while you were eating breakfast, Daddy and I went back and forth about what to do for your party.  We planned it outside at a beautiful little park, but it rained all night last night and we just weren't sure what the weather would do.  But there was really no other place we wanted to do it.  And I, of course, being the mommy that you have, never really thought there would need to be a back up plan. ;)  Thankfully, your Daddy stayed positive and said we could make it work and would just hope the sun would shine brightly enough that everything would dry.  How beautifully blessed we were because it most certainly did.  We had the most wonderful time gathering with our families and celebrating you!  It turned out to be such a beautiful day, and it was just so much fun throwing you your very first party.  I had such fun with the details of your "Baby Love" themed birthday...and though it was simple, it felt beautiful and perfect.  We ate lunch, sang Happy Birthday and blew out your candle, took lots of pictures, opened presents, tried a little cake tasting, and had a short prayer time, thanking God for this year of your life and asking him to bless the one to come.  You also showed the family your new favorite skill of assisted walking!  How fast you are turning into a little girl is almost too much for me to take in all at once.  Your family loves you so much Selah.  We are so blessed by the relationships God has given us in this life.  After your party we went home and you took a great nap after playing with your cousins for a bit.  Daddy and I hung out with the family for the afternoon, and they left shortly after you got up.  Then we had a special little family time to close out your special day.

We wrapped and gave you your present from us...a baby Stella doll.  I absolutely loved and spent hours playing with dolls when I was little, so I always wanted to be the one to give you your first.  I've had it since Christmas and couldn't wait to give it to you.  You didn't disappoint. :)  You were excited about baby Stella and squeezed her tight once we got her out of the box.  I love that you seem to share some of my mommy heart.  I probably saw this doll for the first time 3 years ago and hoped so much to one day have a little girl to get it for.  Such a joy for me to give it to you this year.  After that, Daddy and I watched the video that Nana took of you being born and the moments afterward.  I have had it all year long but could never watch it until now.  And I cried...with tears that I didn't feel like wiping away because that day was so, so special and I am so unbelievably thankful.  I loved getting to relive it a little bit tonight.  Then we watched the beautiful dvd of photos from that day that our friend Tammy took and made for us....how so very precious to have those priceless moments captured.  It was so sweet when you heard your first little cries on the t.v...you stopped and were just staring.  One of my favorite moments that I didn't remember from when you were born, was when I looked down at you with a big smile and said, "This is going to be so much fun."  And I have to tell you Selah girl, those words have become so true.  We delight in having you for a daughter, and you will always be our first Baby Love.

Though I could write forever, I'll wrap up by sharing a few things we hope and pray for you in the days ahead of your sweet life.  Daddy and I pray for you daily baby girl, that you would grow to have the Holy Spirit inside you, that you would know and love Jesus as your Savior, and that you would have a passion for his Word and the way he calls us to love.  We are praying for ourselves, that God would so graciously lead us as parents, a role filled to the brim with such great responsibility.  We know we are desperate for his leading and guidance.  We pray that God would protect you and that you would know how very treasured you are.  We also pray that you would be a young girl and a woman of great faith and courage.  The Lord will certainly fight for you Selah girl, and we pray he would give you strength and wisdom as he reminds you that you're already victorious as you learn to fight for Him.  I pray that one day I can say with such peace and gratitude, "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth." (3 John 1:4)  While it might seem like we have a long way to go, we want you to know that this is what drives our parenting each and every day.  This is why I feel a great and mighty weight, and have to rest in the arms of a graceful God through the process.  We will continue to make as many memories as possible, to savor each day, and praise God for giving us daily breath and life to share.  We absolutely love being a family...and though we are so far from perfect and often feel like the crazy ones, we are treasuring the unique story God is writing through our family.  And we absolutely treasure you Selah.  We love the way God made you, and we are embracing how quickly you continue to grow. 

