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today my kate turns fifteen.

and i had to just put some space around that sentence above so i could stare at it a minute..
it just looks so strange to me.
how can my baby, my first, be fifteen already?
most days i barely feel fifteen myself.
not in energy {wish i did}.. in maturity!

i think about where i was at fifteen.
my, how she’s already surpassed me in so many ways!
and i just watch her life. watch, and learn.

from her depth and individuality. to her quiet strength and consistency.
people will say she looks like me. i don’t see it. she is so her father through and through.
looks. personality. character. even his spirit.

every now and then i might see a slight resemblance to me in a smile or expression.
but really, she is so her own person. and i mean that more about what’s inside her, that out.

she seems to have a good grasp on who she is. and most importantly, who she’s not.
i don’t see her living by her insecurities or trying to fit in.
she’s quirky and cute and has this funky kind of artsy flare to her.
she likes putting a bandana round her head and painting. just one of her things. ;)
and each time i walk into her bedroom the walls seem to be ever shrinking behind her pictures and inspirational quotes.
i smile at the mess of it all.

she’s a good friend. loyal and easy to be around.
a group of about 20 of them threw a surprise party for her last friday night..
i stood in the wings of the other room and watched, tears brimming my eyes.
she has some great friends. and i feel so blessed when i see others blessing my kids!

one of the things i admire most in kate is she’s not snobby or exclusive.
she likes being friend’s with everyone!
and looks, background, reputation.. those things don’t matter to her.
she seems to have an eye for that one on the outskirts..
wanting to draw them in. win them over.

i feel there’s always new faces popping up around our house because of her~
to me she has a genuine heart of hospitality.
where i’m all about things looking right before company can come.
she’s just about the people.

she’s working on being bold in sharing her faith more..
and that can be scary waters in the turbulent sea of high school.

one way she’s found to do that is by inviting kids to youth at our church on tuesday nights.
i was telling her last night we might need to get a bigger van if she keeps it up though. we were packed out!!
she laughed and said she’d like that…
and wondered if it could be one of those big ones, like all her homeschool friends have! ;)

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she’s brings alot of joy to our family.
just so much vibrance and energy.
when she’s not around it’s a big hole.
i see it with the other kids too. how much they miss her when she’s not here..
i love the relationships they have. each so unique and special.

i heard her telling emma yesterday, after emma had practiced her show & tell on her,
how proud she was of her and what a great job she was going to do!
emma was actually doing her show & tell about kate – which i found so sweet.
the teacher had assigned each of them a day and letter.
emma’s happened to fall on the 10th and when i reminded her that was kate’s birthday she lit right up..

“well, my letter is Tay {k} and so i’ll do it about Tatie!!” :)

but of everything with kate i’m grateful for, i think the one that stands out most is just the
special relationship that God has built in the two of us~

i remember always hearing mothers and daughters talk about being best friends.
and of course, i wished for that with my daughter as well..
but, i admit, there was a time i had my doubts.

i felt we were so opposite. i didn’t get her at all. nor she, me! and so there was lots of clashing.
it really wasn’t until these last few years..
and i think especially, just this past summer, that i began to feel, really feel, what all those mothers had meant.

that suddenly here-
sitting up late as we watched a movie..or shopping together. or eating thai food…
discussing life from our lawn chairs on the beach or just laying by each other in her bed or mind, not saying a word..
here was not just my daughter, but a very best friend!

that realization in parenting is so precious.
and it just kinda creeps up on you. one day, all at once that shift.

and all those times of attitudes and frustration and tears..
who would have known from that, to this sweet fellowship and closeness!!

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and in case you don’t believe me after all the wonderful things i said above about her..
that there have been attitudes and frustration and tears..
let me tell you, oh, yes. there certainly has been!! on both our side!
and i’m guessing.. probably more to come.

we’re not through this all yet!
it’s not like it’s done and somehow we’ve arrived in the land of no more problems.
i want to be careful in my praise of my girl to not act like she’s perfect and without fault..
duh, i’m her mom! of course then she has faults!

someone asked in the comments on a recent post,
“how do you get kids like that? kids who love the Lord and desire to follow Him?”

my first response to that was, i really don’t know.
oh, i know there are things we can do to guide and teach.. to of course, point them to Christ.
but with me, i just feel it’s been learning from mistakes.
lots of, i was wrong will you forgive me’s. and so much prayer!

i feel like i’m only now beginning to really see the power of prayer in our kids lives.
see. mistakes!! i’m learning.
and i’m not a great prayer warrior. but i want to be better.

i’m so thankful for grace.

and this. that fact that He is a REDEEMER!

