Fall 2012 – dang it – that will be in just a few months –weeks! Just when I’ve become accustomed to having my son Daniel away in college, I am about to be faced with the prospect of having another child away too. Yet –the fact that it’s my daughter weighs more heavily on my heart than a son. Yet if I had to describe my beautiful 19 year old Beth in just two words – the words fire and grace come to mind because she’ll face whatever lies before her with fire and grace.
I’ve tried to raise each of my three children to be independent without over sheltering them from all the pain of this world. The result has been with my daughter, she just chooses to see each trying situation that presents itself as a catalyst for growth and sometimes unexplainable purpose. This makes me smile because I remember how the tears flowed from her beautiful green eyes, in those weeks of her learning how to walk. She’d take one unsteady step, and slowly sink to the ground in a rivulet of tears. Then there was the day, a few years later, when I decided to begin teaching her to read. I laid the book, about two inches thick, down in front of her, and she burst into tears again exclaiming “it’s too hard!” She had the misconception that she had to learn the whole book that first day. Needless to say, she has become quite proficient in walking and reading – all on her terms.
On her terms, this is how my Elizabeth (Beth) approaches everything in her life. Of my three children, she is by far the “most strong-willed” one, which thankfully, has been aimed for good not evil. Well – there is video footage of her taking her brother’s wallet and depositing his coins in the back of the tricycle, but she was only two years old at the time. And she does still “borrow” my things, but that’s what daughters do right? (Note to self – check her suitcases before she leaves for school in case she’s “borrowing” my stuff again!) I still maintain that it is this strong-will that will keep her on the straight and narrow. It is this will that she gained her strength and healing from during her rocky middle school years. It is this will that I know will propel her into the unsure waters of college next fall.
Fire and grace. The fire comes across in my daughter’s opinions about any given subject making me realize I’ve never had to wonder what she thought about any given subject. She is what my daddy would have called a spitfire. The grace is exhibited through service and compassion. She has a servant’s heart that I see in her desire to do missions and minister as a youth intern. The combination has created a young woman passionate about her life.
There is a black and white portrait that hangs in her room. A friend of ours had the idea of having Kent wear his pastoral robe and she photographed him holding Beth, as an infant, sleeping peacefully in her daddy’s arms. It symbolizes being held in our heavenly Father’s arms and it is one of my favorites because it perfectly mirrors the type of faith that has carried her through her life. I look at it now I am in awe at how time seems to have flashed before my eyes. Was it really just 19 years ago that I held her for the first time, scared to death we’d have bitter battles as she entered her teen years? I remember promising that would never happen, but there have been a few fireworks. I don’t think we’d be normal if we three girls (myself and my TWO daughters) didn’t have a few bouts of tension and tears. This is usually when Dad hides out in his room till the storm passes. And this too does pass –just in time for a girl’s shopping day.
I read a quote from Catherine Pulsifer that says – A mother’s treasure is her daughter. After being blessed with two beautiful daughters – I have to agree –and I’m thankful, so thankful, that neither one has become the sum of all my fears.
No the sum of my fears is that she’ll get lost in College Station, yet God has taken care of that possible fear –big brother is already there. More importantly—her Abba Father will lead her.