1. You are loved. When I tell you I love you, I don’t tell you that without feeling the weight of the statement. I say it to remind you and myself, that you are deeply cherished; that you are the first human being on the earth who made me want to be a better person. You are one of the best things that has ever happened to me. You are genuinely loved by me and more importantly, loved in an incomprehensible sense by God. You were created with a purpose and His love out-measures, outlasts and defeats any human expression of affection. He died so that you may be known. I pray you realize that, never forget it, and never settle for less than what God has planned for you.
2.Don’t fall in love with someone who says the right things. Fall in love with someone who does the right things; who displays the fruit indicative of a man who abides with and follows in the footsteps of our God. Watch closely his behavior…how he treats his mother and sisters, restaurant waiters, and the cashier at Walmart. Desire does not equal love. Search the Word to see if the man you think you love is the man God has deemed an appropriate match for you for the rest of your life. If you find affirmation from God regarding your relationship, understand that He also teaches that marriage is not easy, nor meant to deliver us unending, blissful happiness forever. Often, marriage is our mission assignment and our trials are the fire in which we are refined. Once married, there are times when you will want to give up. My best suggestion and deepest hope for you during the trying times that are sure to come in your life is that you turn to Christ. Seek Him. Know Him. Trust Him.
3. The two most important days of your life are the day you were born, and the day you discover why you exist. If you haven’t found the reason for your existence on this planet yet, ask God. He aches to have a relationship with you. And I pray for you to have an unbreakable relationship with Him. It the only relationship you will ever have that fulfills you completely. It is yours, from the moment you say ‘yes’ to Him until eternity.
4. Don’t compare yourself to other people and wish to be something you aren’t. You are amazing. Beautiful. Talented. You are everything you were created to be. Never forget that. Never demean yourself. When you do so, you demean the One who created you. Always try to maintain an attitude of gratitude for the countless blessings in your life. Wake up every single day and seek something that encourages a positive, grateful attitude.
5. You will stumble as you attempt to navigate your life. Stumbling is just that…a stumble. It is not a fall. It is not failure. Recover from a stumble by reminding yourself you are the Daughter of A King, created with a purpose. Let His love steady you as you continue on your journey. Remember these things: What is true when you are on top of the world continues to be true when you are in the depths of dispair. Although glaringly imperfect, you have a family and we will always love you, irregardless of your mistakes or successes and irregardless of OUR mistakes or successes. We love you simply because you are who you are…an amazing grand-daughter, daughter, sister, sister-in-law, cousin, aunt, friend, artist, advocate, student and child of God.
6. You will experience pain. Excruciating pain that may possibly lead you to the edge of hopelessness. Although you may not know it or understand it now, God often uses such dispair as the fuse. Once lit, it leads us to the next step toward our primary purpose in this world. Cherish the process of refinement. Ultimately, it brings you into close relationship with our Creator. Nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing, brings you closer to your God that knowing you are so small and He is so big. If you desire to hear God’s voice in your life, turn to Scripture, even if you don’t comprehend it. God speaks to us through His Word. He will not exclude you from that conversation.
7. Be an independent thinker. Avoid the stigma of conformity. Remember who you are in the midst of what the world tells you to be. Reject fear of criticism. Take risks, particularly when expressing your thoughts and beliefs. Always remember that the path is narrow when walking with God. Do not sell yourself out for the comfort of communal acceptance. Such acceptance is fleeting and frivolous and worthless. Hold firmly to your beliefs, once you identify what those beliefs are. Reject the urge to silence your voice in an attempt to make those around you comfortable. Never let fear deter you from your path. However, never let fear deter you from altering your path either. If you recognize that you’ve strayed from His path for you, return to Him. There is abundant grace and mercy at the feet of Christ. It takes courage to conform to the direction you are led to follow by God. Familiarize yourself with the concepts mentioned: Grace and Mercy. They are available to you from now until the end of time. Listen to the still, small voice inside of you. Learn to be attentive to it and trust it.
8. You will arrive at the place you were meant to be at the very moment God orchestrates that you be there. Calm down. Have faith. Know that God is sovereign. Live out these truths courageously by always making Jesus Christ your soft place to land. Remember that the Holy Spirit was sent to be your Helper. He will never leave you.
9. Truly leading means serving others…putting someone else’s needs before your own. In the economy of Christ, we let Him lead. This means we decrease so that His power may increase within us. Be kind to others, even if it’s incredibly difficult. Remember that your reward will often not be experienced here, but instead will be waiting for you in the place you were meant to call home. That place is Eternity. You have a responsibility to share a view of the beauty of eternity with every human being that crosses your path. Be the hands and feet of Christ whenever and wherever you can. Love. Love endlessly. Tolerance is not love. Tolerance is kind. Tolerance is easy. Love is difficult, painful and involves loss. You can love every human being on this planet. God will lead you, if you are willing, to live out that love. This kind of love will cost you something and that’s okay. Remember that you are always responsible for how you act, regardless of the circumstances. You will never out-hate someone or something.
10. I am beyond blessed to have been given the opportunity to raise you for 18 years and have never been able to find words that express the depth of love I have for you, my daughter. I have always known you are not truly mine. You belong to the one who breathed life into you. God is your Father. Know that there is someone praying incessantly that no matter what avenue you travel, your existence will be used to glorify Him. Until the day you reach eternity with the King of All, I will try desperately to love you in a way that foreshadows the love Jesus Christ has for you. He knows you. He knows your heart. Never forget He is the Lord of your life, HRJ.