A Letter to My Daughter: Smiling in the Face of Adversity

adversity

Hi, B. It’s Mommy.

We had another fun day today. I’m so glad it’s warming up outside. You love being in the sunshine and I love seeing you happy, especially when we’re outdoors. My favorite thing so far is going on walks with you.

Remember our last walk down the street? I do. You were having so much fun “reading” your Peter Rabbit book as we walked around the track. I shielded you from the sun as it shined near your eyes.

I should be able to protect you from the sun’s rays for a long time. Probably until you’re old enough to refuse sunscreen, just like I did… ugh. Anyway, there’s something I won’t always be able to protect you from.

Mean people. Mean words.

You’re too small to understand what that kid yelled at us that day as he rode past us on his bicycle. I’m thankful for that. It’s not so much what he yelled this time; it was the intent, the underlying meaning. It wasn’t nice at all.

There was a stark difference between his rudeness and your sweet smile beaming from the stroller. When I looked from him to you, it hit me immediately: I was mad, and unfortunately it took me all of two seconds to get there — then that upset me.

I didn’t mean to get frustrated so fast. It’s just hard to believe there are kids who have been raised to behave like that. If they act that way toward me, a stranger, what’s stopping them from acting that way or worse to others? To kids at school?

I want you to be so much different from him.

Sometimes you seem shy to me and other times you couldn’t seem more opposite. No matter your personality someday, I hope you love Jesus and your family.

I hope you’re a friend to the person at school who needs a friend the most. You never know — he or she could be a dear pal saved just for you.

I hope you’re kind to people you don’t really know. Like “Hi, I’d like to unload your groceries for you” kind. The kind of nice where you take a Mother’s Day cupcake to your neighbor down the street, because you know she’s lonely without her children. (Ask your NeeNee about that last one. She has a really good heart.)

I hope you also stand up for the right things and people and you’re not afraid when you do it.

As I sit here and rock you to sleep tonight, I want you to know that I’ll always protect you the best I can. I’ll ease your discomfort while you’re teething, hold you anytime you need it, and even put myself in harm’s way just to keep you safe.

But someday you’ll face adversity, just as we all do, and I won’t be right there beside you. You’ll have to navigate those waters on your own. It could come in the form of a mean kid on a bike when you least expect it, or it could be from your boss at work.

No matter what, I hope you’re slow to anger. I hope you respond gently but firmly after you’ve thought through your words.

Adversity is hard to explain at your age. It’s like when Peter Rabbit lost his shoes in Mr. McGregor’s garden and later snagged his jacket in the gooseberry net. After that he was trapped! (All of this happened because he disobeyed his mom, but that’s a story for another day.)

When we’re faced with adversity, we know we’re being refined, or made better, by God — as long as we run to him for the solution. Isaiah 30:20 talks about “the bread of adversity and the water of affliction.” As Christians, we need adversity and affliction to survive just as we need bread and water.

I hope you smile in the face of adversity, knowing that you’ll be stronger because of any hardships you’re facing.

It’s a hard lesson but a necessary one. You’re so small right now that this isn’t something we should worry about today, tomorrow or the next day. Sure enough though, you’ll be learning this lesson before long.

I love you to pieces. Sweet dreams.

Mommy

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This piece originally appeared at raisinbabies.com, published with permission.


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Ashley Hill
Ashley Hill is a wife and a new mom who writes, cooks and paints when she isn't bouncing a baby. After working for Seventeen Magazine for a period of time, Ashley felt God calling her away from New York City and back to the quiet life in West Virginia, where she was born and raised. She writes about motherhood and food at raisinbabies.com. You can follow along with her on Facebook too.