Happy Second Birthday, Clara Girl.

My sweet Clara Anne,

I’m reflecting back on the last year with you and smiling. You have brought lots of giggles, lots of snuggles, lots of tantrums, and lots of joy. I adore you, little girl. 

Your warm disposition makes those around you feel loved. Just this past Sunday you were at the front of the church singing the children’s song. After the children were dismissed instead of following the other kids to your class you tenderly toddled over to a friend/babysitter, who happened to be leading worship in front of the congregation, just to give her a hug and a snuggle. You just love being loved and giving love. You make others smile when you shine your bright smile at them. Clara means “clear and bright” and Anne means “grace”. Since day one, your daddy and I have been praying that you would be a clear and bright picture of grace to those around you. God is answering that prayer with a resounding “Yes!” As I watch you love others deeply, offering them warm solace, I see the image of God shining in you. I pray that one day you will give your heart to the Savior, so that He may take your warmth and mold it into a Holy Spirit given, selfless love. As He does that I pray that your gift will be a light, a city on a hill, in a dark world pointing others to Christ. 

You are passionate and feel things deeply. Honestly, sometimes I feel like you’re just dramatic, but when I look deeper I see that you are gently passionate and seek justice. In your ideal world everyone speaks in kind tones all the time and everything is always fair. When your world doesn’t look like that, which is often because…sin, you experience these passionate emotions. When your sister takes a toy from you, you scream and hit. When mommy raises my voice as I reprimand you, which I’m extremely sorry for, you burst out in tears. When it’s sissy’s turn, not yours, for a date with Daddy, you sob. The more I watch you the more I learn your emotions stem from an innate desire for justice. That is something I pray never changes. I pray that your desire for justice fuels your actions motivating you to live out Micah 6:8, “Act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.” I am also praying that God brings maturity in you, teaching you to use your emotions as an indicator light not a steering wheel. 

You are teachable. Even at such a young age I see a sweet humility in you. When you know you are wrong you genuinely ask for forgiveness, sometimes without prompting. Maybe it’s some people pleaser mentality in you, but you truly listen when being instructed. Your attention span isn’t long, but you cling to what you hear. I love seeing you grow and mature as you humbly allow God and others to speak into your life. It is an incredible gift and one I pray God develops more deeply as you grow. If you maintain a humble, teachable, surrendered spirit God will use you to do incredible things, and I’m excited to get to watch.

You love: people, getting dirty, reading, cuddles, animals and bananas. I’ve already touched on your love for people, and its one of the greatest gifts I see in you. There have been times I’ve called you “Destructo”…you simply love dirt. It makes me happy to see you roll in dirt or hop inside a sensory bin of flour. I pray the memories you make playing in the dirt will be some of your fondest. One of your other favorite passtimes is reading. Often I find you sitting on the floor with a pile of books around you, which brings great joy to my heart. A list of your favorite things would not be complete with your most favorite thing all two years of your life…cuddles. You crawl up in my lap, lay your head on my chest and melt my heart. I have a strong feeling physical touch will be your love language. You’ve also really been loving animals lately. Watching you interact with Toto has been great fun and you get really excited about going to friend’s houses that have farms. For over a year your favorite food has been bananas. I’m continuously amazed at how quickly you can inhale a banana! 

You dislike: potatoes, eggs, milk and anything scary. For the longest time you’ve held quite a reputation for being an exceptional eater. You love food, which makes me laugh. However, there are a few food that you have never touched since I first introduced them to you. Potatoes and eggs in any form and a glass of cow’s milk are the lowest of the low on the food scale. The only way you will eat potatoes is in french fry form, but even then you occasionally reject them. No matter how I cook them you won’t eat eggs, and you’ve never drank cow’s milk since you stopped taking formula a year ago. I’ve written on your fear, which I’m sure I’ve modeled for you. You tend to be fearful of many things like bumpy roads, unfamiliar animals, loud noises, falling, the dark, etc. Although I do believe God is working in you and you’re beginning to see an improvement in how you respond to your fears. I’m so proud of you for that! 

My favorite memory of you this year is all the times I’ve found you covered in mud. I don’t know how you get so dirty so quickly, but it puts a big smile on my face…most of the time. I love how you like to explore things using all your senses. I think you are probably going to be a tactile learner, and its so fun to watch your mind grow as you explore the mud and dirt. A close runner up for favorite memory happened just a week or two ago. We went to the store to get the supplies we needed to make the cake for your and Ella Jane’s birthday party. Ella Jane was sitting in the seat of the cart and you were in the basket with all the food. I kept piling food in with you making it a little more difficult to see you as you were buried beneath food. When I got to the register and started unloading the cart I picked up a block of butter that was strangely opened…it also had odd little finger holes in it. When I looked at your adorably greasy faced it all made sense. You had eaten over a tablespoon of butter. I’m thankful it was a quick grocery run or I’m sure the damage would have been worse. The ladies at the cash register burst out laughing and my tender little baby got her feelings hurt so you started crying, but the moment was too cute and too Clara to pass up documenting. When we got home I snapped a picture of you with the evidence. 

The verse I’m praying for you this year is Psalm 119:130-131. “The teaching of your word gives light, so even the simple can understand. I pant with expectation, longing for your commands.” I pray that your simple, yet exceptional, two-year-old mind will understand the teaching of God’s glorious word. I want you to grow in Christ in such a new and unique way that your little soul longs for His commands. I pray that you will begin to understand that God’s Word is a love story of redemption, written to sinners from a glorious Savior. I pray you will see that it has amazing, life-giving, instructions. I pray you will cherish His Word as you grow towards cherishing Christ. 

Clara Anne, I love you with all my heart. I tell you often that God made you special (thanks Veggie Tales), and He has an amazing plan for your life. That is so true. I cannot wait to see what God does in and through you, baby girl. 

–  Mommy (11-13-19)