Oh, my baby, how can it be that you are turning four? But, here we are, four years after you came into this world, blessed by the last four years and looking forward to the next year and the year after that, and the year after that…for many to come, Lord willing.
This year, from three to four, has been a lot easier in some ways and a lot harder in others. You sleep so well these days, during the night. You are quite a bit less impulsive. You have also almost completely given up your nap-times for quiet playing. Well, mostly quiet … I must admit, I will, most afternoons, just turn on the television so that you WILL BE quiet so I can get a few things done.
You continue to love your brother; however, now that your brother has a mind of his own as to what it is he wants to do, you also fight with your brother. Good grief, the screaming and hollering that goes on some days. But, play or fight, I pray that you both know what a treasure you have in each other and stick to each other, showing each other the way when one falters.
Speaking of playing, you love to play and have begun to use your imagination. You enjoy playing a version of “house” with your dolls and kitchen toys. Recently, you began playing on the stairs, putting numerous belongings into bags and setting everything up on multiple stairs “just so” before you began your journey. I love these moments, where you are so involved with your games, talking to yourself and absolutely content in your own little world.
This year, too, you have begun to take delight in singing worship songs both at church and at home. This blesses me, to hear you sing to the Lord. I lost a trial earlier this year and the day after our defeat, I stayed home with you kids and went for a run. As I was internally struggling with whether we, as a family, are walking a path which the Lord wants us to, with me working part-time and the guilt that accompanies leaving you guys for longer than usual, you spontaneously began to sing: “forever God is faithful, forever God is true, forever God is with us, forever …”
You can be such an encouragement to your Mama, Jubilee.
We began memorizing Bible verses this year, putting your incredible memory to work. It is so easy for you to remember these verses, word for word, when you put your mind to it. You even recited Joshua 1:9 to Gabrielle when she was having a difficult day. We were bursting with pride when you recited John 3:16 at Christmas for church–but, we were not so pleased that you tried to grab the microphone after you were done with your verse.
Which leads me to my next point …. This year, God has used you to show me how the sinful nature is truly bound up within the human heart; how it bubbles to the surface and must be washed away and tamed by the Almighty Father. I fear for your little spirit, I fear for your attitude, and heart. There are times that you are NOT sorry for what you’ve done. Times you lie. Times you hate. Times you envy. And I despair of how to discipline you so that you can truly understand your sin and repent.
Perhaps what I see is a reflection of things in myself that the Lord even now prunes. I struggle with how to encourage your own personality and self but at the same time help you understand that you must submit to our authority, your dad’s and mine, because ultimately, you must submit and obey God’s authority over your life. I sense within you, even at this age, a rebellion and subterfuge that scares me.
So, the Lord impressed on me recently, how we must do battle together against this sinful nature within you. Your dad and I will guide you now, when you are young, but as you grow, it will be up to you to do such battle. As you take up your weapons; however, victory will be assured, not because of your might or strength, but because the Lord fights for you: “Hear, O Israel, today you are going into battle against your enemies. Do not be fainthearted or afraid; do not be terrified or give way to panic before them. For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.” (Deuteronomy 20:3).
Yes, my daughter. The LORD has given you victory but paradoxically, to attain it, you must first submit to Him. Then, take up His call and will on your life. Lay down your will to His plans, so you may take hold of Him and pursue Him. He is, and will be ever with you. May you know Him all the days of your life.
I love you so much, my girl.
Happy birthday, Jubilee.