The year I turned 16, I distinctly remember telling God I wanted it to be a memorable year.
And it was.
A friend told us she had AIDS. What she probably had was Munchausen Syndrome.
Our church went through a split in which my family was intricately involved.
An authority figure in my life experienced moral failure.
I think I shed more tears that year than in all my previous years combined.
That year I also started dating my husband-to-be.
And in my 16th year, my then four-year old sister, crawled into bed with me and asked me what it meant to bring Jesus into her life. We talked. We prayed. We rejoiced.
Today my little sister turns 16. I hope her year is less heart wrenching than my 16th year. But I know she can’t be protected from the pain, from the hurt that will come her way this year or the next. And I know that intermingled in the hurt are unimaginable blessings and joy.
And perhaps even more importantly, I know of the shaping, the molding, the healing that takes place in the midst of the ugliness of a broken world. The grace found, the maturity gained, the reliance on Jesus learned.
And I pray that for you, little sister. That your heart will be shaped. Your character molded. That God will hold you in His arms through the hard times. That there will be moments your heart can hardly contain the joy that comes your way. That you see His grace everywhere you look and learn to live in it and pass it on.
And through it all, I hope we talk, pray and rejoice together for a long time to come. I love you.