~ Journal Entry June 2009 ~
My heart is bursting with so many things that I wish that I could share with you…
Even though it goes against every fiber of your being, don’t be afraid to try new things. New experiences don’t bite. People don’t bite. Well, not usually. Embrace new opportunities to grow, learn, and have fun. Allow those new experiences to help mold you into a more knowledgeable and well-rounded person. Remember how you have always regretted not eating curds and whey when they were offered to you in the first grade? Don’t let those chances to expand your little world pass you by.
Don’t be so hard on yourself. You spend way too much time second-guessing your decisions, beating yourself up when you can’t rise to the perfection that you try to attain, and putting yourself down. I wish with all of my heart that I could teach you to value yourself. A little self-esteem never hurt anyone. Learn to appreciate the things that you are good at, and own the choices that you make. Do not let anyone treat you like their doormat. One of your favorite quotes be Eleanor Roosevelt’s saying, “No one can make you feel inferior without your permission.” You are an intelligent, capable human being… please start believing in yourself.
Do not be afraid of the girl from New Zealand that you will meet on your way to Russia in a few months. She will not kill you in your sleep! In fact, she will become your best friend. She will be a rock for you in times when you need a human anchor, a God-given blessing sent to make you into a better and stronger woman. The friends that you will make in Russia will be your forever friends – they will become your extended family. Treasure them, hold them close, and never underestimate the amazing bond of friendships.
For these very reasons, also stay close with your family. They will come to mean more to you each and every year. They will be there to catch you when the bottom falls out and you don’t know which way to turn. Cherish all of the memories from growing up in that small house with four crazy-wonderful siblings and being taught by your mom around the dining table. Those days were preparation for the life that you will lead when you are a mother and teacher yourself. Your parents gave so much of themselves to you. Learn from their examples, never take for granted all that they did for you, and appreciate all of the ways that they showed you how much they love you.
You are going to meet the three most amazingly wonderful little boys, and you will be privileged to have them call you, “Mommy.” They will help you to know a love deeper than you have ever imagined possible. They will be so beautiful, inside and out, that it will physically hurt to look at them and try to comprehend how lucky you are to have them in your life.
Savor each and every moment that you have with them: each sleepless night spent rocking them when they are sick or have a bad dream, each snuggle, sloppy-wet baby kisses on your cheeks, Eskimo and butterfly kisses when they get older, reading to them on your “Story Chair,” every single giggle, each time they reach for your hand, every walk to the park, each bouquet of dandelions and sticks, every push on the swing set, and each afternoon spent digging for earthworms in the backyard.
I know it sounds cliché, but they will grow up so fast. One minute you will be in the hospital gazing lovingly into their eyes for the very first time… and the next moment you will see them as young men, growing bigger and wiser every day. Begin each day by singing to them, “You are My Sunshine,” and end each day by singing, “Jesus Loves Me.” Instill in them how much they are loved by you and by their Heavenly Father.
Hold on to your faith in the Lord… and never let go. And know that when you feel like you can’t hold on any longer, He is right there holding YOU. Even though you will see others live a distorted version of Christianity, that is not an indication of God’s attitude toward you. He loves you with a “Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love.” When you are in the midst of a storm, He will be right there with you. He will always be quick to forgive, to wipe your tears, and to let you know just how much you mean to Him. Hold on to Him. And hold on to the promise that He gave ~
“If you’ll hold on to me for dear life,” says God, “I’ll get you out of any trouble. I’ll give you the best of care if you’ll only get to know and trust me.
Call me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times; I’ll rescue you, then throw you a party. I’ll give you a long life, give you a long drink of salvation!” ~ Psalm 91:14-16
Someday, you will go to your little brother and sister’s high school graduation and then begin reflecting on all of the things that you wish that you could tell yourself back when it was YOU in a cap and gown, floating down the aisle to “Pomp and Circumstance,” and having the world of possibility at your doorstep. I look back and I see the girl who was so innocent, quiet, painfully shy, her heart full of dreams…and I want to hug her so tightly. I want to protect her from what I know is ahead. I want to let her know that even though she will experience hurts, failures, and devastating storms in the next 11 years, she will also experience growth, triumphs, and the unconditional love of her close friends and family. Hold on to those things, the things that are good…and you will be okay. More than okay. You will be blessed beyond what you ever thought possible.
~ June 2009 ~
~ Our Story ~
*Photo of our boys is courtesy of Joanne Funk – my forever New Zealand Kiwi friend. She is also the one with me kissing the Russian snowman!
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