There is a very important someone celebrating her birthday today around the world from us. This happens thirteen times throughout the year. We have thirteen amazing nieces and nephews who celebrate birthdays without us. But we mark every one. Because we are thankful for them. Every one. I am reposting a letter I wrote for Presley (the youngest of our siblings' offspring) just after she was born. I mean it for her and I pray it (especially the first two points) for each of the other twelve too. Happy birthday, today, to Presley. Just like every precious one who precedes you, you are a treasure. I am so thrilled to be your Aunt Cheryl.
newborn Presley with her brothers
Welcome to the world little girl! Are you aware of the fact that people in Africa were waiting for the news of your arrival?! Eagerly awaiting every tiny detail of You! You have hair! You weigh 7lbs! You are healthy! Every picture that floated over the web was studied and gushed over.
Because, you are our treasure.
And we are so happy you are here.
I have not been able to hold you in my arms yet. I am grieving this, but don't worry your pretty little head over that. Because I am holding you in my heart. And while that may sound a little sappy and weird, it's true. There are no miles, no circumstances and no tomorrow that can change your place in my heart. Your brothers are anchored deep in there too.
If I could whisk myself to your home this evening, I would send your Mommy to sleep, rent your Daddy & brothers their favorite movie and rock you quietly in your room. While you rested, I would speak many wonderful things over your head and catch you up on some important information.
First, God made you. Perfectly. How I wish you could always rest so easily in this, but the truth is, there are many untrue messages out there. Messages and innuendos that boldly insist there is ONE WAY to look and ONE SIZE to wear and anything else is failure. Presley, Love, you are perfectly designed by a Perfect Creator and when you look at yourself through the years you should always remember, it is HIS work you see in that mirror and you should be careful how you speak about it. And how you allow others to speak about it. You are beautiful. Case closed.
Second, Jesus loves you. LOVES YOU. And that will never change. NEVER. He is the most incredible Hero, Protector, Friend and Confidant and He will never let you down. I pray for you and those brothers of yours and all your cousins living here in Africa to know Jesus better than any other. Listen for His voice, my niece. He has a plan and a love for you that is unmatched.
Third, ice cream is awesome. You can call it “mum-mum” and smile sweetly and people will supply it to you by the gallon.
Fourth, organizing and cleaning are fun! (I can keep trying even though this hasn’t worked on any of my own babies yet!)
Fifth, I love your hair and your eyelashes and your perfect fingers and toes!
Sixth, I love you.
Seventh, a prayer: “Holy Father protect this life, protect this heart…soften and nurture and grow this incredible spirit towards You. May nothing hinder or misdirect her gaze from Your Holiness and Your Grace.”
And then I would probably cry. Because my children and husband would be so hungry in Africa without me and I would have to get on an airplane and fly away.
But not without singing first. "Jesus Loves Me." "Who Made the Flowers." And most likely, "Amazing Grace."
Blessings would be spoken over your perfect, tiny head. And your Mommy would be rested. And your brothers would be hugged. And my heart would be at peace.
The final thing I would remind us both of, is that this life rarely gives you EVERYTHING that you want. Sadly, we can’t always have our way. But a quiver lip and pout do nothing but depress. The best plan is to count your blessings, pray with thanksgiving and wait on the Lord. His plan is ALWAYS perfect.
Just look at you.
I love you always. Call me if you need anything.
Aunt Cheryl and Presley finally meet