A letter to my Hope-love

My little Hope-love. Do you know how lovely you are? With your fudgesicle lips and your big blue eyes that seem to search right through me? When you first entered this world, we thought you were a boy. Because the ultra-sound tech had told us you were a boy and so for several months, as I carried you in my tummy, we thought you were and we’d named you Jonan Justus and you came out, looking so much like your brother, and yet you were very much different, in some pretty distinct ways. : )

We were all shocked. I still remember the hush that came over the hospital room as it dawned on me and I asked that question, “Oh…is this a girl?” and the doctor and nurses stood still, mouths wide open. For a couple seconds, I don’t think anyone even dared to breathe.

And then we laughed, as your daddy cut the umbilical cord and you cuddled right up to my chin. We laughed and I called your Nanny and your Daddy called your Grandma and they all thought we were joking, because your mama is the queen of joking, but we weren’t even kidding. God must have such a sense of humor. I think He was just waiting for that moment and when it happened, I wonder if He burst out in a big ole’ belly laugh.

At first we didn’t know quite what to do, because we didn’t have a stitch of girl clothes and we didn’t have a name and we thought you were a boy, so we just sat there in that hospital room, holding you close and wrapping our minds around this wonder of you.

And that night I cried, because I’d always been afraid to have a girl. I mean, what if you turned out to be a lot like me?

You’re well on your way, my love. With your crazy antics, right before bed, and how you bounce off the walls with this obnoxious energy and make goofy faces when your brother is sad, because you just want to make him laugh again. And how you can’t get in the car very fast because you’re busy lookin’ at a spider, and then there’s the watering can that you need to try out, and then you’ve lost your shoe. 

Already I feel as if I truly understand you. And I do love your crazy ways. And I’m so glad God made you a girl.

I love the way you nurture your baby doll for hours and yet you can sit down and crash cars and build tracks for trains. I love the way you rush to comfort us when we’re sad, and how your eyes grow big with worry when someone gets hurt and you feel our pain. You cried when I got a bee sting. “I don’t want you to be hurt, Mama,” you said, so I held you and reassured you that it was just a little thing. You still wanted to make it better right away.

And my little Hope-girl, God blessed you with so much beauty, but I want you to know that your heart is the most important thing. That part on the inside of you that knows the joy and pain of things. And all this world will tell you that you’ve got to grow up and look a certain way, and you’ve got to go certain places to get love, and you’ll have to yell loud to be heard and show off your stuff to get noticed. And it’s not that those things don’t work, it’s just that there are ways of living that don’t exactly satisfy our deepest soul ache.  I pray I can instill in you a different way.

A girl needs to know how much her Maker loves her and cherishes her. Overwhelmingly. Unconditionally. The God who formed you, daily delights in you. There is One who is always aware of you, always attentive to you– His smile is upon you and His heart beats for you.

I didn’t know the first time I looked into your eyes, how much you’d help me see. That all the little girls in the world reflect the heart of Him who is breath-takingly pure and heart-achingly good. So, go to Him, Hope-love, to get your soul-needs met. He’ll fill you right up with His love.

Then keep going to Him, your whole beautiful life, because all us girls keep forgetting this, and we need to hear it again and again, that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. We are always wanted and always loved. When you draw close to your Maker’s heart, you’ll find that you’ve got love spilling out and much to give, for you were created for this.

I love to hear you sing. And to see you wrestle with your daddy and throw rocks with your brother and swaddle your baby and comfort the wailing brother and the mama with the bee sting. The world is a little sweeter with you walking around in it, barefoot and mischievous, and readily handing out love.

Little Hope-girl, do you know how lovely you are? I’m just so glad you came. 

(Special thanks to my friends, Andrea and Graham for capturing these shots of Hope.)

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