A Love Letter to My Daughter on Her First Valentine’s Day


Sweet Emmanuella Joy,

I am constantly astonished that God would choose me to be your mama. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve brushed my finger against your cheek and whispered, “You’re perfect.” You’re the greatest gift I have ever been given. My most cherished blessing. I am so grateful to call you mine.

You don’t realize it yet, but your name is unusual. We named you Emmanuella, a spin-off of Emmanuel, meaning “God with us.” Your daddy and I chose this name for you because we believe that God is with us, no matter what struggles we may face in life. My precious daughter, when you reach out to God, you will find peace, comfort, and rest. Have faith in Him, sweetheart, for He will never leave you (Joshua 1:9).

Your middle name, of course, is Joy. My baby, please understand that the Joy in your name is not the same thing as happiness. Happiness is a temporary feeling. It can be brought about by a funny joke or a new toy, but it is joy that Daddy and I wish for you. Joy has something that happiness does not: Jesus. You see, joy is eternal; it’s a state of being, not an emotion. Joy is anchored in Christ. It is the knowledge that no matter what life throws at you, your hope remains in the Savior. This is my greatest wish for you, Emmanuella. It is through reliance on Him that you will constantly find a state of joy.

Emmanuella Joy, I look at you and cannot believe that you, a perfect angel, are my daughter. How did I ever get so lucky? Though you are only 3 and a half months old, I believe we already share an incredible bond. I prayed for you long before you were born, and here you are, so much more than I ever dreamed you’d be.

I love so many things about you, from the way that you instinctively curl your hand around my finger when I hold you, to your toothless grin that melts my heart. And as you grow, I am sure I will fall in love with you over and over again.

Mama will never be perfect, baby. I’ve already made more mistakes than I can count. But I can promise you this: I will never forget what a gift you are. God gave you to me, and it is now my blessed responsibility to care for you. This will sometimes mean making sacrifices. Other times it will mean you won’t like me very much, because I will have to give you limits and discipline. But even when those days come, you will still be my most cherished gift, a present that I could never deserve.

Words could never express how much I love you, baby girl. May you grow up knowing how deeply you are loved by me, by your daddy, and by God.

All the love in my heart,


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