I kiss your cheek at the stroke of midnight and from a heart bursting with love and concern spontaneously pray God’s care over you in this next year of life. You’re another year older today and I hope we are another year wiser. There’s so much inside of this bundle of Ruby and 8 years isn’t near enough time to unpack it all.
You are complex and I listen to your heart open as words and tears pour out. The fears that grip you, sometimes paralyzing you. The empathy that affects you to the point of physical illness. The sensitivity to injustice that makes you put pencil to paper and write a confrontation to your class about racism and bullying. The discipline that makes you to run laps and do push-ups and practice soccer in the front yard. The continued outbursts of anger when you’re told no or contradicted. The desire to control situations and manipulate them to get what you want. The compassion that motivates you to give when the rest of us turn our heads and move on. How you can seem aloof and disconnected and then unearth a profound thought, keen observation, or timely encouragement.
You say that you used to be “iffy” about the existence of God. But now you see him everywhere. All around you, in answers to prayer and how our life plays out. But you say trusting him makes you nervous. Kind of like riding a roller coaster, you say. Like you know it’s going to be great and that in the end it will be fine, but it’s just how you’ll get there that makes you nervous.
You pray about specific things over and over and report that God doesn’t take the struggles away. But when I tell you instead of asking him to take them away, to ask him to help you trust him through them and change you through them, you nod in an unexpected and eager submission that I don’t often see. And I wonder what’s going on in that heart of yours?
God knows though, so I continue to take those snapshots of your heart, only small glimpses I get, to him. He has you figured out and all sorted out because he made you. He knows everything about you. All those paradoxes that confuse me and all those extremes that scare me, aren’t perplexing to him in the least. He’s steady and sure in what he’s doing in your life while I can be overwhelmed, and just plain tired.
I often think of Psalm 139 in terms of personal application, but it brings me such comfort as your mom when I apply it to you too.
You have searched Ruby, Lord, and you know her. You know when she sits and when she rises; you perceive her thoughts from afar. You discern her going out and her lying down; you are familiar with all her ways. Before a word is on her tongue you, Lord, know it completely. You hem her in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon her. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Where can she go from your Spirit? Where can she flee from your presence? If she goes up to the heavens, you are there; if she makes her bed in the depths, you are there. If she rises on the wings of the dawn, if she settles on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide her, your right hand will hold her fast. If she says, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. For you created her inmost being; you knit her together in my womb. I praise you because she is fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Her frame was not hidden from you when she was made in the secret place, when she was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw her unformed body; all the days ordained for her were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts about her, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand—when she awakes, she is still with you. Search her, God, and know her heart; test her and know her anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in her, and lead her in the way everlasting.
I cannot attain to God’s knowledge of you, Ruby. So I trust your Maker with you, the precious girl he fearfully and wonderfully knit together in my womb and in my heart. I ask him to use me and Daddy to keep leading you in his way, working out all those days he ordained for you even before we got to hold you and hug you and love you. We get to be used by him in your life, starting with new mercies this morning on this new year of your life. You are his first, so Happy 8th Birthday to God’s Ruby. . .and thankfully, ours too.