Dear oldest daughter, trust me.

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Dear oldest daughter,

I remember when we told you that we were moving to Portugal. You didn’t even know it existed. It might as well have been Narnia. You were seven. You hadn’t even let go of your baby fat. And you cried like it too.

You cried tears that stung me. Portugal could have been Narnia, but then, the Grange was about as close to a fantasy land as you would find. Sitting in the living room of the house with a bunch of windows, your tears made me doubt for just a second. Was this the right thing for my family? Was this really what you needed?

Juggling security and normality and obedience to Jesus’ final words is a lot like juggling a machete with an open box of spiders. There’s no easy way to do it.

Leaving the bumblebee tree and the place where we buried Rack, Shack and Benny. Not being able to follow around Mr. Mitch while he sprayed for bugs would be tough. You didn’t understand that moving to Portugal meant many more memories and many more adventures. You didn’t understand and at that point in time, you really didn’t want to understand.

Your seven-year-old tears of pain over leaving “the teenagers” shook me. I don’t know how much trust is built up in the first ten years of a child’s life, but I imagine that you had to muster every ounce of it as we packed our stuff to move it to house with the spiral staircase where your sister would break her arm jumping off the bunk beds. We moved sight unseen, and that wouldn’t be the last time. There at that house dropped right in the middle of soy-bean fields, you blew up your first laptop, smothering it in a pillow as you listened to Adventure’s in Odyssey marathons.

Man, was I mad.

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Photo by Nina Andrzejewski

That move would mean another one. It meant another yard sale and a pile of trips dropping off your toys and books at the thrift store. I’m sorry that you had to choose who would go with you – Phenicia or one of your other stuffed friends.

I’m sorry that you were forced to grow up a little quicker than anybody else. To help out with babies when you were still a baby.

I’m sorry that I have such high expectations for you and the other four knuckleheads younger than you. It’s a fault, but if it makes it any better, it’s a well-intentioned one.

But, I’m not sorry for moving, for uprooting and for bringing you here. You’re better for it. You’ve blomossed. You’ve got more to do, but don’t start getting a big head. Stay humble. You don’t know it all yet.

You won’t until you’ve got a newborn, and then about the time that she “has” 2 years, you’ll wake up and realize that you don’t know anything. Again.

But now you’ve made another move. You’ve moved to the world of braces and boys. It’s a world that for me is so much scarier than Portugal. I feel comfortable in our aldeia. I don’t always feel that way in yours.

There are land mines everywhere. Only…men call them hormones. I’m not really sure if I moved with you or not. Sometimes it feels like you want me there and other times…well, you know.

It’s part of maturing and growing up. It’s part of me getting older and slightly less important as others start replacing me little by agonizing little.

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Photo by Nina Andrzejewski

Here’s what I want you to know though. Today, when you’re still unpacking your bags in this new little world I want you to know two things: First, you still need to trust me. Just like you trusted me seven years ago. I’ll protect you as long as you let me. I’ll protect you even when you try not letting me. But, it will be easier if you just let me.

Trust me and your mom and Jesus. We’re all on the same team and we all want the same thing.

Don’t kick and fight against us. Use your strength to conquer your will. If not, you’ll be like an ancient city without walls. There’ll be no protection. Anybody can come in and do what they want.

Second, be true. Be honest. Don’t stoop to lying and deceit. It’ll never get you where you want to be. Going down that road may seem like a shortcut, but you’ll get lost and scared like that time that you got lost at Disneyworld. (It was only for about 30 seconds, Nanny.)

Except when you get lost in the world that you live in right now, it can get pretty dark and really scary. Walk in the light as He is in the light.

Be honest to me and to your mom and to Jesus. And while you’re at it, be honest to yourself.

You’ll be glad you did whenever you move out of that land and into mine. I’ll be waiting on you there. I love you.

Now, go get ready for church.

About the Author

Michael Andrzejewski

Michael Andrzejewski is a missionary in western Europe who loves to share his stories. An introvert by nature, he swims upstream while struggling to pastor cross-culturally. Passionate about both the Gospel and football, he constantly searches for really good sushi.

  • Rhonda Pierce

    Gee Michael Thank’s for making me cry.That was the most Passionate Beautiful letter to a Daughter I have ever read.You are a great daddy and Nina is a wonderful wife and Of course JESUS is the Best Author of a Book I that’s ever been written.You inspired me in this Letter.Keep doing What you are Doing for CHRIST and He will Richly BLESS YOU AND YOUR’S .Missing you Guy’s Terrible.Love you Guy’s.

    • Thank you Rhonda. We plan on keeping on and we love you guys too. See you this summer.

  • Jeff Trammell

    My favorite line…”use your strength to conquer your own will.” Eldest Andrzejewski daughter, if u read these comments, please take heed to your father’s instruction. Hear and live and stay protected by God under your God-given umbrella of authority. Hear and learn from those of us who strayed from that umbrella. It is like a city without walls and fair game for all enemies. Sometimes, you are taken prisoner and held captive in a foreign land. It was not fun and like your father said, ” It got very dark and very scary.” Walk in that light Jesus has given to you through your parents. Listen to them for they are the mouthpiece of God in your life. I wish I had listened to mine. Be blessed. Keep trusting.

    • Jeff, man how I wish that we both would have listened so many different times. I am super thankful for God’s enduring grace and long-suffering. Thanks for stopping by. Stay dry over there.

  • danielajoy

    Sounds so familiar. We are saying these things to our oldest.

  • Mimi

    Tears? Oh yes. Michael you are a wonderful father. Brooklyn will honor, and respect you and Nina forever. And I remember very well the night I got that call from my daughter with the news. The flood gate opened! I’m thankful your minding The Lord. I love y’all and miss you.

    • Thanks for stopping by Mimi. Keep praying for all of us here. I’m thankful for your support.

  • Lora Slatton McGee

    Absolutely beautiful, perfectly said and like I always said, you and Nina are the best parents i have ever known. Your children are blessed and I pray that they will always know it.

    • Ms. Lora, now you’ve gone completely overboard. When are you bringing Bro. Jimmy over?

  • Janice Quick

    Brooklyn, heed the words of your daddy. God can speak wisdom into your life through him. But most of all, listen to the words of your Heavenly Father and never fail to read and heed them daily.

    Nanny and Papaw love you

    Son, what a joy daughters are and what a challenge. They are Veniecian too, just like their mother is. I know you have “bent” Brooklyn in the right direction and i pray and am confidient she will continue to grow that way. I pray for you as you transition with her through these new passages into womanhood.

    Mom

    • Mom, thanks for the comment. I’ll tell Brooklyn to read it. Please do keep praying for us all over here. Daughters are a challenge, but I imagine our son will be too. Love you.