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April 9, 2015

A Letter to My Daughter

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My Dearest Mia Grace,

I know there may come a day when you grieve wide and deep over the missing details of your story. I know there may come a day that you have a deep longing within you to know the details of your birth. To know what your birth momma looked like, or if you have your daddy’s eyes, or your grandmother’s personality. I know there is a day coming when you may long to look back at the history of the first 18 months of your life and see answers written in the blanks, faces and photos and genealogy charts filling the pages. And it breaks my heart to think about that day.

Not because I blame you for wanting those details about your life and where you came from, but because there is nothing I can do to give those details to you. And if there’s anything a momma wants to do, it is to give her child a cohesive, fluid narrative of her story and her place within it.

So, today, I want to tell you a story – the story of your name. Because while I don’t know the day on which your momma conceived, or what her reaction was when she found out she was pregnant, or about the details of her pregnancy, or how long her labor was when you came into this world, what I can tell you is this: I know the One who formed your inward parts and knit you together in your mother’s womb. I know the One who made you in secret and skillfully wrought your frame in the depths of the earth. His eyes saw your unformed substance, and He wrote down in His book all of the days that were ordained for you to live, and move, and have your being before one of them came to be.

And I can tell you something else: I know the One who gave you your name, perhaps before you had even been conceived.

It was the month of April 2013, the month your birth mother would have conceived, and your father, sisters, and I were in the car driving to Florida. A few weeks before leaving on our trip, we had begun the long paperwork process of bringing you home, and as I shut my eyes in anticipation of the long journey ahead (both in the car and through the paperwork), my thoughts turned to you and who you would be, and I began to try to pray for you. I say “try” because I found praying to be difficult. It was hard to pray for a child whose face I had never seen, whose eyes I had never looked in, whose personality I did not know. And I said to the Lord, “Lord, this is hard! I do not even know her name!” And as clear as day I heard Him say back to me, “But I do. Her name is ‘Mine,’ and it comes from Isaiah 43:1-2: ‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name; you are Mine! When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched,
nor will the flame burn you.’”

I opened my eyes in astonishment, shared with Jason what I had heard, and from that moment on, you were known in our family as Mia Grace, “Mia” meaning “Mine.”

So, dearest daughter, the details of your story were taking root long before you had ever taken your first breath. And I pray by the time you are old enough to read this letter, you will know as an integral part of your story that you are truly mine.

But you need to know something else: before you were mine, you were His. For the Lord is the One who wrote your story before one of your days came to be and still is writing your story, even as you read. You are His poema, His creative, beautiful work in the making, and not one detail or page is missing from your story in His book.

So any time you begin to feel the ache within and the deep dark flood of grief trying to overwhelm you, I want you to remember something: you have a story. And you have a name.

You had a name long before you were born, given to you by the One whose Name is above every other Name.

And my prayer for you, my daughter, is that you would never let another name you. Not your birth parents, not your past, not your birth culture or your present culture, not even your father or I who love you so very much. For the One who named you and knows you inside and out has your identity, your story, your past, your present, and your future completely and firmly rooted in the pages of His story, His family, His church, His people, and in the palm of His Hand. And may your name always reflect the hope and the trust you have in your Father who loves you, calls you by name, redeems you, and says over you, “You, My Mia, you have always been, and always will be, Mine.”

I love you,