Thursday, August 29, 2013

July 14th - Happy Birthday, Beautiful Girl!

And just like that, our Gracie Jo is 9. I'll spare you the cliches because we've heard them all and, obviously, they're true (Where does the time go?) but the one thing I was asked several times that always made me smile was "Can you believe she's NINE!?!". Actually, yes, I can totally believe she's nine...mostly because she seems so much older than that most of the time! Whether it's being our first born, her God-given personality, having four younger siblings or, most likely, a combination of all of these, Gracie is an incredibly responsible, servant-hearted, mature, and delightful nine year old. This girl just blesses our socks of from the moment she wakes up until she goes to bed at night. Before we had any kids I always thought I'd like a house full of boys. I was never much of a girly-girl myself and boys just seemed a lot easier and fun than the drama-filled escapades of raising daughters. Man, am I thankful that God had better plans in store for me! "Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge!" (Rom.11:33) Gracie Jo's name means "God's gracious gift", and that is exactly what she has been to our family. Through this beautiful daughter I have been given such a precious blessing - a picture of GRACE as I stumbled through my first years as a mother, making so many mistakes and, yet, fully and completely loved by this little one who bore the brunt of my failures. Being given a daily example of what a SERVANT-HEART looks like as Gracie Jo gladly takes on the tasks of oldest child. Whether it's working with Pete out in the barn, standing at the kitchen sink alongside me with a dishtowel in her hand, or shepherding her siblings (I'm always amazed at the amount of trouble the boys get into when Gracie's not around!!), she is so eager to serve and delights in opportunities to help others. Of course we still have our moments and challenges but, the truth is, most of the time I am humbled to have been given the task of raising this daughter when so often it is she that is teaching me. Gracie Jo, you are such a blessing to each of us and we are so proud of the beautiful, young lady you are becoming. Your heart for the Lord,  your fierce love for your family, and the way that you bring joy to those around you as you consider others before yourself is not only a gift but an example to both your dad and I. We love you so much and are grateful beyond measure to be your parents. Happy birthday, sweet girl! xo

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