Dear Keri Lynn,
This month you turned 16.
All of your life, your Dad and I have been telling you that you cannot grow. We've threatened to cancel birthday parties. We've threatened to bring out the giant sledgehammer to shorten you up a bit. We've begged. We've pleaded.
But some things can't be denied.
Someday, we'll have to let you move on into adulthood. Even now, there is one word that keeps popping into my head when I think of you. Woman. The little girl days are gone. You're developing your own ideas, coming to grips with the world around you, learning more about your faith.
I look at you, and my breath is sucked out of me; I think you're so beautiful. And the thing is this. You're just as beautiful on the inside as you are on the outside. That's saying a lot, my girl.
People always say, "Wow! SEVEN kids?!" You've heard them. And you've heard me give the same answer, "Yeah, but the biggest shock is that first baby. It's the FIRST one that changes your life." And I look over at you with such pride, I can hardly stand it. You changed my life, Keri Lynn. By your very existence, you made me a less selfish, more loving human being. While you were cutting your teeth, I was cutting my maternal teeth on you, the guinea pig. Little did I know that all those 3/4 emptied jars of creamed corn, all those Cheerios stuck to the carpet, the hundreds and hundreds of pictures, phone calls to Poison Control, the boo-boo stick, play-dates with special friends, picture books, etc. would amount to THIS! A woman.
This year, several more families have started to depend on you for babysitting needs, most right here in our neighborhood. I've never heard one complaint. In fact, most pay a lot more than they need to just so they don't lose your services! You're making money hand over fist, and you give generously of your own accord to the church. You are a careful planner and administrator. You lay your clothes out the night before a big event. You do your own laundry. You keep track of important dates and help me in hundreds of different ways.
From the time you were a little thing, you've always been concerned about what you would be when you grew up. You decided when you were about eight years old that you would be a missionary. A missionary to China. Then, as you grew older, you realized that you would need to get a college education, so you started worrying about what would be the best educational path to take to help you accomplish your goal of being a missionary. You didn't want to be a nurse -- too squeamish. You weren't all that excited about becoming a teacher. Architect? Bible translator? Computer technician? The possibilities were endless. Then, just last month, a thought occurred to you. A pilot! That idea has thrilled you like few others have. You think that you just might become a pilot. Pilots can be an important part of missionary work. So we're in the process of looking for the best career path for you to achieve this goal.
My prayer for you, dear one, is that the Lord bless you as much as He has blessed me through you. I pray that He will bring to you a wonderful God-fearing husband with a heart for missions even stronger than yours. May He bless you with children who love the Lord. May the heritage of our faith continue through you and your family.
"Know therefore that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindess to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments . . . " Deut. 7:9