Wednesday, February 17, 1993. South Austin Medical Center. 10:15 pm. Whitney Leigh-Anne came into the world and into our lives kicking and screaming and needing some extra oxygen. I was able to calm her down in those first couple of minutes by singing “Love Me Do” and “Eight Days a Week” softly to her in the delivery room. And I’ll never forget looking for the very first time into those bluer than blue eyes. So blue. And so beautiful. She had a huge ragged mop of dark black hair. And those little crooked toes. And it all knocked my socks off.
How amazing to have this innocent, vulnerable, newborn infant. How terrifying that she depends on me for her very survival. How humbling to realize I’m responsible to her and to our God for bringing her up in Christ Jesus.
Whitney is my sports nut. Big time. She was hitting plastic baseballs off a plastic tee with a plastic bat when she was two. She was eating popcorn and chips and hot sauce and watching football games with me by about the same age. She throws like a boy (Yes!). She loves basketball. She watches ESPN News for 15 minutes every morning. She wants nothing but sports jersies and posters for birthdays and Christmas. We can’t play enough air hockey and backgammon together. And she argues with me about the Cowboys almost daily.
And I love that about Whitney. It really connects me to her.
But what I really admire about Whitney, and the thing I’m most grateful for with her, is her sweet spirit and positive attitude. Whitney is an angel. She’s had to overcome, and is still working to overcome, so many difficulties in her young life. Multiple surgeries. Subsequent therapies. Physical limitations. Hearing aids. Glasses. Fine motor skills. Her list goes on and on. But through it all, somehow, Whitney maintains an incredibly upbeat attitude. She’s never down. The doctors’ appointments and medical reports never drag her down. She keeps that same smile on her face and that same positive attitude day after day after day. She’s such a blessing. She’s endured so much pain in her life, especially with her legs and her feet, and yet she’s generally much more concerned with her sisters’ feelings than with her own.
We tell her all the time that God is going to use the trials she’s enduring now to produce through her amazing things for his Kingdom. We tell her all the time that she’ll be able to minister to other people in ways that I never will because she can personally relate to so many things that other people are going through. As Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 1, she’ll be able to comfort others with the same comfort she’s received from God. She’ll be better equipped to encourage others because of the ordeals she’s facing every day.
I see our loving Father in Whitney. I see him in her trusting spirit and her faithful dependence on him. I see him already using her to teach others around her—namely her dad—about keeping our eyes on the things that are unseen, the eternal things, not the seen things that are temporary.
I can’t wait to see what other huge, wonderful things our God is going to do through the Whitster.
Happy Birthday, girl. I love you.