On Monday night Graham and Madison along with a few other believers presented their upcoming baptism speeches at our congregational meeting. After each person spoke, the congregation had the opportunity to either ask them a question or give them a word of encouragement.
After Graham went up, it was Madison’s turn to speak. I watched as she carefully opened her paper and pressed it smooth against her skirt.
She began, “I gave my live to Jesus about five years ago…” and while she spoke I choked back the tears wondering if I could ever be more satisfied with life than I was at that very moment.
“Any questions or comments?” Pastor Jerry asked. Then breaking the silence he said, “You know, parents are welcome to encourage them too.”
With that, I completely lost it. Trembling hand went up, and my throat closed tightly around each word I choked out, “I’m so proud of you, Madison,” I said with tears flowing down my cheeks. “You’re only fourteen-years-old and you’re already such a virtuous young woman.”
At fourteen-years-old, it’s nothing for Madison to announce that she wants to make Easter dinner for our family this year, or whip up a batch of cookies for my son’s party at school—make that three batches!
When she’s not cooking, she can usually be found taking care of her younger sister, the four-legged pug. The first night we brought Bailey home to live with us, Madison pulled a blanket and pillow up to the kennel so that Bailey wasn’t sleeping alone. Shortly thereafter a corner in Maddy’s room was cleared out and Bailey’s kennel moved in.
Sunday night is “bath” night. The puppy is washed with oatmeal shampoo (handpicked by her sister) her ears are cleaned out, her teeth are brushed, and she’s wrapped in a warm towel then placed on the couch—which of course lasts about 30 seconds before Bailey races through the house shaking off her wet fur. I never have to ask Maddy to do this. Like so many other things she does, this is a responsibility she took on herself, and it’s evident to everyone in our house that she enjoys every minute of it.
How does she find the time? That I’ll never understand. Last year she volunteered at a personal care home and in addition to her Monday night shift she insisted on visiting the patients a few times a week. She was the youngest volunteer they had, but that didn’t stop her from connecting with 90-something-year-old women as she painted their nails. She’d still be there if it wasn’t for her commitment to school work and band practice.
As I watch my daughter grow, I see the bud of a virtuous woman starting to bloom. And while I witness the early stages of virtue I understand how necessary it is to nurture that growth until she’s well rooted in faith and ready to stand on her own. Until then I’ll prayerfully tuck her under my wing, waiting and watching her every move.
Later that night, after the congregational meeting came to a close Madison reached out for my hand. “Mom,” she said, pulling me close, “Thank you for crying.”
Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. ~ Proverbs 31:10, KJV
You are loved by an almighty God,
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