I know you are almost four now, and you are no baby at all, but I still call you Baby Girl, and I probably always will. Because that's just who you are to me - my sweet little baby girl. I sat and watched a disturbing report on the national news this morning. It is one I see quite frequently - a missing young woman feared dead - but today, it just struck me differently. This young woman left a bar with a man a week ago, and now it has come to light that he is a convicted sexual predator and accused for all types of inconceivable things. This young woman left with him. She trusted him. And now she is gone.
It brings me back to when you were just a few months old and a local teenage girl went missing. Same story as above - she left a bar with a boy. And she has never been found. I watched her mother weep on TV, pleading for information and the safe return of her baby girl, as I fed you a bottle. I looked at you and began to wonder what your future would hold. You will never remember that girl, but I will never forget her name - Natalie. She was young and innocent, and she was taken away.
I am so afraid for you, Baby Girl. You are growing up all too fast, and I know the day is coming that you will be able to leave the safety of your home and explore the world around you. And I am sure you will be adventurous. You will probably experiment with alcohol (though I would like to hope you would never) and you will be excited by the attentions of young men around you (though I would wish you could find that excitement through other means). This is all a part of growing up, and I know it all too well. After all, I did it all myself. And I have felt all the pain associated with those things. But I remained safe through it all. I don't know how I made it, but I did. I made some very stupid choices along the way, and some have left scars that will never heal, but for the most part, I remained safe and protected through my adolescence.
What do I pray for you, Baby Girl? What do I ask for? God cannot stop things from happening to you or anyone else. I cannot sit on you shoulder for your entire life telling you which direction to go. If I could, I would cover you with bubble wrap and invent a magnetic field to protect your every move. But I can't. And even if I could, you would never let me. I just pray that you tap into the wisdom God has given you in your heart to protect you - His little voice inside that will guide you through certain times. Listen to that feeling in the pit of your stomach. Acknowledge it. Act on it. There are so many times I wished I had. Do not be afraid to say no. Do not be afraid to hurt a man's feelings. Do not be talked into anything you really don't want to do. Just listen. Listen to that part of your heart that only you can hear. Do not doubt it. For it is the love of your God who wishes you to be safe and protected and happy in everything that you do.
With all my love,