“He does not take His eyes off the righteous…” Job 36:7
Anna Kate, you turned 14 and this birthday celebration looks a bit different. You have had the best attitude. This confirms that we named you correctly, for your name means gracious. When talking about this whole staying home time, you said that you “were made for this.” So like you to see the good. Yes, you are a homebody and do not seem to mind this slower pace. Gives you more time to learn new things. Just the other day you were learning to sew and made a really cute bag. You are also going between career paths and planning your high school classes accordingly. It is exciting to see how the Lord is leading. You know He has plans for you and created you with special gifts to carry out His plans. You will bring Him much fame and glory. I am thankful to have a front row seat!
When I think back to before you were born, I remember how we were in a bit of uncertain times then too. We had just moved back to Texas and were so happy to be “home”. However, having never lived in this city with kids before, we did not know about doctors, preschools, activities and so much more. One day I walked into a business to order some things for our home. The owner gave me a list of everything I had questions about. I was so thankful and each recommendation was exactly what we needed. I learned then that it only takes one person to make a town feel less unknown. I have tried to do the same. I see this same desire in you, but you take it a step further. You look for the unseen and serve them in your own remarkable, quiet ways. Your attention to detail keeps your ears and eyes open to needs that go unnoticed.
I watch you serve with such compassion and gentleness. It is quite extraordinary. Your younger siblings notice and want to be with you. Even our dog was quite a fan of you. You sat for hours with him those last days. You seem to have been given an extra measure of kindness that you give to animals and people alike. Once someone has you as a friend, they soon realize what a treasure you are. I pray that when the day comes and people miss this, that the Lord will guard your heart. I pray He will keep you close to His heart and reassure you that you are precious to Him. I pray you will never forget that His eyes are on you, even when others are not. You are seen and known by Him. You are a treasure He considered worth dying for. Now you are seen as righteous when He looks at you, precious girl.
I have also loved watching your determination. Each race you run is well thought out and adjusted according to the last races results. You continue to want to get better. With this strength, I pray you never feel pressured to try and earn God’s love. There is nothing you can do to make Him love you more than He already does. Nothing changes His love for you. The same is true with your dad and I. You are stuck with our love. Takes a lot of pressure off, doesn’t it? You respond well to unconditional love and acceptance. Most kids do. This does not excuse sin, but you can trust that any correction is done for the good of your heart. We confuse appropriate discipline with being unloved sometimes, but that is a lie from satan. Know I am still being disciplined by the Lord at my age and do not ever seeing that stopping until Heaven. More and more into the image of Christ, that is the goal at the end of our earthly race. The awards we will be given in Heaven will make any received earthy medals seem like cheap field day medals that are given to every participant.
When I look at your name in scripture, I see a woman who saw Jesus as a baby with her very own eyes (see Luke 2:36-38). She lived in the temple and worshipped day and night. Can you imagine the day when she actually saw in person who she had been worshipping?! She responded in thanksgiving and told of the redemption He would bring. I pray you never forget that you are now the temple that the Holy Spirit dwells in. His presence never leaves you. May your life be lived in response with worship, praise and thanksgiving. With this on your lips and filling your heart and mind, you will have no time for the popular gossip of the day. You will shine as a light in the dark world, burning with His fire. This will keep you stable when all around us is shaken like it is now.
And one more thing. When you look in the mirror and see your stunning red hair, may you be reminded of how rare you are. You stand out without even trying. When people see your outside beauty, I pray it is only enhanced by the consuming love of your Savior. This is the beauty that will last all your days. Keep Him as your first love and you will be stunning!! I sure do love watching you grow up! You just get more remarkable each passing year.
Happy Birthday, Anna Kate!