"For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God." ~ Ephesians 3:14-19
VALENTINE'S DAY 2014
For the Love of a Daughter
As Valentine's Day approaches this year with no 'special someone' in my daughter's life, I decided I wanted to write a tribute of love to my adult daughter while she is yet single, and I can still have a relationship with her that will inevitably change when that person comes along. Writing this to a 27 year old daughter is probably way overdue...but better late than never. And in some ways, the more recent years have been the best in terms of really knowing my daughter as an adult, so maybe now is the best time actually to do this. I am sharing this somewhat personal tribute to my daughter, with you, thinking that possibly it might be the kind of thing you might also want to take the time to communicate to any unmarried adult children you have in your life, if the Lord leads you, this Valentine's Day.
Able to defend self
To Sarah Elizabeth.
My only daughter in a gaggle of guys. My diamond amidst my warrior men. How I treasure you and the adult butterfly I have discovered you to be as I have had the privilege of relationship with you these last 10 years since you finished high school; the privilege of launching you and encouraging you and releasing you into your own future, your own world.
Although I have sought to teach you much as you grew up as a child and teen in my home, I also feel strongly that in these last ten years you have taught me and 'grown me up' as well.
Here are just a few of the many ways I have learned and been stretched by you.
1. I prefer non fiction, 'how to' practical reading. I have a hard time with idealistic fairy tales. They have seemed in some ways to me a dreamy waste of time disconnected from reality. I have always encouraged you to explore the truth of history, 'those who don't learn from the past are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past,' and in doing so, you have discovered that at times, history can be even more fantastical and amazing than fiction.
I, on the other hand, have learned from you, that at times the timeless truths in fictional stories can be more 'true' and maybe even inspire more hope than our current reality. Seven years ago I would not have agreed with that idea. Now I understand. Thank you. After all, heaven is nothing like anything here on earth. And heaven is what we were made for. And even Jesus spoke in parables to communicate timeless truth. This past Christmas break, I enjoyed going to my first movie in a theater, in decades, to see The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug with you, your birthday gift to me. I actually enjoyed myself. :) I do not see myself drastically changing and becoming some kind of fiction addict, or movie addict, but still, I appreciate that you have opened up my world to enjoy something not naturally attractive to me.
2. Ten years ago, I was skeptical that you were a really truth seeker, as you claimed to be. Always exploring ideas way beyond my need, you seemed at times even adversarial to me, and I was threatened and at times frightened by your questioning of the status quo. You explore so much it is difficult for you to ever be sure of anything, or even to make a decision. 'Do you expect to know the mysteries and the mind of God?' I thought. 'Impossible!' Then I fell upon your personality *type profile, read it, and finally I began to understand. You were just being who God created you to be, in the same way I was. You were and are always seeking truth.
God made me to love beauty, peace, stability, family, good. I am a nurturer. He made you to love seeking, exploring, learning and creating flexible systems of ideas from what you have learned. Those systems are never finished though, always more to learn and add. You are a thinker, a philosopher. In some ways you live in a whole different world than me, dear. But I respect your world. And I love you for allowing me a peek into it. It has opened my mind to a deeper understanding of God and His creative ways. Thank you.
My dearest daughter, If you know nothing else about me, I want you to always know I love you, and I care, and am always always rooting for you. No matter what. I know you struggle with defining love and what it means, as a true *INTP must (or like one of your favorite authors, CS Lewis, an *INTJ). If he can ponder that, so can you. To you 'love,' is a bit of a curiosity. But I don't struggle with it. I tend to 'love' lavishly. To me love means I care enough to sacrifice for you, pray for you, and always be your fan in terms of believing God created you with a special purpose in mind. I always want you to know and experience that sacred journey He has for you. That journey is and will always be the best, and for the best. I believe love in its purest sense is what God demonstrated to us through Jesus Christ. So if my life in some small ways tangents and reflects that example, those aspects of me are demonstrating love, at least in (my) *ISFJ way. :) And I hope you always 'feel' or know that.
