Hey, darling Katherine.

You’re so ridiculously endearing. I mean, those freckles!

I see you trying, baby. I see you wanting to choose community, being afraid people won’t see past poor choices you’ve made. I see you enjoying (and being really good at) generosity. You’re growing into yourself in so many lovely ways.

I know it’s not always easy.

You try so hard to control your impulses, and one particularly frustrating afternoon, I suggested (again) that you ask Jesus for help—He loves to answer those prayers. This is what you yelled at me: “I TRIED! It doesn’t WORK!”

I’m not sure what to tell you. Because, in truth, it doesn’t always “work” for me, either. There were a couple days in a row that made this blatantly clear—on Wednesday, I had nothing to give; it was a bad brain day for me, and I was having a hard time managing all the responsibilities that go with being an adult and a mom to four smallish kids. I cried out for help, and the Spirit worked in and through me. It wasn’t stellar, but there was just enough grace to get through the day.

Thursday was basically the same story: bad brain day, couldn’t adult, kids overwhelming, cry for help.

And I fell flat on my face.

I can’t really explain it. Why did He help me Wednesday, but leave me to fend for myself on Thursday? Where was He? I mean, God doesn’t change, so it had to be an error of mine, but I’m as baffled and frustrated as you.

So when you indict God in a way that’s so distinctly Katherine, I’m not sure how to respond.

But here’s what I do know: He’s working in your heart. I can see it over the last year, as you’ve become more and more interested in building community with your siblings (even your annoying brother). I see it in the way you are starting to look past “what Katherine wants” to “what is right.” So when you ask for help, He answers, perhaps just not as immediately as you (or I) would like.

I wonder if it’s a little like fruit. Remember the little grapefruit tree in Hawaii? Do you remember that time you and Jenna picked every grapefruit you could reach, trying to be helpful? Some of them were ripe and edible, and some were not. I think fruit in us is likewise not always ready when we want it, but it’s always on the way. Do you think perhaps it’s the same with your heart (and mine)? Maybe it’s always growing, just not always ready to be harvested.

Here’s the other thing I know for sure: you and I need Jesus. And the days when we know we need help and we ask and it doesn’t seem to come? Those just make it really obvious. And that’s a good thing. It’s kind of the Lord to show us our need so we feel it. It isn’t any fun, but it is kind.

Katherine, you’re growing. You’re learning. I can see Jesus drawing your heart to His. Your dad and I were talking the other week—we both wonder who you’re growing up to be. With some kids, we can make reasonable guesses at who they’ll be as adults. But you? No idea. Neither of us can quite picture it. But we do know you’re going to be unstoppable. A force of nature. (Actually, you’re both of those things now.)

You’re amazing, child. I’m so glad you’re mine. You’re growing up just right.

I wrote this piece before the weekend of her birthday. The day she turned seven, she was in rare form—uniformly kind, gracious, generous. I get glimpses of her sweetness throughout normal days, but it was a gift to see so much uninterrupted sweetness. I’d encourage you to click here for the bulk of the story, including the dandelions above. The short version is she spent all the money she’d earned a quarter at a time to buy gifts for her siblings. At the end of the afternoon, gifts were exchanged. Seven were opened. One was hers. And she was happy with the arrangement.

I can’t take any credit for her big heart. Katherine is the one of mine with whom I most regularly feel like a complete screw-up. She has a big heart, but also a big personality which regularly leads to big, inappropriate behavior. Her birthday felt like a gift: God reminding me that, while I have no idea what I’m doing, He does. He’s making something lovely, and she’s growing up just right.

Published by robininalaska

Robin Chapman is a part-time writer, editor, and birth photographer and a full-time imperfect mama, wife, Jesus follower, and normalizer of failure. She’s trying hard to learn how to do this motherhood thing in a way that doesn’t land the whole family in intensive therapy. She has a heart for helping other mamas buried in the little years with hope, humor, and solidarity. You can find her hiding out in the bathroom with an iced dirty chai, writing and editing and making spreadsheets for KindredMom.com where she is a cheerleader for mamas, or online looking for grace in her mundane and weird life. She lives in Fairbanks, Alaska with her four delightful (crazy) kids—some homeschooled, some public schooled, some too young for school at all—and her ridiculously good looking husband, Andrew.

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