See the post from Tara's birthday last year here.
Happy Birthday to my firstborn daughter. Happy Birthday, infectuous and joyful daughter of the King! Happy happy days for you, anointed psalmist and voice for your generation, truth exhorter and encourager to so many. Happy celebration of your birth, sweet Tara. You've been light and life to me since the day you were born. I couldn't have fathomed, at 19, what on earth I was getting in to – becoming a mommy. I didn't have a clue what to do or how to do it, but they put me in a wheelchair as I was dismissed from the hospital, placed you in my arms (along with a bill for seventeen-hundred and some odd dollars – you were such a bargain!) and we left together: a clueless woman and a trusting baby, nuzzling close, breathing new life into my heart. And in all the years that have been and in all the years we have ahead, for this I am grateful: You are a good daughter. I am so pleased with you. In spite of me, and maybe, I hope, just a little bit because of me, you have turned out so well!
I think of the poem, which I will only partly include here, that Lord Byron once wrote about his cousin (do you remember when I painted some of this poem on your bedroom wall, because these effortless, flowing words, though written 150 years before your time, so fittingly described the woman I knew you were becoming?):She walks in beauty like the night Of cloudless climes and starry skies And all that's best of dark and bright Meet in her aspect and her eyes… And on that cheek and o'er that brow So soft, so calm, yet eloquent The smiles that win, the tints that glow But tell of days in goodness spent A mind at peace with all below A heart whose love is innocent!
I am praying for you and these are the gifts I hope you will open today:
An understanding of your pivotol role in God's great story on earth. I hope you'll come to really grasp that fact that you are not living out some individual plan for your life and hoping God will let you in on His stuff, but that He actually created you to be in HIS life, HIS plan. He knit you in my womb, writing the days of your life in HIS book before you were even one day old. You are a woman in the ongoing redemptive story who has been called to be a voice in your generation. Get bold. Speak up and speak out. His words are in your mouth. And when you sing, oh my, anointed woman – the whole wide world is waiting..so take your mark on His stage…
Time in the Presence and that you may be filled with all the fullness of God! As you get to drink in the anointed preaching and teaching and worship in Dallas this weekend, as you get to spend time with others who have your heart and and same raw passion for the things of God, as you spend time seeking God's next steps for your life, may iron sharpen iron, may the deep call to your deep. I pray that the mighty, powerful and intensified Presence of God will fill you up, from the inside out. I am calling out to God to fill you with ALL His fullness (Eph. 3.19), even though as Anne Ortlund pondered around the time you were born, "How do you put the ocean in a teacup?" I have no idea, honey, but I am praying it for you, anyway! Will I even be able to look at you when you get back? Or will your face be like Moses' after getting a glimpse of God? Ha!
The praise of your husband, who has found a good wife. As DC Talk told us, "Love is a verb" and you're a good lover. Dave's heart can safely trust you. I know he knows you were God's best for him and vice versa. Who could have guessed what God had in store? I am so thankful, I'll tell you, for the wonderful husband God gave you, the perfect man for you. I am praying you'll be able to hear, experience and receive the love he offers you and know it is true and real, always.
Grace to be the mommy Hunter needs. You were God's best choice for this little boy – this amazing, smart, funny, ornery, raspy-voiced, hugely-vocabularied little boy. You and Dave have created a talker/thinker/worshipper. And that little man loves his mommy. You are his safe place to fall. You are home to Hunter. You are his shelter and hiding place. And that is a big job, but I know and God knows, you are equal to it. So I pray you'll always mother him with the same force of favor and love with which God has fathered you.
Gentle warrior-friends to protect your innocent and giving heart. It can be easy to take for granted a person who is so open and forgiving and tender-hearted and I pray as your mom, I never will. And I pray that your family will always see and respect and receive your gifts. And I ask God today to send you people who will stand with you, stand in the gap for you, surround you in prayer and provide shelter when you need a quiet place to be restored. I pray that in the many ways you have provided that for others, it will come back to you.
I am so pleased with you, baby girl, I bless the day you were born…Mom
NOTE TO SELF: Spend more time with this woman – she is amazing!
pictured: Tara with the men in her life; at age 3 with her daddy; 2 shots of Tara with the love of her life, Dave; and Tara with her son, Hunter (who is 3)