Our second daughter, Riley, became a teenager today. For thirteen years we have been blessed to nurture her, guide her, and prepare her to someday fly on her own. At thirteen, sometimes it can be oh so hard to discover all the flecks of gold that exist in a soul. As she grows older, many will benefit from those flecks within but the real value may never fully be realized by her. As she blesses those around her and discovers the gifts she’s been given from God, those flecks will make a difference to those who associate with her. I see them. Her dad sees them. They shimmer and shine and have blessed me for 13 years! I pray she will learn to see them. When she does, she will be a force for good in a world that would blind her from seeing value in who she is as a daughter of an omnipotent Father in Heaven.
It is my belief and faith that Riley’s spirit existed long before she was born on this Earth. From the second I held her, I knew her spirit had not been formed inside me. She was God’s daughter, born in His image and countenance. Her personality has been constant from the beginning. She is not a result of her present circumstance, she is who she has always been and she will continue to be who she is forever. I don’t understand how or why she is my daughter, but I know I am blessed to be her mother.
The past few months it has become very apparent to me that my children are not just mine. I have always known this, even before they were born. But recently, I have felt like I am facing a brick wall and the only way to go forward is to knock down that brick wall, only I’m not sure how in the world it can be done. No matter how hard I try to push, lean into or walk through a brick wall, I continually discover that it cannot be done! I am left to myself and the reality of what I cannot do. Miraculously, when I pray to a loving Heavenly Father, He provides a way for me to get through. He often reminds me that He is not just my Father, my God, but He is theirs. He knows their hearts, their goodness, their gifts and their struggles. He is waiting for me to ask Him for help to help them. He is constant and unchanging.
I care very little about my kids’ future occupations, salaries or bank account. I want them to be successful, but I recognize through my own life experiences that true success is not measured by material means. I yearn for them to discover life lessons that matter; that kindness is a rare virtue that comes through sacrifice and a willing heart, that the flecks of gold that will be of so much worth to those around them are already in them waiting to be discovered, that their value comes from within and always has, that Light is always stronger than darkness...always, even if the light is dim at the moment. But they have to discover these things for themselves, just as I have been doing. They have to make choices according to what their heart sees as Truth. They have to search within themselves and even struggle in order to learn. And I have to let them. I have to watch them feel the raw pain and loneliness of self-discovery. You can’t buy what I speak of, it must be found. And it is challenging, not just at thirteen.
No thing fills me with more joy than knowing that my children are God’s children. Few Truths give me more comfort than knowing that our eternal lives are fully orchestrated by a loving Heavenly Father who knows us perfectly. There are no accidents, no coincidences. He is aware and ever present in our lives whether we acknowledge Him as such or not.
Because I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day Saints, I believe and know that my children will be mine forever. Death has no sting. There is no end. Because of this, I know my children will be His children forever, as well. God is the same today, yesterday, and forever.