Nine years old is a wonderful age. It's a time to enjoy being a child with all your might, since you will be a young woman before you know it. I remember with fondness my nine-year-old year and those of my daughters. At nine I began using a dinner napkin to keep tidy. I was never a messy girl, but I finally realized how nice it was to keep the bbq sauce off my face and hands. I learned to play violin, a pursuit that has brought me much joy in my life. I began keeping my room clean, not because my parents demanded it, but because I liked it that way. I began getting myself off to school including making my own meals, because my mother went back to work. I began being responsible for my own choices, because my brother and I were our own after school care. I remember being responsible for the house, since soon after that birthday I was responsible for all the indoor chores and much of the dinner prep. I loved feeling confident and competent even though some times my choices got me into a bit of trouble from time to time. My girls all had different experiences at age nine, but it certainly was a turning point for all of them. We hope you look back at your age nine year someday and find it was a year of decision in the direction of competence, confidence, truth, goodness, and righteousness.
We loved having you as a guest in our home during July. Watching you work hard to learn to swim reminded me of your mother. She was a very determined, hard-working, ambitious child, which has brought her much success in life. She was and is not afraid of hard things, and I see you are not afraid either. I also saw a wonderful characteristic in you not seen in many people.
You watch others to learn who and what they are about. You are careful to consider the feelings of others before you act. You try to please others, which is good to a point. However, you must be sure to filter your actions through the character of Jesus Christ and never compromise gospel truths or your values. Ask yourself, 'What would Jesus do in this circumstance?' You can never go wrong following Him.
Would he steal, lie, swear, be jealous, be greedy, hold a grudge, be cruel or mean, hate, be immodest in dress or action, put aside his values, or anything else impure? No, he behaved and behaves with patience, tolerance, goodness and kindness, forgiveness, loyalty, love, gentleness, trustworthiness, bravery, compassion, purity, self-control, strength, serenity, and healthy self-worth. It takes a lifetime to learn to be like Jesus, but we can start immediately. When we fall short, we admit our failings, learn from them, and move forward. Dwelling on failures or sins after we have repented, we fall into Satan's trap of misery and hopelessness. God doesn't want this for us; so use His wonderful gift and tool of repentance to learn and grow into who He knows you can be.
You, dear, are a remarkable, intelligent, sensitive, funny almost young woman. We are grateful you are part of our family. We hope you remember that you are loved no matter what the future holds. Have a happy, happy birthday and wonderful, extraordinary, fabulous year nine.