Birthday girl

When I hit Publish on this post the little girl will be eight years old.

If years ago, someone had told me that she would not seem to care or know what a birthday is – at age eight – I would have been crushed.

But all I can say, all I can cry, are the words I wrote on 4/4/04: Thank you, thank you, oh thank you my Lord for giving her to us.

Because she could not be more perfect and more beautiful.

And it has nothing to do with me. Or her father. (Although I often cannot believe I get to be a part of this, a part of her and her story). It’s never been about us.

It’s always God, all God. His sovereignty. His provision. His goodness.

Some may look at her and feel sad for her limitations. But it is well with her soul, and so mine.

And I admire her perhaps more than anyone. She is always a lesson to me.


You’re different from the way I thought you’d be
But here you are in front of me
So full of light I watch it overflow
A lovely mystery

You have a way of stirring up my soul
Did you know?

And I am lost for words
You’re more than I deserve
~J.J. Heller, Where I Land


Last night, the last night of my life that I will ever have my firstborn be seven years old, we danced in the 99 Restaurant. Well, first we went potty. Her first, then me. Instead of bursting out the door while I went, she sat down on my lap. I mean, who gets to pee in a public restroom and balance her 60-lb child on her lap at the same time? Me!!!

I had to dance with her. My heart was too full. So we spun around together in front of the mirror to a song I’d never heard. I will forever remember the laughter, her head back and eyes closed, her big two front teeth, her sweet skin, her purple shirt with the chewed sleeves. I will remember the giddiness as we moved faster and faster. I will remember remembering it was just the two of us the day she was born, both of us unsure but how we silently agreed, Let’s do this, you and me.

And now. My girl, my darling daughter. Eight!

Joy unspeakable.

23 thoughts on “Birthday girl

  1. Happy birthday darling. Your photo’s are beautiful. I’m so glad you got to dance on your birthday.

    Your story made cry just a bit for all the days you didn’t realize that people were celebrating the unique you that you are.

  2. I have the most beautiful image in my head of you both dancing together. “let’s do this, you and me” eight years of dancing. Happy birthday to you both and I hope to meet your sweet 8 year old soon.

  3. Happy Birthday, sweet Rhema. Praying special blessings for you and your family today and always!! I read here how you already are so blessed…

  4. Smiling as I type this. Our lives mirror each other’s in so many ways. Those bathroom moments are the best. (Well, except the bursting out the door while your still mid-pee .. That’s not fun.)

    Give Rhema a birthday hug and tell her she is now officially the same age as Jack. We need to get our two silly hearts together some time soon!

  5. Happy Birthday Rhema! I love the vision of these special time you have been able to share with her and the fact we get to touch a corner of it through your stories, so thank you for sharing. Remember God only gives special babies to special people and he hand picked YOU! Keep sharing….

  6. Happy Birthday, sweet Rhema and Happy Birthing day anniversary, sweet Jeneil! 🙂
    LOVE this post and the photos.
    I laughed reading about the bathroom, because I recently had an email exchange about that very subject. Funny thing for me is that I’ve not had those situations with J or A, but Parker…yeah, Parker is fun in public restrooms.
    I’m so thankful, not just that you are dancing with your sweet girl, but that we get to watch and listen along to Rhema’s sweet song of life, written perfectly by the God that loves her and you so very much.

  7. Thank you for sharing the music and letting us watch…and sometimes join in…the beautiful dance. Happy, happy birthday to your beautiful Rhema. Happy celebration of motherhood to you.

  8. Happy birthday beautiful princess!

    @ jay train: I am from Australia, and I do think of Rhema and her family with lots of love here. Never met them, but love them anyway 🙂 So you’re right!

  9. …and she is soo loved. Thanks for sharing your birthdays with us. Your heart , too. One question, though, those pics were not on the potty were they?? LOL

  10. Happy Birthday to your beautiful girl. I sat here at work today and just smiled picturing the two of you dancing together. Love in true form.

  11. Sweet, sweet girls. Happy birthday Ms. Eight Year Old Rhema!

    I remember when Riley started her MB12 shots, and stopped screaming after two and a half years, and we went to a restaurant, and she could handle it. We went to the restroom, and I looked at her and she was (not on my lap, but in the stall with me) and kind of bouncing to the overhead music, and it occurred to me she was happy. It’d been such a long time since I’d seen her happy. We too danced in the bathroom that day. It was Mother’s Day. It was glorious. I will never forget.

    May 8 be the best year yet for Rhema!

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