Valerie Nicole is 25 today. Our little middle has been blessing us and everybody in her world now for a quarter century. Her creativity. Her wicked sense of humor. Her passionate heart for the marginalized. Her fierce loyalty to her friends and family. Her careful attention to our Lord’s call and her faithfulness to follow.

Twenty five years ago she was a nine-and-a-half pound newborn, amazing the nurses, dwarfing all the other babies at South Austin Medical Center, and nearly killing her mom. Since that day, Valerie has been the light in every dark room. For twenty five years she has been the source of the funny lines, the keeper of the family traditions, the carefree wearer of socks and sandals (together), and the lover of Little Debbies.

Today she is making a Gospel difference in the lives of troubled teenagers in Tulsa. She is a Holy Spirit indwelled and empowered daughter of God and a brilliant Youth Minister in his eternal Church. She is doing what our Lord puts in front of her to do with all her talents and energy in a way that changes lives and points to Christ Jesus. Those kids are blessed. And so am I.

Happy Birthday, Val-Pal. I love you. And I thank God for what he is doing in you and through you to his glory.