a blessing as you graduate

growing up
All grown up

Lexi Mae,

Last night your daddy and I stood before a group of people with you planted in the middle, waiting to hear a blessing that just could not be spoken through our tears. You see, nothing on this gigantic pinprick in our galaxy prepared us for the tidal wave of love that a tiny baby brought or the earthquake that shatters our world as that baby blinks into an adult.

See, nobody tells you that all of the questions you have about parenting right never get answered and that the best you can do is feel your way down a path you can’t see with whispered pleas of prayer that God is going to fill in the gaps and make this right.

They do tell you that those piggy tails will blossom into Taylor Swift braids that weave your future into Nashville and out of our arms but words don’t always prepare you for the depths of pain and joy that this reality brings.

And there isn’t a vocabulary big enough in any language to say that what I’m going to miss most is simply your voice saying ‘Momma’ into my day.

You see, it isn’t really anything you do or even who you are or who you are becoming that make you a blessing to Daddy and to me. I don’t think I even realized that until this very moment of tapping words into a screen in between sobs. This IS the apex, the core, the axis of God’s great parental love for you, for me, for every one of us. It is the central truth of this Gospel that defines who we are and how we see each other and how we see our world, and how we understand our God:

A parent’s love simply wraps itself around and roots itself into the very truth that you are simply You in our lives.

If I could pour the depth of that revelation into the hearts of every human being inhaling oxygen today; that revelation of the depth of the Father’s love pinned to nothing more than the fact that He loves us simply because we are we; His kingdom would come in a blink. Wars would end. The hungry would be fed. The lost would be found and returned home.

I learned last night that I don’t need to understand a language to understand a heart when Shan Shan’s mother blessed her in Chineese and I felt every word with my Momma’s heart.

Would words in front of a group of people last night or on a screen today tell the story of two silly kids who discovered they were three in a house in London and brought a baby home to a two-room apartment in Moscow? Could words tell the story of stories read, told, and written in precious seconds and minutes and hours over years? Of music shared and laughter giggled and discussions and questions, and adventures taken across countries and arguments loudly, too loudly, endured that make up the Sunberg Six; there will never be a vocabulary vast enough.

So, Lexi Mae, what do we say to you to bless you on the threshold of your new journey?


But, go with Jesus.


To be a blessing to the world.


And live every second of every day knowing that your are deeply, heart-wrenchingly, heart-fully, profoundly loved because you are simply YOU.

We love your passion for people. May the Lord daily show you how to serve like Jesus.

We love your mind. May the Lord use you to teach others about the heart-truths of our Saviour’s journey with us.

We love your courage. May the Lord make you an instrument of His peace in our desperate world.

We love your hugs. May the Lord lead you to  a crying world and give you his strength to embrace them for our Christ.

We love your gift for words. May God speak clearly through you in the story that you say and that you live.

We love your nurturing presence. May the Lord continue to nurture in you a deep love for Him, His word, and His world.

We love YOU, Lexi Mae.

So, for the girl who bounced into our lives with BIG black hair and the sweetest disposition EVER, for the girl who crawled up on her momma’s lap and devoured stories, shocked her momma with an ability to read before Kindergarten, filled our memory boxes with stories written, drawn, and spoken …  For the girl who patiently and blissfully played ‘stewardess’, bouncies and smoothies, and run across with her daddy …



Your Mommy and Your Daddy, too!


Now, Go, Lexi Mae. (The hardest words in the world for a parent to say, but the right ones.)


And graduate tomorrow.


And, be a Trevecca freshman in August.


And may you love Him, live for Him, and serve Him every day of your life, Lexi Mae; for that has been our DAILY prayer for you ever since we made a phone call to America from a pay-phone in a London metro station to say that you were coming.

We love you the whole world and a big house,

Momma and Daddy.


2 thoughts on “a blessing as you graduate

  1. Tiana,
    I can’t believe your little girl has grown up already. They simply won’t stay little, and we don’t really want them to. Blessings to you as you say “goodbye.”

    Marie Gail

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