There is this amazing young woman in my life. She inspires me on a daily basis - and she probably has no idea the impact she has on my life. When people talk about being 'beautiful on the inside' - that is her. She is drop dead gorgeous, but it's who she is, the fiber of her being, that makes her truly beautiful. And she has no idea.
She has a faith at 16 years old that I don't even begin to have at 33. Last week her youth director told us that she is 'favored by God.' What he meant was that she has a profound impact on everyone she comes into contact with. Just by being true to who she is, she touches and changes peoples lives.
She's not pretentious. She doesn't push her beliefs off on you. But she lives her faith out loud every single day. How many of us can say the same thing? A year ago she told us that all she wanted for her 16th Birthday was to be baptized. And I cried tears of joy the day that came and I stood there with my hand on her shoulder as she made an outward pledge of her inner commitment.
Just two months ago she lost one of her best friends to a senseless car accident. An accident that could have easily been avoided. On a morning when everyone in the car should have been at school. And when so many people turn from God in such trying moments, this girl's faith grew. She never wavered. Her trust in God only grew stronger.
On the field, in the high school hallways, in youth group - this lady is a true leader. She is someone who people look up to. She has never compromised her morals or values to be part of any group or to 'fit in.' She is naturally popular - because people are drawn to her. Because she radiates compassion, joy, laughter and is 100% genuine.
When I first met her two years ago, I never in a million years dreamed she would have had such an impact on my life. I look to her for inspiration. I watch how she walks in her faith every day and it makes me want to be a better person. I want to be a better person for her - because she deserves that. She is one of the biggest blessings in my life and I'm proud to call her my step-daughter (but normally I drop the step, because in my heart she's my daughter).