October 09, 2005
Dear Charis (pronounced CAR-iss), our firstborn. What a joy and blessing our daughter is! In just 9 days she will be five years old. She is everything a firstborn typically is--helpful, dependable, diligent, bossy, and headstrong! She can be a loving Mother's Helper one minute and an annoying Mother Hen the next. Her current favorite activites include reading by herself or to someone, caring for babies (her dolls, stuffed animals, and ponies as well as Arden), painting pictures for anyone she has ever met, helping Mom with any and all kinds of chores, and doing schoolwork. It's hard to say which part of school she likes best, as she seems to enjoy it all!
Her imagination is quite vivid--sometimes in a bad way, as she is often troubled by strange dreams. This morning, however, she ran to meet me with a huge smile on her face, telling me she had dreamed about Jesus meeting her at church! We pray every night for her to have happy dreams that please and honor God, and thankfully the nightmares are coming fewer and further between. It warmed my heart when she told me that she prays to God when she wakes up at night with a scary dream--at least she knows Who to turn to! "What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee..."
But on the plus side, her imagination leads her to all sorts of amusing scenarios with her dolls and stuffed animals, whom she often lines up in a row so they can listen to her teach or read to them. She calls them all her "kids," and she is faithful to take care of the Baby of them all, whose name changes depending on Charis' mood. She also leads her brothers in exciting romps of the imagination. At this moment, she and Tobin are in the backyard (Arden is napping), and I hear them singing "Happy Birthday" to Mr. J. I'm quite sure they have also made a sand cake, and pretty soon I'll probably hear about the presents Mr. J got. A couple of days ago Charis informed me that she and Tobin were married, and I heard them calling one another Ted and Beverly all day! (Don't worry, we did tell the children that while it was all right to pretend, we are not allowed to marry our siblings in real life!)
When I think about Charis, I think of a girl who has a passion for life and all that it holds, as well as the Author of Life, Jesus Christ. Her enthusiasm for anything we do--from schoolwork to church activities to grocery shopping--makes anything an adventure, and it is heartwarming to hear her talk about her Savior in such an intimate, personal way. Since her decision to pray and ask Jesus into her heart on August 26, 2005, we have seen more spiritual growth in this young child than in many adults who take salvation for granted. She continues to make up songs about heaven and Jesus' grace to save us from all our sins, and the fact that I hear her singing one of those songs now (she is outside, and I can hear her through the windows!) tells me that she has fully taken to heart the message of the gospel, and, Lord willing, will touch the hearts of all those within earshot!
Her dearest ambition in life right now is to become a mommy, and let me tell you, there is no greater compliment she could give me! This dream of hers has not changed since we first wrote those words on a little worksheet in a kindergarten workbook we were going through almost a year ago. Recently I asked her again what she wanted to be when she grew up, and she just looked at me as if to say, "Have you forgotten already?" What she actually said was, "I'm going to be a mommy," and if she were a little older, she might well have added the word "Duh!" from the look on her face!
One of the "scary" things about having a daughter like Charis is that I often hear her repeating admonishments to the boys that she hears me say! She does mother them (sometimes "smother" might be a better term), and while her authoritative statements often make me chuckle, they also make me very aware of the fact that I have a Little Shadow, and, oh, be careful little mouth what you say!
Charis. Her name is the Greek word for grace...how fitting it is that she reminds us every day of the grace our Lord Jesus pours out on us.