Happy 22nd Birthday, Jovan Marie Rhoades! Happy birthday, o daughter who joined us later than the rest, by a covenant vow to the one son. Happy day, Jovanie, careful and attentive mommy, devoted Rocky-lover. Happy day and life to your gentle heart and creative spirit. Thank-you for that world-lighting smile and for the easy laugh you share. Thank-you for choosing our family. Thank-you for knowing you were born to be a Rhoades and joining the ranks of the chattering as if you’d always been here.
Though from the time we met, it was always obvious you were sweet-spirited and kind, respectful and honoring (and loved Rocky like crazy!), who could have known what an amazing woman you would become? Who could have divined that the same radiant girl who captured my son’s heart by her beauty, both inside and out, would also be such an amazing wife – watching over Rocky, staying close to him, living the adventure that is life with him? And could we possibly have fathomed what a loving, fully-devoted, and thoroughly enchanted-by-her-baby mother you would be? You are doing it right, with Averi, Jovan! You were born for this!
So, I wanted to give you these gifts, not wrapped in glittery paper or festooned with deliriously happy bows (although that imagery does make one think of you), but rather a snapshot of the things I am believing God for in your life, the prayers of my heart for you. These are the gifts I pray you will open and receive on your birthday for the coming year:
- I pray that you will go after understanding, wisdom and spiritual insight with all your might. It is easy after, having been the baby of your growing-up family and then being the youngest in ours (your married-in-to family), to sort of let “the big kids” take charge and maybe, at times, walk all over you. And it is true, they are a couple of steps ahead in life and they have some things to share, but God has placed important things in your hands. He has called you to a place of responsibility as a wife and a mommy and there is no one else who can take that place. So get wisdom, sweet daughter! I pray God will pour it out on you as you pursue Him for it!
- Fearlessness in the battle. There is an enemy, Jovan. He will fight you for your family. But to be forewarned is to be for-armed. God looked through all eternity and knew He could trust you for this job. You are gentle, yes. You are careful not to run over people’s toes. But I also see the warrior spirit in you – absolutely aware at every turn where the battle lines are drawn. I pray for God to be your to be your shield of protection and your deliverer. I pray He will give you the needed courage at the right times and that you will have no fear – because you are not alone!
- The joy of the Lord for the strength you need. I am praying for an outpouring of an abundance of clear, sparkling, life-giving rain to wash over your heart and mind. I pray you will be known as one who laughs right our loud in the face of danger! I pray that you will have everything Jesus promised in the area of joy: complete joy, and a full measure of His joy. I pray you get so much joy – it will splash on everyone else! (Ps 28.7; Ps 4.7; Jn 18.11; Jn 16.24; Jn 17.13)
- A double-dose of continued creativity. You are becoming such a “virtuous woman” in the Proverbs 31 sense. I admire that in you. I love that you are sewing things for Averi and constantly looking for ways to create beauty and comfort in your home. I see how energized you are in the creation process and I am praying more of that for you!
- The ability to receive the love admiration that surrounds you. You are likeable. You are loveable. You are some one people want to be around. You are accepted. There is nothing wrong with you. You are the person God created you to be – He did not make a mistake. And? You are alive and you are well because of His hand on your life, His call in your heart. It is OK for you to be thankful about that, to unabashedly enjoy living. So enjoy it! Receive all the love that surrounds you, my sweet girl. Breathe it in! Grab it with both hands, free of guilt or trepidation. Live and love!
Happy Birthday, Jovan. I love you with my whole heart. You are worth so much to me.
We are blessed to call you one of our own…Mom
NOTE TO SELF: Investigate-are there any pictures of Jovan without Rocky and Averi in them? Anywhere???
pictured – ALL with her life loves: Jovan with her cherry cheesecake at the family celebration a few days ago; Jovan and fam in a farm field a few weeks ago; Jovan at a big pasta night a month ago; and Jovan where you will often find her – on the floor playing with Averi.
“…this daughter-in-law, who loves you so much, why she is worth more to you than seven sons!” Ruth 4.15 The Message