Dear Olivia {A Birthday Post},

It dawned on me last week, that I had you all wrong.

As though the world was flipped upside down and I could finally see all that I couldn’t before.

It took 8 years and 9 months short of a week to see and there have been so many times in the last 7 days that I wish I could go back and make up for all that I didn’t understand.

I wasn’t ready for the gift of you.

I remember the pink positive sign and the tears of fear I cried, feeling wholly inadequate to be a mama to two children under the age of two.

I remember the miles the midwife had me walk, pushing your sister in the stroller, trying to navigate old and broken sidewalks in tandem with trying to navigate old and broken fears while you grew strong under my heart. Your quiet and small flutterings belied the powerhouse you would be.

It was during that time, when we found out you were a girl, that the name Olivia was mentioned. And loving words the way I do, I looked up the meaning to discover that it meant peace.

I craved peace.

I honestly craved quiet both in soul and surroundings and I thought that was what peace was…quiet.

So when you, Olivia, turned in all the wrong ways came bursting into the world on your very own terms and screamed your way through life for the first 2…3…6 years of your existence, I was convinced that we had named you all wrong.

That you weren’t peace.

And in naming you such, you…and I…would always be reminded of that fact.

Oh, sweet Liv.

I’ve been so wrong.

So, as I sat in a conference last week while you were in the classrooms above tracing maps and coloring pictures and keeping an eye on your brother (to help your teacher, I’m sure. 🙂 ), my heart was getting pried open and my eyes were beginning to see clearly.

The word Shalom gives a strong glimpse into the beauty of your name…and into the beauty of you. This greeting, said as a blessing, means this: You will have no lack, you will have peace and rest because you have everything you need.

Your name is a blessing.

Which means, when I call you, when I talk to you…when I talk about you, I am speaking a blessing over you and over those around us. May this very thought stop me in my tracks when our emotions run high and we both misunderstand the other.

I thought peace meant calm and quiet and when you weren’t, I was blindsided. But peace, according to the woman speaking over us, it means that there is no area of lack. She spoke of A Plan for Peace, mentioning that it started with being in Scripture…because the word Peace is like a guard dog at the front door.

It makes me think of your insatiable desire for the Bible. How you keep the Scriptures right under your bed so that you can grab it before you go to sleep. How when you sense me growing frustrated you ask for us all to stop and pray. You long for the presence of Jesus and you desire to sense Him near.

I learned, in the back row of that conference, that peace isn’t passive or quiet, but it is active and it moves with purpose and passion.

8 years and 4 months ago, when I saw you moving on that black and white screen, when you were named with a wrong understanding, Jesus knew that this name was the very right one for you and for all of the very right reasons.

This morning, just as the sun is coming up over the horizon, before it even has the chance to heat the air into the furnace it is supposed to be, in those early hours you will slip from being 7 and become a brand new 8 year old with all the flair that marks your every movement.

And I will have your breakfast birthday cake on the table and as you walk all sleepy into the room, I will pull you close and whisper your name into the air around us, inviting the One Who is Peace to come near because with Jesus, Liv? We really do lack nothing. I’ll fail you in so many ways, but when we have Jesus, we are made whole and the blessing that we speak over one another becomes words of worship to the One Who created us.

8 years ago, I held you in my arms having no idea how my life would change.

You have changed it for the better, sweet girl; our family lacks nothing with your addition and we have been abundantly blessed.

May this year ahead grow you deeper and wiser – may it find you falling even more in love with Jesus. May you see that with Him, you lack no good thing always. Always. 

Happy, happy birthday, dear Olivia Grace. I love you so very, very much.

With all my love,



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