You were a surprise. When I told my mother we were expecting again, she said, “Well, now you know how I felt when I found out I was pregnant with you.” I was a surprise third child as well.
It’s hard to be the third child, the child of surprise. You follow in your brother and sister’s steps. You are not new. Your baby book never gets finished. You get lots of hand me downs. You grow up with your brother and sister being put in charge of you. Sometimes that works for you; sometimes it doesn’t. When your older siblings fail, there is an unspoken expectation you will succeed. I am pretty sure you carry this deep in your bones, for you are the youngest child of the youngest child of the youngest child.
Yet, from the moment you came into this world two weeks early, you served notice you would chart your own path. You wanted to do soccer, but you did it on your terms. Other kids ran after the ball; you stood there and talked to your friend. You were brave enough to realize dance was not for you and you stopped. You didn’t choose to do anything your brother and sister did in middle school; you were the cheerleader and the Top Hawk. You were courageous enough to argue with us that your arm really was broke when we said we thought it was just a sprain. You were right, we were wrong (and we still feel guilty about that). The day you had surgery, you made friends with everyone on surgical team. It’s your gift, just like both your grandfathers.
Sarah, God gave you strength and courage. These are wonderful gifts, but they can be lonely gifts. People only see the outside: your confidence; your determination; your success. They don’t see the fear and the energy required to push through. I think God gives these gifts to only a few because strong people are tempted to dominate. You are already learning strength is given so you can serve and help.
Never forget you are a princess; that’s the meaning of your name. You are the daughter of the one true King, the one you claimed as Savior when you were six years old. Princesses always must live knowing they are unique; but they must also live humbly. They can never forget their royalty is because of their Father, not because of anything they have done. Sarah always remember you a princess because Jesus paid the price for you to become one.
Now you are a beautiful young woman, a strong princess. Before that moment of walking across the stage that officially marks your launch to adulthood, remember to wrap yourself in grace.
Wrap yourself in the grace your brother and sister give you. They love you, value you and respect you.
Wrap yourself in the grace that comes from Mom and me. We have loved you since we were surprised by the news you were coming. We want you to know no matter what, we will always give you grace; we will always give you forgiveness; and we will always believe the best for you. I know our love is flawed, because we are flawed. But I have learned that flawed love given with a sincere heart is the best gift one human can offer to another. Mom and I will always do our best to give our best gift of flawed love to you.
Wrap yourself in God’s grace. No surprise that I would tell you that. But Sarah, there is nothing like God’s grace. He can hear our questions. He can handle our anger. He can soothe our pain. He forgives. He guides. He strengthens. Just like the song that has come from your lips, “He is enough.” Every need you have or will have, God is the answer.
So my beautiful strong princess, walk out in the world. It’s your time to shine. Grace is raining down all around you. Smile into this moment of love and take it deep into your heart. You are the special child – because you are the princess of the King.