Happy Birthday, Ellie!

Eight years!
The Lord has blessed you with eight years of life, Ellie Ruth.
And what a ride it's been!

You (literally) entered the world with your fists up and your tongue sticking out of your mouth.
Yet you buried your head into my chest with intense delight the moment I held you in my arms.
You, dear daughter, are an enigma.
You are tenacious, yet tender.
Defiant, yet delightful.
Stubborn, yet sweet.
You fight ferociously, but love with intense loyalty.
You refuse to yield, but sacrifice self to defend and protect the innocent.

Dad and I marvel at your strengths and weaknesses, and every time, we end the thought or conversation with, "The Lord HAS to have a purpose for such a personality!"
There is no way the Lord created you with such strength of character, such strength of conviction and such passion without having a plan to use it for His glory - and your good.
My prayer is that He is making you into a modern-day Amy Carmichael.
A little girl who will grow into a woman who will fight for and serve others, ignoring criticism,  naysayers, and overwhelming odds to move forward in zealous obedience to speak up for those who cannot speak from themselves and stand firm for TRUTH and RIGHTEOUSNESS, no matter the cost.
May you, like Jim Elliot, surrender your life to what the Lord wants, instead of seeking to satisfy self.
"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."

Your struggle will always be to deny self. You know this now, at eight years old.
You want to obey, you want to do what's right, but you want what you want when you want it - more.
The beautiful thing is, your sin is not done in secret. You sin boldly, and because you do, it is easily recognized, addressed, and when you are humble, immediately confessed and forgiven.
This is a wonderful thing, Ellie! 
Secret sins grow deep roots that choke the voice of the Holy Spirit, but public sin that is acknowledged and repented of has its roots ripped out before it can burrow into the soil of your heart, and multiply. So keep your gloves and tools at the ready, daughter, and become a master gardener, maintaining a beautiful, colorful, fruitful garden with nary a weed in sight!
And remember - you never have to identify or kill the weeds alone because ... 
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. I Corinthians 10:13

The Lord created you strong, Ellie. But He did not do so for you to depend on yourself.
No matter how many strengths you possess, no matter how valuable or admired they may be, you will never be enough on your own. You NEED the Lord. Every day. In every way.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Himand He will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5, 6

I pray He will teach you how to love Him more than you love yourself. It is not easy, but it is best.
And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ Mark 12:30

You are a wonderful enigma, my daughter.
A riddle wrapped in a rhyme.
But the Lord has you all figured out, for it is He who made you, exactly as you are. If you yield yourself to Him, willingly, completely, and joyfully, He will do amazing and wonderful things with you - and for you - because He is a God who blesses obedience and gives good things to those who love Him.

We have been blessed with eight years of delightful craziness with you, Ellie Ruth, and we cannot wait to see what the Lord has planned for your life.
We know it is going to be BEAUTIFUL because YOU are beautiful.
❤ And we love you, very, very much. ❤

Happy 8th Birthday!

Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His presence continually! I Chronicles 16:11

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