The first at eight

She’s the joy of our family. Her heart is tender, peaceful, beautiful. Her birth in so many ways, was my birth- a coming into light of my calling and passion from the Creator. For her gentle, forgiving way that she has allowed me to become a mother, her mother- I am forever grateful.

Dear Antonella,

On this birthday I will share a memory with you, because not only am I overwhelmed with things to say, but also because I have this moment engraved in my mind as an example of who you are. On this day, we celebrate who you are, the bearer of the image of the invisible God.

You were five then, and we were in the car headed home from the library. One of your brothers disobeyed and I told him he would have to get a spanking when we got home. He cried and begged and pleaded, and then quietly sulked in the back seat. You broke the silence, “Mom, I will take brother’s spanking for him. I want you to spank me instead of him.”

Somewhere deep in your heart, you understand Jesus. Your life has been marked with the gift of faith, and my prayer is that your hope, your identity, and your treasure would be the Giver of Compassion.

I realize that I tell you “thank you” a lot during the day. Thank you for getting the diaper, thank you for feeding the dog, thank you for helping me with the dishes. And although these things are expected behavior for a child, I want you to know that I am thankful. I realize that the way you go about these things-serving, caring, giving-the way that you do these things is not always expected. This unexpected grace, compassion, and joy are the work of the One who gave you faith. May His work continue, for your joy and His glory.

Happy Birthday, Antonella Reese!

7 thoughts on “The first at eight

  1. I remember the day you told me you were pregnant with her. I also remember the day I was sitting out in the waiting room when you discovered you were having a girl. I also remember going on a walk with you in Chicago when you were 7 months pregnant and you telling me, “I think I really like the name Antonella Reese”. I also remember the phone calls I received during labor and after she was born.

    Eight beautiful years have come and gone. We have so much to praise God for in this little girl.

  2. I discovered your blog on this lazy Saturday while we wait for our first baby to be born (due any day). A little girl. “For her gentle, forgiving way that she has allowed me to become a mother, her mother- I am forever grateful.” This brought tears to my eyes as I imagine my daughter, and prayed she would do the same. It is terrifying to begin parenthood, and I have been constantly worried that I’ll let her down. But then I remember that she is really HIS, and He loves her more incredibly than I can ever imagine — so He’ll protect her (and me, for He loves me the same), as I fumble along learning how to mother. Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. Oh, so beautiful! My oldest just turned 8 too, and I’m blown away by God’s grace on her little life. She is so different than I was at 8, and I thank the Lord for that. He speaks to me, (even convicts me on occasion) through the wisdom He’s instilling in her heart. I love hearing stories like the one you shared above. Evidence He is everywhere.

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