December 31, 2017

Dearest Becca,

I want to begin by saying how proud I am to be your mom and how impressed I am by your bravery and great love for all people. Your ability to see people first and challenges second has always impressed me. God has given you an incredible gift - and it challenges me to be a better person every day.Last year you came out to the church, and I was never so proud of your bravery. I have known you were questioning your sexuality since you were a young child and fell in love with all the princesses, and not the princes, of all those fairy tales you devoured in all the books we read together. In the fourth grade, one night at bedtime, you tearfully and hesitantly told me that you had a crush on a girl. My heart skipped a beat, and I calmly said "so what?" You were looking for reassurance of my love and I told you that lots of little girls and boys had crushes at this age and you were normal and I loved you no matter who you had a crush on. But secretly, I was very angry at God.

Don't get me wrong - I didn't care who you loved - but you were already dealing with so many challenges in your life, I couldn't bear to see you have another social struggle on top of all your others. In my prayers that night, I yelled at God "she has dyslexia, dyspraxia, dysgraphia, sight convergence insufficiency, and now you've added a questioning sexuality to the list?!? Doesn't she have enough challenges!?!?" I was mad - but never at you - I was mad for you. I couldn't see all of these challenges as gifts, I saw them only as burdens, and I grieved for you.

As you grew and were going through all the difficulties of adolescence, your list of challenges grew. Your creativity and ability to be comfortable with people of all abilities made you a target for all the bullies. Your sight challenges made social situations a difficult which added to your social awkwardness and gave the bullies more fodder. Childhood friends turned their backs on you, and you became angry and depressed. We began the rounds of child psychologist and counselors. I grieved for you and prayed for you, and tried not to stay angry with God. I have always had the belief that God doesn't make junk, and he doesn't make mistakes, and I clung to that belief through all your storms.

You see, in my heart I knew that you were special. You have a heart that sees and loves people for being people. You could pray like nobody's business, and your love of justice and willingness to stand up for others inspired me. I began to see your challenges as gifts, not limitations, and tried to point out to you how special you were. How were you special? Well in fourth grade you began having birthday parties were instead of gifts, you asked for donations to Habitat for Humanity. In sixth grade you befriended a girl with autism and another with severe hearing loss. In order to talk with them, you began learning sign language. In seventh grade you began helping at and going to the dances and social gatherings for our churches ministry to developmentally different people. In 8th grade you wanted to give blood, and couldn't wait till you were old enough to attend your first blood drive. You began serving at the monthly free community dinner at church. In high school you began babysitting for a family with a child with Down's syndrome. You began to explore the possibility of being a marrow donor. Again and again you found opportunities to let your love shine. You went on a mission trip to a school in Russia that served children with developmental and physical differences.

You wanted to go to Guatemala and help build a church, but because of your asthma (yes, another challenge) and the elevation, you couldn't go. Now you are feeling called to work with homeless youth, and want to go to Africa and make it possible for girls and women to become educated and create better lives for themselves and their families. You shine with God’s love like a great beacon, and I am so proud of you, I could just shout it to the rooftops.

I know that there are people at church and In Society who think you have made a lifestyle choice. I pray that their eyes and hearts will be opened to see that this is just who God made you to be. I pray that instead of seeing your challenges and differences, they will see the beauty of the rare creation God has blessed us with. I pray that they will be inspired by your creativity, intelligence, sense of justice, and heart of gold. I pray that your faith continues to grow and blossom, and that you embrace the missions that God has laid on your heart.

I am so proud of you, and want you to know that You are a child of God, a person of worth, and I love you just the way you are!