In this world there is such wonder that you could live your whole life through and never stop gazing wide-eyed. When you're little, like you are now, it is easy to believe this. After all, what can be more captivating than peaches for the first time or the fuzzy texture of carpet when you scratch it or the sound of a new voice? You smile at everyone as if they could be your new best friend. You put your whole little self into that beaming smile, the idea of it not being returned never crossing your mind.
And this is so wonderful, this discovery and bravery and awe. But there will be a time when life seems to be moving at a pace where you can't stop to appreciate the details. You'll learn what stress and anxiety are. And the awe you felt so easily before might begin to dim a little. You'll learn that some of your leaps may land in thuds, and you might not feel so brave anymore. There may also be a time where you look at your beautiful smile in the mirror and think that it isn't as beautiful as you think it should be. You might discover that not everyone is so quick to accept it or to give you one in return. You may want to shut your eyes tight because the world doesn't look so wonderful anymore.
My heart breaks knowing we won't be able to shield you from this, but I pray that we will instead be able to arm you with words of truth that can be a shield for you. And in those times when you desperately need them, I pray you will be able to remember what is true.
Remember that you were made wonderfully and on purpose. Remember that you are deeply and unconditionally loved. Remember that you are valuable not because of the many people who accept you but because of the One who was willing to accept death for you so that you could have life. Life free from having to return again and again to fear and worry and never feeling good enough. Free to see the wonder despite the broken and free to pursue what you love bravely.
You flash that smile all you want, knowing that if it isn't returned, that's ok. No one has the power to steal your joy because your joy is secure in Christ. Remember there is no better way to kill joy than to snatch it. But when it's given, it spreads like wildfire. People can't resist a person handing out free joy.
Things will happen that will make you want to shrink from who you are and from seeking after your dreams.
But, my little love, the One who made you is in the business of growing. And if you can learn to see anyone and anything as water on your roots, then the hard will not break you. Instead of defeat, you will see the meaning and ultimately the beauty in what you go through. You'll have times of doubt and discouragement, it's true. But you can rest assured knowing that He always makes everything beautiful in its time, even though we can't always see how.
Remember these things. Keep them tucked close. When the time comes and you find yourself with eyes shut tight, my hope is that they will make it a little bit easier to see that the world still has much to be gazed at with wide-eyed wonder.