My hope, my dream, my prayer for you as you go, as you grow and as you learn and begin to know, know so much more... as your current small, simple world begins to widen, deepen and all around expand; I pray that you know who you are. Really. That you see your worth, as you are in God's eye's. Not in comparison to the company that you're in, the clothing you wear or the title you hold.
Carefully choose friends. Friends who are honest and have a desire to stretch themselves and challenge you in your convictions, as well. Friends who will cheer you on. Avoid those who want to steal the spotlight. Invest in those around you. Friends are for blessing. Never give to get. Be the friend who is treasured. I hope you grasp entirely the passion of the dream God places in your heart. Embrace adversity, learn, and rise above it; Or it will consume you. Allow this pattern to happen over and over... it will make you stronger and it is most likely a sign that you are headed in the right direction. Don't let what others say cause you to fear taking that first step.
Smile with confidence when you fail. Know that you are simply learning, like everyone else. Self loathing only magnifies the problem. Pray. Pray. And pray some more. When you are corrected, don't resist or make excuses, but be gracious and examine your heart. When you wrong another, go to them. Apologize. Create boundaries when necessary. Share your pearls only with your gems. When someone is mean, have extra grace for them, because somewhere down the road they [most likely] feel they weren't given enough. Don't allow a hurt to cripple you. Forgive and Move on.
Aim to be the first to: say 'hello', smile, compliment, shake hands, use their name and make eye contact. Listen and observe more than you speak. Small acts of kindness can impact another for a lifetime. The small things are really the big things. Let your word, be your word. Remember that your time with another is their gift to you and visa versa. Put your best foot forward.
Know that these are goals, not always obtainable in the moment. Perfection is a trap. The people who love you most will let you down, it's Ok. You will let them down, it's Ok. We are all human, really, it's Ok. Cling to the hope, peace and joy that you will find only in God, who is your loving Heavenly Father.
God entrusted me with the responsibility to raise you... but, at the age of 27, your presence in my life, has already taught me more than I ever knew I needed to learn. I'm excited to guide you [and watch you] as you grow, and I pray that you one-day 'stand on my shoulders'.
Sadie "taking Lauren's picture" the day she came home from the hospital.