She radiated joy. She danced with unfettered abandon. When she laughed, waves of hilarity splashed onto those around her. Eyes sparkling, this new teenager utterly squeezed every ounce of delight from the day, wasting no opportunity for silliness and merriment.
On my daughter's 13th birthday, I soaked in every precious moment, silently and continually thanking God for His goodness. I couldn't help but remember my own childhood. The contrast brought tears to my eyes as I remembered the violence, anger, abuse, hunger and rejection my 4 siblings and I knew as normal, everyday life.
Part of me marveled at the innocent, unbridled joy my daughter now exhibited. Part of me hurt as I witnessed the God-given confidence and security I never possessed while growing up. The two of us are so much alike - given to drama, intense, fun-loving, friendly, never one to hold back our opinions. For a brief moment I wondered how I might have turned out...if only.
Shaking myself back into the present, I laugh as Emily dances the tango with a friend on the front lawn, inspiring all the other girls at her party to find a partner and do the same. I realize that a measure of healing occurs each time I watch my precious daughter revel in her freedom. And I let go of the longing for a different childhood. Somehow I come to terms with the fact that God has truly worked all things in my life out for good - and He will continue to do so as long as I trust Him.
My heart swells as the girl's laughter echoes through our neighborhood. I rejoice that Emily knows more about the Lord at her tender age than I did at twice her age - cause for true celebration.
Because of the cross, because of the truth of God's word and His unending love and faithfulness, the cycle of hurt has been broken in one more family.
And my joy is complete.
Copyright © 2008 Julie Gillies. All rights reserved.