A Letter to My Third Daughter on Her Fifth Birthday

Dearest Abigail,

Today you turn five. They say this is a milestone. As you’ve been learning in math this year, it means a “whole hand” worth of years under your belt – and what do you think?

From what I see and hear each day, you really love life. The beauty of childhood is not lost on you. The little spots on the back of a ladybug, the multiple colors of a fall leaf, the ripeness of a fresh peach – others may walk past, crush thoughtlessly, or merely consume, but these are things you encounter and enjoy with awe and wonder.

And I love you for it.

You are fearless, my child, and you always have been. In your “handful” of years, I have seen you attempt many feats even your sisters who are years older would not at your age. You bike down big hills, jump off high dives, and climb mountains thought “for adults only” with joy and ease.

Your gymnastics teacher told me, “She is strong!” Her words resound in my ears and I affirm “yes, yes, she is!” And so you are, sweet girl. Strong in body and spirit and will.

And I am reminded of the last words your great grandmother said to me before she went to meet Jesus face to face. She could have spoken to me about anything or anyone. And she spoke to me about you.

She spoke with confidence and joy in your fiery spirit, reminding me that it “runs in the family,” encouraging me that this strength will serve you well and that “no one will push her around.”

And so this is my word of encouragement to you on your birthday this year, my dear daughter:

You are strong. Use your strength for good.

The world needs more strong women in it, dear one. But what is strength, really? There may be many definitions the world will give of what it looks like to be a “strong woman.” Perhaps they involve things like wealth, position, power, or fame.

Can your mother offer you another, perhaps counter-cultural definition?

Strong women, like your namesake in Scripture, use their strength to serve, protect, and defend the weak and vulnerable of society. They intervene on behalf of those whose voices are silenced and who are treated unjustly. We have already spoken much about this.

They fight, yes. But they fight for the right things. They fight for truth and justice to prevail.

Strong women know that their strength does not come from themselves but from their Creator – the one who has given them life and breath. They willingly yield their strength to God to be used for His purposes rather than their own.

The Bible calls this quality meekness – it’s not weakness, but strength under perfect control. A rare jewel – a treasure to behold!

That means that whether they serve in Congress or report news, serve meals or teach children, nurse the sick in hospitals or serve as a missionary to remote villages…or whatever they do – they do for the glory of God.

And I pray this for you, sweet Abigail. I pray that you will be filled with the fruit of the Spirit which is meekness – a fruit of power that leads to beautiful self-forgetfulness.

Where will He lead you? As your mom, I believe you can do just about anything! But one thing is certain – your journey will be unique and all your own.

You are an essential part of our family, of “Team Thomas,” but God has a special plan just for you! I cannot wait to watch what He will do through your life as a channel of His love and power to a world that is in great need.

My daughter, my fiery and fearless one, keep up your courage. Keep being brave. There are yet many, many mountains for you to climb.

I pray that you would be one of many women in your generation who show this world what a woman who is truly strong looks like.



  • Suzanne Earley
    Posted at 18:18h, 12 October Reply

    Yes, she is a strong person, physically and in spirit. What fun to watch her grow!

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