Today you turn 13 years old, leaving childhood behind and entering the uncertain years of hormones and high school. So much will be changing for you in the next while as you grow and develop. Your life hasn't been an easy one. My prayer for you is that your difficulties will not define you but rather the moments of break-through and success.
You did not enter our family through biological means but through God's grace. He chose you for us and saved you from a life of poverty, loss and pain. While we have faced those same issues as a family you haven't had to do it alone, you've been in the warmth and safety of our love. We've walked some very difficult streets with you and will continue to do so as you struggle to learn how to develop self-control and dependance on the Lord.
I pray that you will continually submit yourself to His glorious grace and mercy and that you will use all of the strength in you to reach for Him. You have it you know, strength, determination and courage. You've come so far and learned so much and yet there is a long way to go.
When we moved here you could only read about 5 words and now you can read well. You're figuring out ways to overcome that learning disability and find out the things you want to know.
You are good at sports, even though you expect more from yourself than anyone else does.
You are funny and dramatic and have a quick wit.
You have the most endearing smile and a beautiful generous spirit. Do you remember when we walked over to Pastor Terry's late at night because you felt so strongly that you needed to give the fifty-two cents you had in your pocket. He told us later that your actions were a huge encouragement to him in a very difficult time. God worked through you.
I pray that you will continue to let Him work through you. That you will continue to develop a heart and mind to hear him and obey.
You are more compassionate than you let on. When Abby fainted you almost lost it, it showed me how much you really love your sister. I love that.
You've got a great sense of style, you love to look good and it shows in how you dress. My prayer is that you wouldn't let concern for how you appear on the outside over-rule what needs to be dressed on the inside. Be a Godly man Chris - pursue Jesus with all your heart, then, no matter what you wear, you will be well-dressed.
You're an excellent athlete. Sometimes you let your competitive side get the better of you, let it guide you into becoming better at those skills. Don't give up when someone else wins, let it stoke the fire to practice and get better so that next time you might be the winner, but don't let winning be the goal, let being the best you can be be the guide.
I can't express in words how much I love you and how proud I am to be your mom. I know I'm not perfect and neither are you and I apologize for all the times where I've expected you to be. You are an amazing creation of God. Today on your birthday I want the world to know!
I love you,
1099. for the doctor that watched your mom carefully during her pregnancy
1100. for the surgeon who delivered you with careful hands so that no blood passed between you and her
1101. for the aunties who decided someone else needed to love you and raise you
1102. grandpa and grandma saying yes to you
1103. when our hearts said yes to you, I'd rather be your mom than your sister :)
1104. the wrenching day we had to give you away
1105. the glorious day we received you back, knowing beyond a doubt that God had destined you for us
1106. all the holes and broken windows that have driven us to our knees on your behalf
1107. Otto D., for holding you in the foyer countless hours when you couldn't sit through church
1108. our church family who has prayed for you all these years
1109. our families for extending their hearts to you
1110. God sparing your life
1111. your heart-stopping smile
1112. silky black hair
1113. chocolate eyes
1114. the dusting of freckles on your nose
1115. the way you sing when you're feeling safe and loved
1116. your friendship with E.J., I love how you 'get' each other and always have
1117. your love of cooking
1118. the way you work with the animals
1119. the way you are with your little cousins
1120. your boundless energy
1121. all the reports I get from school about how hard you work
1122. the brilliant way you fooled your grade 1 teacher into believing you could read
1123. your skill on the ball diamond
1124. watching you run
1125. your accuracy when you throw, even with one bad eye
1127. the way you love your blankets that grandma and I have made for you
1128. your Huckleberry Finn skills
1130. you still cuddle with me and hold my hand
1131. you, I'm thankful for you and the tremendous gift you are