I'm not who I was.
No, not that girl. The above picture is of Floopy the Fishing Fairy, J’s creation (with parental assembly help) for the AWANA potato head competition, and consequently dubbed the silliest of spuds in Sparks.
I’m talking about the girl in these pics: our J.
“I’m a different kind of girl”, J told some friends of ours as they were babysitting her awhile back. It was in a positive, confident sort of way from what I can gather.
You know, when you live practically every day of life with a person, sometimes it can be easy to overlook things that other people see as special, unusual or particularly precious. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely think that my daughter is special. What loving parent doesn’t see their child in that way? It’s just that I don’t always recognize many aspects in the same way that others do because most aspects of my daughter are so familiar to me. Does that even make sense?
I guess I’m a little slow. Sometimes it takes the continual comments of other adults and teachers saying that she is exceptional, that she is destined for something great, that they can’t wait to see what God is going to do with her, etc. for me to really take hold of that truth. Then, when I realize it, when I experience that “aha” moment of “Wow, God. The way you made that creation of yours is pretty special”, I am completely awe-struck. Really, it overwhelms me. (Please don’t receive this as an annoying parent puffed up braggy-brag. It is meant as an encouragement to ALL parents to look and REALLY SEE the wonder that is before your eyes. I know that my flawed tendency is to focus more on what needs to be improved upon and I can miss the blessings of the good stuff in the process).
J truly is a different kind of girl. Don’t get me wrong, although she is certainly a “good kid”, she is still a 7-year-old and very human. Yet there is something that J has that I know that, at that age, I didn’t. J is continually thinking outside of herself and filled with compassion and empathy for others. Having at one point in my life scored a solid FOUR in compassion on my own spiritual gifts analysis, I am fully aware that having large doses of such an attribute is indeed a gift. (In case you can’t tell by context and if you aren’t familiar with spiritual giftedness evaluations, they run along similar lines as a personality test. And, uh, a four indicates that compassion wasn’t exactly my strong point. I’d like to think that I’ve grown quite a bit in that area over the years, by the grace of God).
Gifts are wonderful, but they may also come with challenges.
Along with compassion & sensitivity can come overwhelming emotions. Along with drive can come the challenge of perfectionism. It’s a dance for anyone deciphering how to not allow feelings to be boss whilst not quenching, but rather fostering, the spirit that God designed us with for a purpose.
We are so blessed by our “different kind of girl”. Our girl who:
at age 4 suggested that “maybe we can get a kid that doesn’t have a home” before she had ever in her life heard what adoption was
often when disciplined, amidst the emotion & disappointment utters phrases like “Thank you for helping me”
has a special knack for encouraging others
although anxious about little things has been given a special dose of fearlessness when it comes to standing up for the helpless
doesn’t give up when things are hard
at age 6 when she heard about what was going on at Passion 2012 immediately went and raided her piggy bank for her newly acquired, first ever tooth fairy money, & then some to donate to help end slavery
spits forth wisdom at age 7 that leaves my mouth agape… things like “God’s power is more than we need. It’s just like we can take an extra fill of wonder”
is PASSIONATE about standing up for the helpless & ending slavery…
…and is going to run 13 miles to help end it.
Slaves still exists all over the world… 27 million actually. Even here in the good ol’ U S of A. I would highly suggest you visit End It Movement, read the stats, and check out some of the coalition partners at the bottom of the page. Slavery exists in more ways than you know. Be informed.
Children in India are particularly prone to being victimized because of the vast number of orphans in poverty. 95% of the girls born in the district become enslaved. A couple of years ago the Rev ran a half-marathon for As Our Own, an amazing organization that rescues girls in India. This year, we are the team leaders for the run in Nashville. This is a little hilarious, because we are NOT runners. But we are passionate about ending slavery… the most passionate probably being our 7-year-old. When she found out that daddy was running, she insisted on being involved. Seeing as she is too little to run the half marathon but not too little to make a big difference, we came up with the compromise to allow her to run the half marathon distance cumulatively over time to help raise awareness and support for As Our Own, and to shed light on slavery in general. J is in it to end it, and she is SERIOUS. We all are. Donate HERE if you feel so led to help our 7 year old in her efforts rescue girls from slavery.