You're eleventh birthday. It's here. And you are everything I could wish that you would be at this point in your life. You're a child of God, who is learning her way in her own walk with Him. It excites me to see the passion you have to learn about Him, with your note taking at church during your dad's sermons, to our daily devotions together, you're grounding your heart in God's Word. I'm so proud of you. Keep that close to your heart because there will come a day that is darker than today that you will need to grasp it with everything you've got and hold on to its truths.
Things are going to be changing in the next year. Physically you're going to be growing into a young lady and the world is going to try to explain to you what that looks like. They are going to show you pictures of girls your age who are skinnier, tanner, prettier, better dressed. But none will be more loved...and really that's what the world is trying to tell you...."You'll be loved better if you are skinnier, tanner, prettier, better dressed." But the truth is, you're loved as much as you're ever going to be loved right now. See, God has already loved you with an everlasting, immeasurable love. He can't love you any more than He does now because that would mean that right now, His love would be lacking. And that would mean that He isn't enough now. And that would be a lie. And that would mean God isn't God because He would be a liar. And He's not. So as you grow and change and mature...remember how loved you are just the way you are.
And what about boys....
Ugh...it's gonna happen, sometime. We're going to talk about it. It's going to be uncomfortable...more for me than you probably. But the fact is that...right now, there's no way you're having a boyfriend. It's just not right, not the time. You're eleven, you're still a kid and even though you're finding out how much God loves you, other than your family, there's not another person on the planet that you need to trust with your heart. A boy your age isn't capable of being careful with your heart. It's ridiculous to put that kind of pressure on him or you. So, let's just agree...boys aren't going to be part of the big picture yet. Sure, you can be friends, but let's keep it at that....whether you know it or not, you really don't want more than that anyway...besides, they still don't bathe on a regular basis without their mommy telling them.
What about friends? Well, from what I've seen over the last 20 years working and being around teenagers is that things might get a little rocky. I hate this for you and for your sweet gal pals that you hang out with. Here are a few things that might make this transitional time easier for you:
1. Watch your words. Be careful that the things that come out of your mouth encourage people. You can always find something nice to say about someone.
2. When/if you have a disagreement with someone, before you go and give them a piece of your mind, think about it. Ask yourself if this is really worth getting upset about? If the relationship is important to you, give it some grace, give offenses a pass, give second and third chances and let it go. Because sometimes people make mistakes and just need to be let off the hook. Give a hug and forgive.
3. But if you do have to go to someone who has offended you. Be sure your words are used wisely. When someone is confronted with an offense they will remember the words you say, and they will replay those words over and over in their head. Say what needs to be said in the most loving way. Forgive when others don't ask.
4. Just because you''re best friends now doesn't mean you'll be best friends when you're 16. Ugh, I hate this, but know that from my own experiences, as you grow, mature, change, learn your way, that you're friends might change. You'll make friends as you find hobbies and interests. And that's all good. But as those comfortable and uncomfortable changes come, don't treat your old friends poorly. There are seasons in our lives when we are closer to some than others. It's just the way it is. (However, I'd like to bottle a couple of your sweet friends up and keep them with us forever!)
Lastly, let's just go ahead and talk about modesty. You're going to pretty much hate me for the next 7 years or so of your life as far as fashion goes. The world is selling a bunch of goods that is trying to convince girls your age that showing off all your body parts is pretty. The world is trying to make money, sell a product, make money. They don't love you. I do. I'm trying to teach you to love yourself enough to save your body parts...all of them...for someone who God has made especially for you to spend your adult life with. Someone who is going to love you as Christ loved the church. Someone who isn't trying to make money on you or sell a product to you. Respect yourself and your future husband ....I know it's early to think about this...and of course it's not going to happen for a long long long time, but you need to know that how you dress says a lot about how you respect yourself. And since respecting yourself and God and others is essential to growing into a mature young lady, we're not going to budge on the modesty issue. I love you, that's why.
So happy birthday sweet tween. You are so special to your dad and me...but most importantly your God. These next years are going to fly!!!!!!