An Open Letter to my Niece

My dear niece will be getting married on Saturday to the young man who stole her heart.

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It seems like only yesterday when she walked into our lives, a tiny two year old with bright eyes and a precocious little mind. She was so tiny then.

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She made me an aunt, my parents grandparents, and my brother, a father. He was so proud of this precious child of his own. She came into his life through adoption, and I never saw a prouder, more enamored father than my brother was with his precious little tot with a twinkle in her eye.

Not very long after Kelcie came into our lives, we had Andrew. His bedding was Paddington Bear,

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that famous little bear from England with a tag attached to him.

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I remember standing by Andrew’s crib, the day I brought him home from the hospital, with my brother holding his precious little Kelcie in his arms, who was by then a preschooler. He reached his hands out and fingered the tag. Tears welled up in his eyes, and I knew it was because of his deep love for Kelcie. It was because he knew the pain and abandonment of adoption, and the blessing of it too. It was because of his awareness that Kelcie’s loss was his incredible gain.

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The years passed so quickly then. The babies came so fast. We gathered together for picnics and birthdays, and then somehow our lives grew so big that the parties slowed, and I don’t see my first niece so very often anymore.

My brother has quite a crew of his own.

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My sister has four.

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Now my parents have twenty one grandchildren.

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The circle continues, of growing and living and loving and parenting.

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Kelcie has grown into such a lovely young woman and now embarks on her own journey that will span a lifetime and likely begin a family of her own.

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I put my baby girl on the bus this morning crying, and somehow the emotion of my little girl growing up and watching her go, crying, stirred my heart with thoughts of Kelcie, the little girl she was, the woman she is, and all the things l’d like to tell her.

There probably aren’t enough words in the English language or space enough on this page to share all the feelings and emotions my heart holds for our dear Kelcie.

Yet I am compelled to try.

Dearest Kelcie, on Saturday you will pledge your life and love, by God’s grace to Jeremy. Your heart will be full of all the dreams and expectations of the life that lies ahead for you. And so many of those dreams will come true. I pray God will bless you with all the dreams your heart holds.

The future will hold pain and loss too. Let it draw you closer to each other. The feelings in your heart will come and go like the ebb and flow of the tides. But that doesn’t matter. It’s not the feelings that make a marriage, it’s the choice to love, no matter what, no matter if you feel wronged, no matter if the bills are too big and the problems seem insurmountable, and the kids need shoes, and the pipes are leaking. Marriage isn’t about the feelings. It’s the choice to love, every single day, an imperfect person. Someone who hurts you and falls short in so many ways. And you, precious Kelcie, will fall short too. Know that as you begin your lives together.

You’re marriage will need a lot of grace. You will need the Savior to help you love when the feelings fail. You will need to forgive and be forgiven.

Choose to love each other even on the days when you can’t think of one reason you married this man. And you will have days when you wonder why you did. Invite the Heavenly Father to fill your hearts and live in your home. Pray for His fruit to fill you and your husband and your children.

Galatians 5:22-23English Standard Version (ESV)

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Don’t be afraid to be the first to say you’re sorry when in your heart it feels like his wrong is worse than your own.

Never go to bed angry.

When you are out in public, kidding with your friends, never allow yourself to put your husband down, even jokingly.

Always choose to praise him, to speak of him with love and gentleness and grace.

In humility, always defer compliments to him, and thank him for his role in your success to others.

Praise him. Thank him. Love him.

Put God first, your husband second, your children, if they come, third, and yourself last. And God will bless you with an immeasurable joy, and a marriage that will go the distance, and be a reflection in the flesh of God’s perfect love for you.

God bless you, Jeremy and Kelcie. And know that I am always here loving you. There’s nothing that is too awful to share with me, no pain too deep, no secret too horrible. I will always be on your side. And I will be praying for you.

You have blessed our lives immeasurably, and I am privileged to be your Aunt.

I love you.

Aunt Diane

Blessings!

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