“Weeping may endure for the night, but JOY comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5)
9/29/99 was an ordinary Wednesday for most people. But for me, it was a “line-in-the-sand” kind of day, a day that marked a change in my life that brought unconditional love in the form of a 9 pound 5 ounce baby girl. Rachel JOY Goetz, our fourth child, was born that morning, at 1:09 am, to be exact. And now, in just two short days, she is off to embark on her next adventure, taking the “Rachel-only” piece of my heart with her!
Two years ago, at the age of 16, I gave her a gold-dipped white rose for her birthday. The thoughts I penned for her that day ring truer in my heart tonight as I sit at my computer. My initial impulse is to weep (and I’m sure it will come in buckets soon enough), but in the wee hours of a Friday, I am reminded that JOY does come in the morning. So for now, I celebrate.
I love giving you this rose. It symbolizes so much that I want you to know about yourself and why you have changed my life and the lives of all who meet you.
First of all, the rose is WHITE. White is a symbol of innocence or purity, but not perfection. I see in you a pure heart, one that longs to love others with good intentions, treat others kindly with much grace and little judgment and do your personal best without getting caught up in “perfectionism.” Your pure heart is beautiful!
Secondly, the flower is a ROSE. Roses are heart-stoppingly beautiful to the eye and their smell is equally show-stopping. When I think of you, your outward beauty is heart-stopping for me. Many times, as you know, you take my breath away! You are simply gorgeous on the outside! I can’t get around it. But again, more importantly, your “aroma” is show-stopping. Your infectious smile, caring heart, and love for the “haves” and the “have-nots” is truly incredible.
ROSES demonstrate the following things and I see them in you:
LOVE – You love unconditionally. We have said this about you from when you were a baby. When others are with you, they can’t help but feel loved and accepted. What a gift that is!
FAITH – You are a trusting soul. You believe the best about others. You easily trust God’s heart toward you.
BEAUTY – Rachel, you are truly beautiful, inside and out.
BALANCE – You understand the delicate balance of life: work, play, others and yourself. I love watching this in you. You are a good teacher to me.
PASSION – What can I say? Your passion for what really matters to you is crazy cool to watch! Those five things…God, love of family and friends, music, puzzles and the beach!
TIMELESSNESS – I think of you as a timeless person. You enjoy people aged 2 to 102. You love where you are and who you are with. Time seems to slow down when I am around you!
WISDOM – Dad and I used to say that “you got it” even when you were a teeny one. You see so much of the world through wise eyes and a wise heart. You are the best counselor to your friends and you see things that others just can’t see. My favorite wise saying that you have ever said was, “It is better to be kind than right.” You were only 10 years old when you spoke that deep truth to my heart (and to our basketball team). Yes! You just “get it.”
INTRIGUE – No one can say that they have explored the depths of what makes you Rachel. You have a mysteriousness about you that is very interesting and causes me to want to know you more. There is so much to you and it has been fun seeing a beautiful young woman begin to unfold!
DEVOTION – You are one of the most loyal people I know. You stick by your friends, your beliefs, your love for Jesus, your family and yourself!
SENSUALITY – You love all things…what you can see, hear, smell, taste and touch! You enjoy life to the full. You see all the gifts God has for you in nature, in others, in music, in so many simple things, in all of life!
Lastly, the rose is dipped in GOLD. To me, gold symbolizes long-lasting value. Every time you look at the rose on your bookshelf, I want you to be reminded of how incredibly valuable you are, to God, to us, to yourself and to your future. You have infinite value, much more than any GOLD in the world. The whole person that makes up Rachel JOY Goetz is so undeniably precious and I pray that you would continue to hold onto that understanding for the rest of your life!
I want to end with the second verse that God gave me when you were born! It has really come true for me! And for anyone who has spent a minute with you!
“My God shall do exceedingly abundantly above all we can ever ask or imagine, according to the power that works within us.” (Ephesians 3:20)
I love you precious daughter!
PS If you aren’t tired of Rachel yet, click HERE to watch my heart-wrenching slide show of her amazing life!
PPS And if you want to read what it was like to be her sister, check out Sarah’s blog post from May of 2011 about the unconditional love that was 11 year-old Rachel.