My charming, challenging middle child. Oh, how you exhaust me! Mentally, physically, emotionally. I sometimes fear I will never be able to keep up with you.
People say that the middle child is the peacemaker and I throw my head back and laugh. They’ve surely never met you. You posses so many wonderful qualities, but making peace is not one of them. You are the spitfire of our family, stubborn and argumentative, contentious and unyielding.
It is utterly fascinating to me that you are the exact opposite of this when you walk out our doors. At school teachers were concerned that you would never stick up for yourself. I sat through many conferences hearing about my meek, shy, easily bullied child and wondered how in the world that was possible. You certainly stand your ground at home! The teachers, in turn, were surprised to hear that you could ever be an ounce of trouble, as your behavior for them was nothing short of role-model and praise worthy.
I just shook my head in amazement.
All of these qualities – this strong-willed, strong-tempered, frustrating independence you have –
(I can still hear your tiny toddler voice declaring angrily ‘I do it my own self!’)
all of these things I find maddening about you, and also they give me peace. If, by the grace and miraculous nature of God I can manage to put you on the right path, I know you won’t stray from it. You are an absolute force of nature when you want to be – we just need to channel that determination to something worthwhile, like saving the world, instead of your current frivolity like creating your own elaborate hairstyles. Because truly, I have never seen anyone work harder when they set their mind on something like you do, Catiebug. Just stop wasting it on girl stuff.
I wish I could convince you of your muchness. Of how smart and funny and generous and beautiful you are…when you want to be. (Oh, the Jekyll and Hyde of your adolescence!)
Of how worthy and worthwhile you are, no matter what anyone else thinks or says or does. I wish I could convince you to love yourself for all that you are, and to stop worrying about what you are not. I wish you would stop comparing yourself to the other little girls of this world, and measure yourself against the only One who matters. I assure you, He thinks you are even more incredible than I do, and that’s really saying something.
Yes Catie, there will be mean girls in your life. You’ve already encountered a few, and unfortunately you will encounter many, many more. Even as a grown up. Mean people suck. Feel bad for them, pray for them, but don’t dwell on them. Don’t let stupid people take up space in your head. It’s valuable real estate you have there, my dear – don’t waste it. There is something wrong with them, honey. Them, not you. Don’t you ever let a small, petty person affect your sense of self worth. Your value is determined in Him, and not in any of them…no matter how popular or pretty or important they think they may be. I promise you baby girl, that even though it seems impossible to believe right now, one day those girls and those problems will be just a memory. There is a danger in peaking too early, and the girls that are fabulous in high school can only go downhill from there.
You, sweet Catie, were made for something far greater. I don’t even know what that is just yet, but I know it is More. It’s Bigger and Better and More than anything that you or I could ever conceive of right now. And all of these problems, they’re temporary. One day you will remember them and roll your eyes instead of cry.
One day you will know that you are More. And I pray that day comes soon.