19 Apr An Open Letter to My Daughter’s Best Friend
by Christy Foster, Director of Communications
In a world where we understand more and more about the way humans learn, children are increasingly being diagnosed with learning disabilities. While these diagnoses allow children to get the help they need to succeed, we often overlook the fear and grief that can accompany such a label.
A few years ago, one of my daughter’s best friends was diagnosed with a learning disability. After learning about it, I sat down to write her mother a note of encouragement, but instead, this letter to my daughter’s friend poured out.
I revisited this letter over the weekend after my stepson’s recent diagnosis of a learning disability. If you are naming hard things in your life or your child’s life, I pray it provides some comfort.
To My Daughter’s Best Friend,
I have known you since you were three years old. There isn’t a time that my daughter can recall when you haven’t been in her life. You two were friends by convenience first, playing on the sidelines of your big brothers’ games. Then the friendship deepened as you started school together. I’ve watched you both grow and blossom over the years. From twirling in your princess dresses to learning how to squabble and makeup, you two have grown up together. You and my daughter are cutting your teeth on each other, as you learn the meaning of true friendship together. I could not tell you how delighted I am that my daughter is learning one of life’s most important lessons with you. Friendship is one of God’s gifts to man and there isn’t a better girl for my daughter to explore that gift with.
Brave girl, I have watched a feisty little three-year-old grow into the tenacious eleven-year-old that I adore. You have a fire and passion inside of you that cannot be taught. God has gifted you with a heart of gold and a passion for truth and honor. Whether that is honor on the basketball court or truth in the classroom, you are willing to fight to the end for it and never give up. Even when things seem hard and the outcome of defeat is certain, you are relentless in the pursuit of your goals. Sweet girl, that takes so much courage! You are so brave! Please don’t ever forget that.
Life is getting ready to name and label the curveball that you have already been thrown. Sometimes when things are named they seem bigger and scarier than they were before the name was known. Before the naming, the hardship was just life as you knew it. Courageous girl, maybe now it seems scary and overwhelming? How could it not? But remember, you were already fighting and winning the battle long before you even knew there was a battle to fight. When school was hard, you tried harder. You didn’t let how difficult it was stop you and I know you aren’t going to do that now! You’ve proven over and over that you can do hard things. You’ve been doing them all of your life! On the basketball court when the game seemed lost (and maybe it was) you fought harder. You’ve never stopped, slowed down, or given up. The gift of naming the way you learn is that now you will be given the tools to fight fair. I know you will take those tools and go further than you ever dreamed possible!
The one thing about names I want you to remember is that God has already named you and called you His own. He named you His Beloved and there is no other name He sees when He looks or thinks of you. He adores you just the way you are, RIGHT NOW! There is nothing you have to do to be more loved or accepted than you are right now. Because of Jesus, you are perfect in His sight and He delights in you. But really, how could He not? You are so special!
Growing up and finding out life is hard is a lesson we all have to learn. I am so glad my daughter gets to learn that lesson alongside you, watching how you conquer your hard things in life. Your persistence, kindness, tenacity, and grit are things this world needs more of. It is evidence of your amazing character. God is going to use your passion and drive to do great things in life. You were made in His image and you have something unique about Him to show the world! It is one of my great privileges to watch you grow in beauty, courage, and kindness. You inspire me every time I am around you! So beautiful girl, be brave and bold. Take your amazing gifts and fly!