Sarah, you are an such an amazing and absolutely incredible young woman! And although I always wished you could have had some sisters, I was thinking today that actually having only one daughter has probably made you even more precious to me. God knows best. And he saw fit to give me someone way above your average girl, when he blessed me with you as my only daughter. Someone who doesn't fit the traditional mold. Someone who never seems satisfied in the big picture, but is often easily satisfied with the simplest of pleasures. Some good chocolate. A good meal. A wonderful concert. A hike. Rock climbing. The stars in the night sky. A bit of laughter and fun. Stimulating idea-exploring conversation that doesn't necessarily reach a conclusion. Pictures with witty fun captions. Poetry. Mysterious feeling paintings. A symbolic necklace. A new piece of music to learn and explore. Actually tons of new music to learn and explore, more than is possible! A good book. OK a lot of good books. A truckload of good books. A room with nothing on its bare white walls except a constellation chart, the elements table, and a lot of necklaces hanging on a rack. For furnishing, lots of bookshelves filled with books and notebooks and papers. For the longest time, in our large beautiful home, you chose to sleep on an air mattress. Which I guess shows your priorities! I pray the Lord always blesses you with simple pleasures as He takes on the complex journeys He has prepared for you.
The *INTP mind must express itself somehow!
Speaking of priorities, as far as clothes, comfort was always most important to you. You would often wear the same thing to church week after week, until someone there asked you, 'Is that the only outfit you have?' Well, no, but it was the one you liked the best. A funny memory I have is when my Mom said, when you were about 12, 'Her clothes never match!' And I remember when I finally decided, that a daughter of mine (me being a person who loves home decorating and clothes almost as an art form) should not leave my home without having some 'training' in coordinating outfits. And it was so funny and cute as you made dressing a system to explore and figure out. That was the only way you could have found it important or interesting to you. And now I must say you are quite good at it.
And I am of course so proud of all you have accomplished! You told me, back when you were 22 and it was time to get a real job, that you never really wanted to 'be' anything in particular. You just want to learn lots of things (everything?) and do things. (Makes it hard to answer all those who ask that oft asked question when you were growing up... 'So, what do you want to be'?) I have since learned that after you learn things and/or do things you also want to analyze and build systems of ideas from what you have learned or done. Should I be surprised that the introverted problem solving required in rock climbing makes it one of your favorite forms of exercise? And I think it is the mental problem solving and physical catharsis that piano playing involves that makes it intriguing and pleasurable to you.
Turning every idea on its head to better understand...
Still, in spite of never having a goal to 'be' something, you have become a wonderful and creative piano teacher, and have learned to evaluate and take on each student as a unique challenge, helping them develop in ways above what most teachers do in areas like composition, improvisation, dynamics, and music appreciation. You have conquered the
discipline of the less fun, but essential administrative tasks of scheduling and invoicing. You paid cash for your college degree, car, computer, taken a trip to France, and are living debt free in a debt encumbered world. This puts you way above most 27 year olds today. And of course I am totally in awe of all you have accomplished and are able to do on the piano, with only a few years of formal lessons. Your playing is a ministry to me and I am so grateful for it! Can't wait until you record some new things for us to have for posterity!
I pray that in your spiritual journey you would continually know and embrace God and His love for you in ever deepening way. I pray that you would fully trust yourself to God's tender care, and that God would show Himself strong on your behalf, your best advocate and protector as you travel to new places and meet new people. And may God preserve and protect you for that special man, that super man, that I believe God has for you somewhere. Although you are not like most girls pining away to be married, (which is probably good), I do believe you will marry someday. And I am kind of expecting that "Mr. Right" is going to have to be a man who can be a mind mate for you, above all else. :) I could be wrong...but I am happy God knows better than me and can bring to pass for you, His very best, whoever and whatever that is.
Mother & Daughter — November 2013
I am so grateful for the privilege of being able to raise you and release you. I am so proud of you, my beautiful, brilliant daughter! I am praying that if it is the Lord's best for you, that you would move forward with your tentative summer plans, and plans for next year, with tenacity and confidence. Go for it girl!!
Remember: "Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt." Measure for Measure, Act I, Scene IV
Always rooting for your success, fulfillment and happiness,
(with tears. always tears. that is just what *ISFJ's do.)
*Taken from the Myers-Briggs personality testing. Reading Sarah's intp profile helped me understand her so much better. Highly recommended for use in families. :) Or for anyone who wants to understand themselves and other people better
Although the recital pictures I have included are over 5 years old, I do think Sarah's old friend from her teen years, photographer Rebekah J. Murray, captured some of Sarah's many sides in these comical pictures. I could not think of any pictures more appropriate to accompany this tribute. Rebekah back then was only at the beginning of her career, since then she has traveled all over the world and is constantly astounding me with the artistic beauty of what she is able to capture as a wedding photographer.
"For You have formed us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in You."
~ St. Augustine, Confessions, Book 1, Chapter 1
"...in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." ~ Romans 8:37-39