I am so honored to share this week’s “Dear Daughter” letter guest post, written by my Southern soul sister, Lauren McMinn, to her 9-month-old baby girl, Ada.
How are you already 9 months old?
My bundle of love, joy and laughter. Hungry for life and exploration. You keep me on my toes all day long but it is with joy that I chase you around the house, watching your every curious move, pulling you off of the stairs you so desperately wish to climb, trading one of your brother’s Hot Wheels cars for a teething toy, holding your little chubby hands as you attempt to figure out this whole walking thing. You’re currently battling an ear infection but looking at you, you’d never know. Your eyes are still just as bright and your smile just as big.
I waited so long for you. I wondered and wished and prayed and hoped you would come one day. I really believed it would be many more years to come before I would have the honor of being your mama. I really, truly believed there would be so many more boys that would come along first but you, my redheaded, spirited one, you couldn’t wait any longer. And boy, am I glad you are here.
Little one, in your early years, all that I ask of you is just to be you.
Be your brightest. Your name after all means “brightness.” It is what you are in our family and in my heart–a bright spot that nothing can put out.
“This Little Light of Mine”
When your Daddy and I first found your name and learned its meaning, the song, “This Little Light of Mine,” came into my head. And it became my prayer for you. “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine… .”
You have a light radiating from you–it’s your shining , cheerful, sometimes spicy personality. It’s in your bright blue eyes, your heart-melting smile, the way you squish your nose up when you giggle, your sweet little voice in the mornings as you “jibber jabber” to us, calling for us to come get you out of your crib. With that light, you bring laughter and happiness to everyone you meet. My wish is that you let that light shine bravely and with so much courage that others are drawn to it.
There are going to be so many times that others will try and put your light under a bushel, as the song goes.
And there’s going to be so many times when you’re going to want to hide your light or extinguish it out of fear or anxiety. Feelings of inadequacy will be overwhelming sometimes where it’s so hard to breathe.
Baby girl, there will be times that you may feel embarrassed by your bright personality, and guess what? I was, too.
I’m not a quiet, gentle spirit–I never have been and never will be. And I love that so far, you’re turning out to be quite similar. You’re fearless. You don’t let your tiny self be set back by a challenge. You look at obstacles as something you’re going to overcome, and you’re just 9 months!
I can’t wait to watch how you shine.
You are headstrong and stubborn, something I am already praying about for your teenage years. And all of this is wrapped up in that light of yours. It’s who you are. And I want you to know one very valuable thing–one thing that will get you through the darkest of days.
That light of yours? It’s precious.
It’s sacred. It’s God-given, God-ordained and created for a purpose–His purpose. And that is something no one, not even you, can diminish or destroy.
There are going to be times when your light is merely flickering. Your heart will hurt so bad, and tears will fall from those beautiful blue eyes. And darling, I will be here to hold you, to cry with you and to reassure you. I will always be here for you to bury your head in my shoulder and cry like you do now. But one thing I cannot do is rekindle your light or fan the flames to keep it thriving. Only Jesus can. He is the one who has placed that glowing light in your heart and He is the one who will keep it going.
Jesus has been a constant tower of refuge and strength for your mama. In order to survive my every day, I must call on His name to rescue me from my doubts, my fears and my worries. I am consistently looking to Him for reassurance that I am enough, that He sees me as worthy and beautiful and that nothing I do can make Him love me more or less. And when I call on the powerful name of Jesus, my heart is rejuvenated, and my light shines brighter than ever.
I love you sweet girl. I always have, and I always will. No matter what this life brings us, I’m always here loving you, praying for you and cheering you on.
I can’t wait to watch how you shine.
Lauren McMinn is a born-and-raised South Carolina girl living outside of Atlanta, Georgia, with her pastor husband, Mark, their two littles, Judah and Ada, and their family dogs, Calvin and George. After graduating with a degree in elementary education, Lauren began teaching but became a stay-at-home mom soon after her son was born. She has always had a deep appreciation for writing and reading and believes in the power the written word holds to move mountains.
The things closest to her heart are Jesus, holding her husband’s hand, the sound of her children giggling, long naps on cold sheets, being anywhere close to the ocean, the smell of old books, laughing until she aches and seeing kindness in action. She believes wholeheartedly in sharing the mercy and grace of Jesus, being her husband’s greatest support and being a blessing to others because of how greatly she has been blessed. You can find her at LaurenKMcMinn.com.