Dear Ava

Ava, your grandmother and I wanted to take a little time to tell you how proud we are of you. God blessed you with so many talents. You are a wonderful artist with your paintings and drawings. Every time we see one of your creations we smile with wonder as we try to predict how you will use that ability in your life.

We have listened as you played the piano in church and in the video clips your mother has posted. And we think “Wow! Ava is so good. God must have had this in mind when he shaped your hands.” And the piano is just one of the instruments you have mastered.

Then came your confirmation yesterday when you promised to stay faithful to your Savior. Even though I am a guy, I have to confess that not only were there tears in your grandmother’s eyes, but mine were rather damp too. You pledged to continue studying the Bible, receive communion regularly for forgiveness and to continue to grow in your faith.

We have seen you live out that faith, Ava, as you use all those talents. We have heard you talk about your faith in Jesus and the gift he gave you when he paid for all of your sins by dying on the cross. And again, we are proud and thankful.

But just to let you in on something. When you promised to stay close to your Savior, someone else took note of that promise–Satan. You see, when he hears someone wants to keep Jesus in their life, he starts to make plans on how to lead you away. He does not have to worry about those who do not have faith. He already has them.

No one really knows how he will tempt you. Maybe playing piano in church will not seem so exciting anymore. The students you meet at the Lutheran high school you will attend may not treat you too well. You might find it hard to spend daily time with Jesus. Maybe it will seem your parents are making you go to church. You may come to a point where your faith life does not seem so important anymore.

The devil can be rather frightening and he should be–to everyone. Ava, when the fears come and your life gets tough, please remember your confirmation passage: The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?   Psalm 27:1

When King David wrote that Psalm–you remember the teen who killed Goliath–he said he did not have to be afraid. He did not say this because he was such a great sling shotter (ok, maybe that is not a word but you get my point). David said he had confidence and hope because he had the Lord with him. He knew where his strength came from–his loving Savior.

That is really what yesterday was all about. You said you trust in Jesus and you will keep trusting him no matter what. Your grandmother and I trust him too. We know that no matter what you have to face, as you turn to him, he will get you through. Jesus will grow you and use you as he already has planned.

But most of all, one day he will take you to be with him in heaven. Oh, what a life you have ahead of you–here on earth and one day in heaven. And we love you so much, but as your grandmother has told all of our 14 grandchildren, Jesus loves you more.

Thanks for letting us be there yesterday, Ava.

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