By Krystal Woods
On the eve of your high school graduation there are so many things this mama wants to say.
First, you have been a joy from the moment oxygen first entered your tiny lungs till now. And just as your lungs have grown over these years so has our JOY in you being our daughter!
From the start you completely captivated our hearts- from your very bald head that you had till you were 2, to your precious little voice and blond pigtails!
Shelbie, you were brilliant! Since you were the only little one for years and years, you spent all your time with adults so your language skills were very advanced. Part of it could be that you attended my first semester of college with me, in my belly, and so you have already taken English 101, Psych 101, and Intermediate Algebra. Wouldn’t it be great if those “belly” credits could transfer!
You loved being tossed around from grandparent to grandparent and you even spent mornings with Mommom, your great grandmother, while I was in school. And then Daddy and I got married and you were our flower girl! You wanted nothing more than to dance with your daddy! You were always a daddy’s girl!
Your childhood has gone by so quickly, but we have had so much fun! Lots of beach trip and road trips! Siblings… need I say more!
You have had many nicknames, I don’t know why we have such a difficult time saying Shelbie, but we do. I thought you would like to hear me review all your nicknames: Shelbo, Shelb, Sheebee, Sheebo, Sheebutt, Bee, BeeZay, Shelbie Chevron, Shel, S, She, Shea. Whew!
In 8th grade you can home to school. Daddy and I could see you struggling and we were not going to lose you to the WORLD! So we brought you home and these past 4 years have been precious to our family. It is a decision I would make again over and over! Having more Shelbie time is just the way we like it!
I have enjoyed every season with you. The good and the trying. When you accepted the Lord as your savior at age 9, I was so relieved! I knew then that you would be never be alone, even if I wasn’t with you. You now had the Holy Spirit dwelling in your small frame and He could guide you so much better than I could. I have always parented with the knowledge that I may not always been here and that eventually you would outgrow your need for me, but you will never outgrow your need for the Spirit! I have so enjoyed seeing you learn how to hear His voice and respond. This slow hand-off has been beautiful! So Shelbie- go fly under the wings of the Almighty. Under His wings you will find all you will ever need or crave and also what you were created for.
With all that being said, and as we are now looking into your future I have some words to speak into the road you will walk. May the Spirit quicken these truths when you need them most.
-You have nothing to prove. Ever! Walk in the confidence of the cross and the work that the Father, through Christ, accomplished there. You are a daughter of the Most High God and that will always be enough!
-Keep your expectations of people: low and of God: high. Humans will always let you down, whether it be intentional or not, this truth will save you lots of heartache. God, however, you can trust to do more than you can ask or imagine and if you place your hope in Him you will never be disappointed.
-Always err on the side of GRACE because mercy triumphs over judgment every time! And remember to give grace to others as easily as you yourself need to receive it.
-Never forget that with great love and intention you were created and you have value and purpose in just the person of YOU. No extras required. You are enough!
-RELAX, you will make mistakes. You are human and it’s ok! What I have learned is that what matters most is what you do after you mess up. Be like King David and repent, not like King Saul who made excuses and played the blame game. And of course Daddy and I will continue to be your safe place to land. You can always come to us- always.
-The Pressure is off! Your identity is secure not in who you are or what you can or cannot do. But rather in who you belong to and what He has already done and will continue to do.
-DREAM really big! Be a dreamer. Don’t be afraid to break the mold! Be the one that makes a new mold. Go after the hard and the impossible. Surround yourself with other dreamers that aren’t afraid to fail. Go after what stirs your spirit.
We are so proud of you! You have grown up so graciously and lovely. You are spectacular in every way and we cannot wait to see all your future holds! And with a hand raised, I am going to take a minute to declare over your life: peace & passion, love & grace, vision & dreams, boldness & strength, gentleness & humility.
We love you baby girl! Congratulations!