Meet my sister.
Jerica Danielle Tudor.
17 years old.
Oh...to be 17 again...
At first glance, you think..."wow...she's gorgeous!"
True, she is.
But to me -
She's more than just a pretty face.
See those big blue eyes?
Those big blue eyes
have cried thousands of tears on my shoulder when
growing up was tough
when things were hard to understand
They have lit up with laughter when
we'd have dance parties in the middle of the night
when we would sing at the top of our lungs
I'm sure she's even rolled those big blue eyes at me a time or two ;)
But they have been there...at every moment of my life that I felt was important,
they have always been there.
Those eyes saw me the day I was baptized.
They saw me the day I graduated high school.
They saw me the day I was married.
They saw my very first baby boy come into this world.
See that big smile?
Ever since she was a little girl,
that smile has been waiting for me every time I came home.
Every time I picked her up from school.
Every Christmas morning when Santa would come.
Every surprise along the way.
That smile has lit up my life a thousand times over.
I sure am blessed.
See those hands?
Those hands, once little bitty
Colored lots of pictures
Touched lots of fishing worms
Even fixed her own food
and picked her own clothes
And they would usually end up on my face in the middle of the night, since we shared a bed.
But over the years those hands have hugged me tight.
Helped me up.
Wiped my tears.
Held onto mine, as we have prayed powerful prayers.
Oh, and that heart of hers?
That is a heart that is real.
A heart for God.
A heart that hurts when others hurt.
A heart that delights in helping others.
A heart that has been broken time and time again by the evil in this world,
and the hurt others love to give to someone.
We all remember high school, right?
And because of that,
If you win her heart, you should be proud -- it's not easy to do.
And I'm certain,
if she could wear her heart on the outside of her body
it would be even more beautiful than the rest of her.
It's a heart that has always loved me - no matter what.
So...you see, to just say, "She's a pretty girl."
Well, that would just be the understatement of the year, in my book.
She's so much more than just a pretty face.
One of my favorite ages, like I've always told you :)
And here you are!
Such a scary, bittersweet and exciting time.
I know lots of things are about to change.
Lots of decisions to make.
You're standing at the edge of everything-
Life as you know it, and the unknown future.
I can remember being 17 like it was yesterday, never had I felt so much emotion at one time,
so much love
so much joy
so much pain.
Stuck in the middle --
Not a child, but not yet a woman.
But one thing is for certain,
you have the world at your feet, and your whole life ahead of you.
This is one of the most exciting times of your life.
The world NEEDS to see those
big blue eyes and bright smile.
and God has lots of plans waiting
for your hands and your heart.
Plans that you can't even think up on your own.
Trust in him.
Plug into His will.
Use this time to talk to Him
Grow in Him.
Let Him shape you and mold you into the woman he wants for you to be.
Because let me tell you, He always knows what's best.
He always provides.
And He will continue to bless you.
So my only advice to you, the most important advice I could ever give --
THE ONE WHO CREATED YOU for a SPECIFIC purpose
and the only one who truly knows the desires of your heart,
and can make them come true.
THE ONE WHO GIVES exceedingly, abundantly,
above and beyond, all that we could ever ask or dream!
You have always made me proud.
You have gone through life, and made your whole family proud.
You had stood up for what you believe in, even as a teenager, when it is hardest.
You have known right from wrong, and you have chosen right...time and time again.
You are so smart -- I mean, seriously, who even has a 4.3 GPA? I didn't know that was possible.
You are so tough.
And one day...you are gonna make the greatest wife and mother.
But as for now, you have been such a great daughter, and such a great sister to me and to Jaylin.
And life without you would just be gray.
Thank you for being beautiful you.
I love you more than life itself.