When you turned 14, I made a joke that you would be "7 forever in my brain". It became a thing we'd giggle at as you continued to grow up, reaching (and blazing past) the milestones I remember I reached not-so-long-ago. Even then, Anna, you growing up didn't feel real. And yet, here we are. You just graduated high school (!!?) and you’ve got no idea how proud of you I am. I lost my chill at the ceremony, and the song you chose for your slideshow RUINED me. I knew my mascara would run, but you turned me into a raccoon. You looked beautiful in your dress, and seeing you visit and smile with the people who came to support you was the biggest blessing in its simplest form.
And really, we have the whole summer to swap stories, talk deep talks and take turns massaging each other on the living room floor, but with everything that's going on this summer (poor Mom), I think its important we start it in prayer. You’ve just accomplished something huge, and you’re headed into the Great Unknown—and you are so ready, I can see it. No one can prepare you for what journey you are about to take, not even your big sister. Because none of us are you, and each story is different.
But college is hard, and it has a nasty habit of stealing away smiles sometimes, so as you prepare and enter into this next stage of life, this is my prayer for you:
May you remember that Christians can be wrong, and may you understand that God is not. But may you also remember that surrounding yourself with a healthy church body is a gift that God specifically designed for you, and it's important to choose a church family that pours into you just as much as it asks you to do the same.
May you face obstacles that will cause you to question what you believe, so that you might either re-evaluate these things or further fortify your decisions.
May you recognize the strengths God has given you, and that He’s equipped you with so much more than you think.
Chelsie Sunde Photography, 2018
May you recognize how beautiful you are, and may you stand tall when someone tries to tell you otherwise. You're the whole package, my dear, so whenever a boy shows interest, say "thank you" and keep walking-- all he's doing is stating the obvious. If he continues to pursue you, check to see if you're interested in his heart and his mind, and not just the words he's telling you.
Chelsie Photography, 2018
May you meet people unlike anyone you have ever met before.
May you ask questions and pursue knowledge relentlessly. May you take this time and make the most of it.
May you be slow to anger, and seek solutions. May you be grateful, and seek progress. May you be humble, and stand up for injustice. May you make friends, and refuse to be a people-pleaser.
May you go through the things that will teach you who you are, and who you are not.
May you have wisdom, discernment and faith – because you won’t always know what you’re doing, even when you're expected to
May your masks fall to the ground, and may you love the version of you beneath.
Chelsie Sunde Photography, 2018
May you accept that the person you are today is not the person you would like to be, and yet you are becoming an astounding woman who has value beyond compare.
May you remember this great and simple dignity: that you are created to be a child of God, and capable of loving with something of God’s own sincerity and his own unselfishness. Your heart is a gift of God too, so may you, dear Anna, be reminded that you are important too.
Brooke Klauss Photography, 2017
May God bless you, grow you, keep you and reveal himself to you. And may we, as the people who surround you as your family and friends, cover you in prayer in this season, and may you feel it.
I'm so proud of you, Anna.