Let me introduce you to our daughter, Jessica. She is 17 years old and this year she is graduating from high school. I'm sure that I will posting a lot about Jessica in the days and months to come because of the many exciting things that are going on in her life right now. God is working in a huge way in the heart of this amazing young woman.
This is such an exciting time for Jessica and for us as her parents. When your children are young, you see personality traits, as well as gifts and talents that God has given them from the very beginning. Over the years, you see those traits begin to really grow, change and develop. That's where we are with Jessica right now. When Jessica was little, she had the typical strong-willed child personality. She was independent, tested her boundaries, and wanted to do things on her own and her way. To be honest, she wore us out. We were always trying to be one step ahead of her. We read every book we could on child-rearing and discipline. We prayed and prayed and prayed. I'm so thankful and I truly praise God that over the years, He has shown Steve and me how to parent her. The Lord gave us wisdom, patience, and encouragement. We never wanted to break her of who she was. We totally believed that God would use the things about her for His glory.
Jessica is determined, reliable, confident, dedicated, honest (too honest sometimes!) and fair. Loyalty and trust are very important to her. If you need someone in your corner, Jessica is your girl. Her compassinate and caring heart is what guided her to be a student aide for mentally and physically handicapped children the last two years at school. She loved these kids. Everyday she would come home with a story about one of "her" kids, whether it was teaching them how to use a soda machine or teaching them how to make a phone call. I am also very proud to say that Jessica is a leader. Her leadership qualities are being used in school, work, and in the youth group. Again, I know that God has a wonderful plan for her.
One of the qualities that I love the most about her though is that she is your classic example of a true extrovert. I think I admire this so much in her because I am the exact opposite. I really just love to watch her. The love she has for people and to be around people totally and completely thrills her. Relationships are really what make Jessica tick. She is a great listener, encourager, very discerning, and really just wants to be your friend. I know that God is going to use this greatly because of her answering His call to serve full-time in missions. When asked the question on a personality test... "How would you describe hosting the perfect dinner party?" Her answer was, " I would have a huge BBQ and I would want whoever wanted to come to be there." That's Jessica. There is a side of her that can be very serious, but one thing about Jessica is that she wants to have fun, and lots of it. Jessica is funny, very funny really and she can completely catch you off guard with her sense of humor.
Jessica also loves her family, and she loves us well. It's not always easiest being the oldest, and the only girl. Her brothers look up to her very much. She gives them advice, sets a good example, encourages them to love Jesus and live their lives for Him, and accepts them for who they are. There is nothing she wouldn't do for her brothers.
I have learned many thing about myself because of having Jessica as a daughter. We are a lot alike, she probably wouldn't want to admit that, but at the same time, the things that make us alike, are displayed so differently in each of us. This has stretched me and grown me. I've allowed her to be the little girl, and now the young woman that God wants her to be, not what I expect her to be. She is bold, strong, and courageous, and not afraid to try new things. I admire this in her. Over the last several of years I have seen her relationship with the Lord grow and become her own. She is passionately serving Him and trusting Him with the things He has in store for her.
We love you Jessa Bessa. Thank you for the blessing you are. Thank you for your smile, and that thing about you that makes people around you believe in themselves and in a loving God. You challenge us, motivate us, and inspire us. We are SO proud of the young woman you are. You are my wild woman for Jesus! You are our girl. We love you!