God exceeded my expectations of a daughter when He designed you. Your spring-like curls, your Maybelline eyelashes and vibrant character are just a tiny glimpse at the work of our wonderful creator. Every time you smile, I can still see the baby I held in my arms for the first time six years ago today. Watching you grow has been the joy of my heart- your bright imagination, your spunky, yet soft spirit, and how you sparkle in the spotlight with your radiant smile and sweet laugh. But as beautiful as God made you- none of these things define who you are. You are more valuable than this world wants you to know. Thankfully, you have a heavenly Father who deeply desires for you to know who you are in Him.
Daughter, you are a fiery and strong-willed individual. It is by no accident that your name means ‘God is gracious,’ because He is grace incarnate and His love is beyond the scope of human capacity. You are an extension of that grace. The history of your name is as profound as its meaning. Joanna was a follower of Jesus. She experienced God’s grace through divine healing. She may not have been considered as one of the twelve disciples, but she led a life of purpose to spread the Gospel and lead people to Jesus. She witnessed the death of our Savior on the cross and she was among the first to lay eyes on the empty tomb to proclaim His promised resurrection.
Joanna was a strong woman, but not by the same definition of women today. Her strength was not found in herself, but in her Lord. She was humble, faithful, and persistent in her ministry for Christ. She did not care what others thought or how much it would cost her- she knew without a shadow of a doubt that Jesus was the way, the truth and the life. She set about her mission to serve Him and preach the Word- even in the midst of extraordinary danger. And just like Joanna, you are following Christ in an ever-increasing hostile world. You are growing up in a society who has adopted a backwards philosophy of women and Christians that completely defiles the Word of God.
My prayer for you, dear Joanna, is that you walk confidently in the faith you profess. Know that your unique beauty is not measured by the standards of this world. You are beautiful because you are a child of the Most High- the King of Kings- and you are His beloved princess and heir to His Kingdom. Never allow the world to define your worth, your insecurities or who you are. You are justified through the One who spoke your name into existence and breathed life into you. With your diligent determination, I pray you desire more of building a foundation on Christ, rather than breaking glass ceilings. Swim against the grain of society and operate in the current of the Holy Spirit.
I pray as you continue to grow, you aim to please God rather than please other people. Hunger for righteousness, not earthly success. Seek His Kingdom, not the empty promises of this fallen world. I pray you give God the glory for the many talents and gifts He has sovereignly ordained to you. Despite what people will attempt to convince you of, this life is not about the pursuit of happiness, but a pursuit of holiness and serving Christ. This is what it means to be a daughter of the living God. You are not just my daughter- you first and foremost belong to Him. He knew you before you were born- He knew every curly hair on your head. You are beautiful, sanctified, justified, redeemed and made whole because you are His precious daughter. That is who you are.
Shine bright, dear Joanna, because the light of the world lives in you.
All my love,
Mom (The Humble Homemaker)