Eight years ago today, the delivery room burst into hooplas and shouts of joy when Dr. Ellingsen held my baby up and announced, "Look, Sharon! You have a girl!!" Goodness. Eight years!
We asked her several months ago, "Where do you want to go for your birthday?" (Yes, I was inwardly relieved that Chuck E Cheese wasn´t an option.) She told us Spain. This girl who never ceases to amaze me. Lately she´s surprised me with her quick wit and even quicker smile. She is fearless... which both brings me to my knees with humble requests for God´s protection while filling me with an equal dose of inspiration. Two days ago we were in Tangier, Morocco, when she ran over to a camel and climbed up on its back when the tour guide said, "She´s not afraid, is she?" And me just nodding because Israel´s smile said it all.
This girl who hasn´t asked me for toys for her birthday... just a pony. The kind she can ride. So amidst conversations of what she´s going to feed this pony and where he´ll live... we went on a family horseback riding adventure today through the hills of Spain. I rode behind her where I could see her tangled blonde hair contrasted against the bright red kaftan we bought her to cover sunburned shoulders in Morocco and I thanked God for this incredible warrior princess. I want to be more like her. This wild child whose faith is unshakeable, who is the first to pray for healing when someone is ill. And yes, I pray... oh, how I pray... that God will give me the strength and the wisdom to parent this fierce daughter who has an iron will... for patience when that iron will contradicts my own... for humility to listen and understand and quietly learn. This girl whose name means, "Strives with God, and is victorious." This woman-in-the-making who represents God´s enduring, unending, merciful, and gracious love.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ISRAEL!!!
May God bless you and give you His favor, Israel. May you always know that you are a princess, daughter of a Heavenly King. May you always live as fully and courageously as you do now. I love you. But Jesus loves you more.