i think of that so often in my parenting. thank you Father that you redeem~

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recently when i came out of a dannah gresh session i seriously wanted to just sit in the floor and bawl my eyes out. i felt horrible. like, oh my goodness!! here i had let kate play with barbies growing up and watch hannah montana!!! and what about all that texting now and certain music choices? where in the world had my head been on some of this stuff? and my mind reeled with all i hadn’t done. all i needed to do. and i was digging in my purse for my phone, wanting to call shayne and tell him to get started on it all right that very minute! {don’t our husband’s love it when we go to a conference like that!} and was it too late? and suddenly i was all panicky and wanting to rewind the tape about ten years. but… but now she’s fifteen!! {or almost then}. FIFTEEN for crying out loud! and i can count on one hand the number of years we probably have left with her…

and as i walked and reeled and worried, i decided to do what any good christian mom would do..
i ran to the resource tables to find, you know, the magic formula to fix it all!!
cause surely in all the thousands of books written there’s gotta be one, right?

and i picked up one after the other..
oh, here’s one on dating.
hmm, what about this one on being a woman after God’s heart?
or.. where’s that one on modesty that she mentioned?
and after flipping through that one i was all, and sheesh! where in the world is a good susan bristol jumper when you need it!!! ;)

but as i felt my heart just kinda flop over in discouragement ..
these were the words i felt the Lord whisper down over me..

I Redeem.

and.. yes. you’ve made mistakes. and you’ll make way more.
but as you follow me and teach her to do the same..
the parts you don’t get. the parts you miss. the ones you mess up.
there is nothing so irreversible my grace cannot change.
and nothing so far gone my mercy cannot reach.

and as i parent. that comforts me.

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and i pray, dear kate, you will always know His Redeeming Power in your life!
that no matter what. He is greater~

Happy 15th Birthday sweet girl.

{if you watch the video you might just want to turn the playlist off at the bottom first}


45 thoughts on “{fifteen}

  1. Foodhog

    Happy birthday to your daughter! Those yellow pants are to die for!!
    This is such a beautiful post! I am so glad you guys have a relationship like that. I am 21 but I hope one day I can have a relationship like that with my mom.

  2. chix0rgirl

    Loveeeee lil Kate, all grown up. Happy birthday, Katie! Kat loves you much! You look just darling in these pictures. How cool to know that that’s just on the surface – what’s inside is even better! You’re a real gem, sweetheart.

  3. ABAHM

    Happy Birthday to Katie! What a beautiful girl inside and out. It blesses me to hear how she reaches out to others.

    Thankful forGod’s GRACE to us in raising our dear ones. I have so been where you are and thought…”but I messed up” or “I forgot to”…
    Indeed, He REDEEMS. love that. David asked me recently “how did you and Dad do it?” as he sees we are different than others. I said, “God’s grace, and we always have gone hard after God”. So thankful we have a God who honors our hearts and HE does the good work!

  4. CBrown6207

    Aw, Happy Birthday Kate! I love the thoughts on God’s redemption in ways like this. How encouraging for the future as I look out and know that we will make mistakes with Tyler. I just love this post. : )

    Much love,

  5. pettybunch

    Precious words about your sweet eldest. I have loved getting to know your family just a little as we’ve been cyber-friends, and your words about Kate fill me with joy. Joy and memories of my own kiddoes’ growing up. Praise the Lord He does redeem!! Bill & I always say our kids are the great people they have become more in spite of us than because of us! Happy Birthday, dear Katie. May this year find you living joyfully in the love of Christ!

  6. wj3km

    We’re often wanting a magic formula aren’t we?? :) For everything! Life is like…school perhaps,, although we never completely graduate ;) Always learning, growing, discovering new ideas, ways…thankful for grace to cover and redeem our mistakes.
    Matt. 19:26 Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But WITH GOD EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE.”

    Your Kate is beautiful – I can see her quiet strength and confidence in your photos, yet, witty and humorous. I love the photo of her standing on the beach with the glorious clouds and sunshine! That would make for a spectacular birthday.

  7. down_onthefarm

    happy 15th birthday to lovely kate…and her mother. the pictures are awesome. in every way. the poses. the clothes. ( am i too old to wear colored jeans? love them.:) )  her confidence is so attractive…she is such a neat young lady.

    mark harris’s song always brings smiley, tearful gulps to my heart. and as i looked at kate growing up in that video…i thought of my own kids. and the cliche’ that i am old enough to think and say and often :) …it all goes so fast.

    you have a way of touching me deeply with your words. something profound that resonates. turns on a lightbulb. feels like it’s straight from Jesus. and then in the next second i am llol—which stands for literally laughing out loud.  “where in the world is a good susan bristol jumper when you need it!!! ” :D if jumpers fixed hearts we all be wearing ’em here.

    so glad that HE redeems. i love that word. and how HE is revealing it to me. big bless yous your way.

  8. appalolly

    I always love reading about other mother’s perspectives about their children! She seems like such a special young lady! I love how she has a heart for others and is a confident person! Those are awesome qualities to have!!

  9. richlyblest

    this is just beautiful, Amber! And in only 3x as long as i’ve already been a mom, I will have a 15 year old daughter myself. that doesn’t seem so far away, since it’s only been a few days since she was born, right?!!

    i know what you mean about talking about all the good qualities of your daughter and then having to add a disclaimer lest anyone think you have A Perfect Child. haha. I have told people lately that Kierra seems SO happy lately (with kindergarten and other activities that she loves) but then, she still has her moments of grumpiness and disobedience. Still, best stage yet. I think I have more fun with her every year, and it’s so rewarding as a mom to see some of your hard work (full of mistakes, YES!) pay off beyond what you ever dreamed.

