If you haven't had the chance to know Mikayla Kuckel, it's probably my fault. I hold tight to my kids...I know my time with them is short, and I'm selfish. But, my first baby? My guinea pig? (as I so affectionately call her)...Yeah, I held tight. And I'm sorry if that meant you didn't get to know her better or at all because she is an absolute gem, a gift bestowed to me in my youth and immaturity, but one that has grown me and grown with me, loved me when I have not been lovely, and blessed me with her wisdom when I most needed it. I know I don't deserve her. She's my daughter, my friend, and my sister in Christ.
Mikayla was born in Michigan in May. I can remember taking her on long walks in the carriage-style stroller handed down from her grandmother. Even in those days, I confided in her my fears, thoughts and dreams. She brought peace to my days and always listened with happy eyes and a big smile. She could have ended up pretty spoiled--there were many people who loved and doted on her, especially me and daddy.
We began to notice how she closely observed others at play. She would eventually join in, but she was cautious and reserved with strangers. She could also be rather strong-willed when it came to being forced to do things she didn't want to do. Now, I see how the strength of her will and ability to assess any situation, when submitted to Christ, have proven to be mighty weapons in her life.
When she was two, I gave birth to twins. She adjusted well and rarely bucked against the system she now knew. That was a tough year, but without her easygoing spirit and ability to play alone it would have been so much harder. She has been an incredible example for her brothers, learning how to handle both of their unique personalities and relating to each in their own way. This continued with the addition of sister, then brother, brother, brother, sister and brother. She doesn't lose her cool when people are difficult, she can concentrate in chaos, she has set dreams aside for the sake of family, she challenges her "limitations," and she's quick to offer help when needed. As she was a quiet child, I never expected her to be the leader she would eventually become. She has surpassed my wildest dreams.
My Mikayla. Dear daughter, big sister, gifted writer, figure skater, babysitter, children's ministry leader, deli worker, chef, little genius, guinea pig, friend, world traveler, trail blazer, wise counselor, kitchen messer, missionary, self-starter, teacher, student, beautiful inside and out... My heart is truly glad to have been bound with yours in this life. I love you!
“Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
Ephesians 6:14-17 NASB