When she was mere hours old, I knew she was brilliant and destined
for Great Things:  she latched on and nursed without difficulty.

It’s laughable to me now I based her whole future on the basic human
instinct to survive.

I also knew I was The World’s Best Mother when she easily
potty-trained before turning two.  All it took to strip that title
was the subsequent births of my sons.

These are just two of the lessons I learned early on that confirmed
what I suggested in my
: You can’t assume all
blame for [your children’s] failures and inadequacies any more than you can
take full credit for their successes and natural God-given giftings

On the day of her birth, my father-in-law (the most Godly man I
know) handed me a torn strip of paper.  All it had on it was a scripture
reference--"Rachel was beautiful and well-favored, Genesis

It was prophetic.

Much deeper than skin, Rachel’s beauty exudes from her heart.
She’s not the sweetest young woman I know, she’s not even the nicest…and goodness
gracious, she’s certainly not perfect.

But…she’s innocent, pure in heart and…well…rare.
Her standards and convictions inspire me, make ME want to be a
better person.

She’s had a ravenous appetite for books since age eight.  Her
shelves are weighted with volumes of her favorites and sometimes I
"borrow" from her library. A few years ago I noticed something
curious: some of the words in her books were whited-out. It didn’t take long to
realize she was censoring profanity.  We never asked her to do this, and
it’s not as if the books she read were littered with excessive garbage.
Not long ago, she explained: "If I see those words
they just get stuck in my head, so I’d rather not see them in the first
place."  Simple enough…and an admirable standard.

Last week, I overheard a conversation between Rachel and my
husband. He was going over our family budget with her and as he explained
how mortgages work, she was flabbergasted–the concept of interest over 20 or
30 years scrambled her brain.

But her response absolutely exploded my heart.

"I’d want to live in a smaller house," she began.

At first Tad thought she was self-conscious that our home is larger
than her closest friends’ homes.  She clarified, however, offering the
simple logic that a small home was less expensive.

"That way I’d have more money to give to people who need


After attending a leadership camp and reading the book "Do Hard Things" this summer, she’s been pondering the "hard
things" she can do.  She returned from camp with the lofty ideal of
sponsoring a
Compassion International child with money she earns from babysitting; her best
friend is going to contribute to the monthly expense.  Together, they have
the dream of
visiting their child next year.   

She joined both the cross country and track teams at school last
year, and though she’s always at the end of the pack, she never gives up.
She may not be a gifted athlete, but is doubly-blessed with determination and

Rachel is not driven by status symbols or brand names, she doesn’t
chase boys, and secrets in her care are closely guarded.  She’s always loyal to her friends.  One  recently told me "Rachel will
be the friend who helps me stay on track."  She’s been championing
the underdog since she was 10, and when she disagrees with us, she’ll calmly
defend her position.  She’s quite the debater.

I’d love to take credit for all these things, to give you a formula
for successful parenting you could cut-and-paste onto your own children.  Although we’ve certainly prayed for her and trained and guided her along the
way, I think the person my daughter is becoming has more to do with how God
created her than anything else.   Though I still see my role in her life as "mother", I’ve been surprised by our developing friendship; I thought that aspect of our relationship would be years down the road. 

Rachel is a sophomore…we have her at home for three more years, less,
really.  Already she is craving independence and in small ways, testing
her wings.  I’m thankful for this because I know those wings will serve
her well. They are beautiful wings, you might even say well-favored.

But it’s not quite time for her to fly.  Not yet.

For now, she’s grounded.


* Post title inspired by Barlow Girl’s song "Average Girl"; they rock a thousand different ways!

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