  10. lwstutz

    this is such a sweet post to your daughter. like you mentioned, sitting in dannah gresh’s session made me think hard, too…and while my daughter’s are 4 & 6, and I still have time to set the pace….oh boy, I mess up so much, and whether or not I do it right or all wrong, my daughters are going to need REDEMPTION just like their mamma needs REDEMPTION…daily. it’s not about getting it right, but about getting HIM right.

    i’m just afraid i’m only a few blinks away from my oldest being 15…….how does that work anyway?!

  11. Anonymous

    I enjoy hearing you talk about the relationship you have with your kids. You seem very honest about it and I appreciate that. I often feel discouraged at all the mistakes I’ve made in my life and forget that I have a Redeemer that makes all things new. Thank you for sharing that! I hope Kate had a great birthday. She’s such a beautiful girl.

  12. Elizabethmarie_1

    So I’ve been catching up on your blog. I missed being around here. I still don’t have my own computer back and it’s frustrating. Probably how you feel about a camera!

    A very Happy, HaPpY Birthday to Kate!!! She is so beautiful. and yes, I her pretty, pretty mother in her.
    I can’t believe she is 15. Tyler turned 15 two weeks ago and I can’t believe it, I just can’t. I know all moms say this and it sounds cliche, but it’s so true. In my head I am still a young mom with little kids! But here my oldest is a teenager and my baby is 6! How did this happen?

    I enjoyed going through the posts I missed…love your fall colors. and a Happy Canadian Thanksgiving to you.
    I see it on my calendar every year and never knew anyone in Canada. Now I have someone to wish a happy day to. ;)
    Glad you are all doing well. Enjoy your weekend. It’s almost here!
    Miss you. xoxoxo

  13. fauquet

     After a so beautiful description we can say you are proud of Kate . Your daughter indeed is gracious and looks so sweet . The video is very moving . God bless her ,  and yourself and all of the family .
    Happy birthday, Kate !

  14. grace_to_be

    @down_onthefarm – haha! well, you do the same for me. your words so touch me and leave me teary, then the next second i’m llol!! :)) miss you. and on the colored jeans. i don’t know – we need to ask liz. i actually have a pair of blue and green ones, but have only worn them once.. feeling a little too BRIGHT in them! ;))

  15. grace_to_be

    @Elizabethmarie_1 – so good having you back! have missed your words round here. :) happy birthday tyler~ he’s such a cute guy. maybe in a few years you guys can conveniently stop in at our house again on your way home from vacation so he and kate can meet again!! ;)) {oh, and bring your sister} ha.

    did you see cindy’s comment about the colored jeans for moms? thoughts? i’m feeling a FTF post about it.. i’ve felt torn. maybe it’s one of those fads just for the younger crowd..??

  16. grace_to_be

    @lwstutz – still wish i had known you were there.. and the same session that day! would have been fun to chat, or atleast, wave across the room!! :))

    i LOVED dannah’s session. truly. it was challenging and inspiring and NEEDED!!

  17. Anonymous

    Looks like you have a wonderful kid. I hope my children have a heart for God and people like she does. Yes, she does look just like her dad…I thought she looked like you until I saw him!

  18. Elizabethmarie_1

    @grace_to_be –  Just went back and read her comment. I’ll do it next Friday. I’ll ask my friend in the fashion industry to give us her insight…while I have on my yellow pants.Lol. I’m thinking Amber should do a guest post soon about fashion, you’re always dressed so fabulous-ly!!!

  19. inanorchard

    Oh Amber! Kate is so beautiful inside and out! I can’t wait to watch my relationship with Eliza change and grow the way yours and Kate’s has. Enjoy your Sunday!!

  20. thats_italian

    Stopping by to say hello!!!! : )

    What a precious entry….how sweet and beautiful too, oh mommy I so understand your heart!

    Time flies, my baby is almost 19 now…

    Xanga is still an amazing place from the looks of things…

    love, amelia

  21. redladybug18

    wow! 15 already?!? Happy Birthday Kate! Hope you had a great one! Love your outfit and the pictures of you are so cute! I think you have a great mom and she takes such cute pictures!
    Amber: I remember many days of tears growing up and arguments between my mom and I but I think that’s part of life and as you grow up those get less and as time goes on they become less and less. Funny you mention Susan Bristol…I remember those jumpers though I certainly don’t want to go back to that time :P

  22. Missionfieldof5

    Just stopping by…I am sure the day was a blessed and special event. A sweet dedication to read and so wonderful to read how the Lord has worked in her life thus far. So like Satan to get in there and make you question yourself and make you think you have failed along the way. It is so encouraging to read in your writing how you go through these journeys and in the end how the Lord gets a hold of you and brings you back to Him and the eternal hope we have in Him is once again burning brightly.


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