Dear Madeline,

Last week you turned three years old! What an adventure it has been to be your mom,IMG_5923 I sure love you. Over this past 12 months you have changed tremendously, I am regularly amazed at what you are thinking about, how you communicate and how you have grown. Baby girl, my heart pleads and begs the Lord to change your heart and draw you near to Him. There is nothing that daddy and I want more for your life than for you to be a co-heir with Christ and worship God in Heaven with us forever. All of the things we teach you about God’s Word, instruct you and desire for you are with the glory of Christ in mind. As our firstborn, God has showed my heart incredible things about Himself and my relationship and response to Him, through you. Mommy is reminded everyday about the importance of obeying right away, that God loves me and takes care of me, knowing the right thing to do and DOING it, trust, the protection of authority, the sweet joy of giving gifts to our children, crazy love that only a parent can understand, the victory of obedience, kindness, patience, self control and how incredible and worthy of being praised God is for being perfectly sovereign, patient, kind, self-controlled and consistent with His People, WOW!

Peanut, mommy finds great joy in being with you, helping you, teaching you and caring for you. you are sprouting up before my eyes and the potential of all that you are and who you are becoming is exciting. God has given you 2 little brothers and seeing the 3 of you learn how to live with each other and be friends is very sweet. I pray that you always find refuge, friendship, laughter, and adventure with Coleman and Alistair. People will come and go in life but there is nothing like a sibling bond. The 3 of you will walk through many seasons of life together and I pray earnestly that there will be peace among the 3 of you. Madeline, it will be hard to be the oldest, be the leader, have to go first and prefer the younger, you can only do it in the strength of the LORD. Regardless of any gifts the LORD gives you, lean hard on the Lord with humility. Never be too pretty to sit in the dirt. Never have so much to say that you don’t listen to other people. Never be too proud to pray or too comfortable to be generous. Never be too afraid to try and miss out on the learning. Failure will come and trials will grow character that money can’t buy.

Be brave little girl. Keep laughing, being silly, asking questions, yelling, “drive safe!” when someone leaves the house. There is a spark of hospitality and kindness in your heart that I pray grows to a mighty blaze. I love that the “cars pull ups” are your favorite, ponies make your eyes sparkle, having Cole taken out of your room at night is a big consequence, that you talk so well and have things to say, Rapunzel is your favorite because she doesn’t wear shoes outside, fancy dresses make you giggle, kombucha is a treat, that helping me cook is fun, that sometimes you don’t know why things got out of control, all the things your 3 year old mind thinks about are “great ideas”,  and that you are quick to forgive your brother.

Daddy and I are planting lots of seeds into your heart and life and are excited to see which ones grow and take hold. Only time will tell but I am sure thankful to have a front row seat. I don’t always know what is best, I don’t have perfect wisdom. I don’t always know what happened or who started what. I will disappoint you, not on purpose. I will let you down. Things will happen in your life that I have never done, never experienced and never will. Madeline, I will always have a conversation with you, I will always look forward to combing your long beautiful hair at the end of the day and talking about the things you were thankful for that day and what you learned. Madeline like we have been talking about recently, we can like different things and thats OK. Our relationship is not determined by anything you do, you are mydaughter. I will always have Christ and His Word as the most important thing. And I will always prefer and promote my marriage with dad over my relationship with you. I do those things because I love you and want to model those priorities to you, because it matters.

There will be lots of fun things in your threes, Mommy looks forward to seeing the world through your 3 year old eyes. I love you and am tremendously proud of you.

love, mom