A final thought before I end this first birthday letter to you.  While this past year has given me more crazy joy than I can sometimes take in, there has also been extreme pain that has been endured...moments that have reminded us powerfully that this world is not our home.  And honestly Selah girl, that's what I want you to know and hold onto more than anything.  We were not created for this earthly place.  There is so much more that awaits us for eternity when we walk with the Lord and offer ourselves completely to Him.  He created us and he knows us.  I know you will have pain in this life...and it will absolutely break my heart as your mother to see that.  But this year has reminded us more than ever that we have to hold unswervingly onto our hope in Christ alone.  We have to offer the hope and gift of having life and having it to the full to everyone God directs us to share it with.  Because while we rejoice and celebrate joyful days like today, this is nothing compared to the celebration that awaits us in heaven, when our Father, who is the most amazing Daddy, welcomes us home and into his arms.

These are my words for you baby girl, on this 1st birthday, your very special day.  So many tears were shed throughout my first 27 years of life, as I longed to know the joy of being a mother, and never knowing how that story would unfold.  And I simply love how it has.  I am truly amazed.  God's timing is so perfect...and if I had only known all those crazy years what the joy of knowing you would be like, how different my perspective would have been.  I am so thankful for the blessing of your Daddy, and that I get the honor of loving and parenting alongside him.  Happy 1st Birthday sweet Selah girl.  We are so looking forward to the new memories that will prayerfully be made in the years ahead.  We love you SO much.

Love, Mommy and Daddy  
September 8, 2012

(A detailed birthday pic post is coming next!!)

This song is so perfect to me for this post...


Dear Selah (On the night before your birthday)

My sweet Selah girl,
Can I tell you how crazy it feels to be sitting outside your door, listening to you breathe, remembering that 1 yr. ago right now I was falling into the deepest sleep of my life, after almost 30 hrs. of labor, still praying through tears that you’d come soon and safely. The most amazing experience of my life by far was the one that brought you into the world. Now we’ve made it to today, a day filled with preparations for your big day tomorrow. A day we celebrate this beautiful life God has created in you, and praise him for the amazing memories we’ve made so far this past year. I am truly overwhelmed. Today after getting a dozen pink balloons to surprise you with tomorrow morning, tears started flowing as I drove them home and they blocked my view in the backseat. I just became so overcome with gratitude that I get to be your mom…that I get to experience the joy of having a daughter... that I get to buy pink balloons for my little girl. That our loving Father in heaven answered one of my deepest lifelong prayers when you were born. And baby girl, I delight in you. I am fascinated by how God made you…and I love your details. I am drawn closer to your daddy and to your heavenly Father because of you. Seeing you smile and knowing joy has introduced a whole new kind of joy to my own heart.

I’ve spent so much of today reflecting as I’ve crafted, cooked, and created for tomorrow. Nana helped with a lot of preparations and I asked her to make the recipe that’s called the “Best cupcakes Ever,” because I wanted to be able to tell you someday how excited I was about your first birthday. For the first time in my life, I truly understand why my own mother has loved celebrating her children’s birthdays with such enthusiasm and attention to detail. That is now what I desire to do too. Your Daddy has also been busy with preparations and excitement to celebrate you, and has encouraged me and all my crazy plans. We are having so much fun honoring the lovely little life God gave you.

It has been a joy to get to know you this past year Selah. Hours and hours have been spent snuggling you, playing with you, teaching you, feeding you, laughing with you, being amazed by you. So far it seems you truly love life. We continue to pray that the fruit of the Spirit would be evident in you and that you would love Jesus most of all. I have so much more to say tomorrow, on my firstborn’s first birthday…but I couldn’t close my eyes tonight without telling you how excited I am to be your mom. How I love you in a way you won’t even understand until you have your own first baby. (And we pray now that someday you will know that joy.) I could sit here all night and listen to you breathe, because I am just so thankful for every breath the Lord gives you. We will make a big memory tomorrow Selah girl. And tomorrow, on your very first birthday, I will write more of my heart to you. But for tonight, I say sleep tight little one…I can’t wait to greet your beautiful, contagious smile in the morning.