Insert Grace Here…

…finding grace to help in the time of need…

Happy 18th Birthday, Cammie! July 30, 1990

On July 30, 1990 at 12:52 p.m., Cammie Nicole Sutton was born.  It’s so hard to believe that it has been 18 years.  Time flashed by at a pace I cannot comprehend.

My Sunshine!

My Sunshine!

Happy 18th Birthday, my firstborn!

As I rewind this moving picture of your life, I recall singing “You Are My Sunshine” to you in utero.  I still think of you when I hear that song.

After 16 hours of labor- horrible, horrible labor- you arrived.  I will never forget that first look.  I saw past those bruises caused by the forceps.  A girl!  A girl?  Your eyes seemed to be telling me that you were trying to let me know all along.  I was certain that you were a bit perturbed that I would just assume you were a boy.  My heart melted…

Time ticked away… Before long you were walking and talking and eventually dancing to tap and ballet.  You asked a lot of questions.  You loved to sing.  One of your favorites was “He is the King”. 

You were just two and a half when your baby sister was born.  You loved Courtney and seemed to take to her right away.  You didn’t show much jealousy.  You did try to feed her potato chips, though.  And you kinda’ freaked out when you found out she did not have teeth yet.  She did have lots of hair, though.  Look at that hair!  Sing it with me now… “Monchichi, Mon-chi-chi.  Monchichi, Mon-chi-chi… La, la, la…”  (Sorry, Court.  Some teens may be embarrassed and possibly traumatized due to this post.)                          

Cammie & baby sister, Courtney

Cammie & baby sister, Courtney

 

When you were three you began asking when Jesus would be coming back to get us.  Those questions led to more questions about how He enters your heart.  I gave my best three-year-old answers to your questions.  And you asked to pray.  We did.  You invited Jesus in your heart in the backseat of our car when you were just three years old.  I continued to pray as you grew that your understanding of Salvation and acceptance of Him would grow, too. 

And grew you did!  All too fast.  Another birthday came and then another and you would be off to Kindergarten.

You were almost five when we were driving one day and you began asking me where the stairs were that led to Heaven.  I wondered why.  I reasoned that you must’ve heard a Sunday School story about Jacob’s Ladder.  You kept asking.  “I know,” you said while pointing out the window, “they must be over there by Popeye’s!” 

Days later, you were staring at a plaque on the wall of Jesus robed in white with outstretched hands floating on the clouds.  You stared for a few moments and said, “Jesus didn’t fall off the clouds.”

“What?”

“He didn’t fall off the clouds.  I didn’t fall off either, Mama.”  You continued to stare and seemed to drift off to what you were describing.  It wasn’t long before I realized you had an experience- perhaps a dream or a vision.

“When,” I asked you.  You began describing what you were wearing.  The exact clothes you had worn several days before.  You told me that you stood on the clouds with Jesus.  You walked up those stairs and you didn’t fall off the clouds and neither did Jesus.

“All the people were there.  And God was there, too.  I didn’t see Him.  But I heard Him,” you said.  I tried to imagine a multitude of people without number- “ALL the people”.  And I thought of when Jesus was baptized.  A perfect picture of the Trinity.  As He was baptized in water, God the Father spoke from Heaven and The Holy Spirit descended like a Dove.

You described the robes that the people were wearing.  Some wore different robes than others.  You told me Jesus held out His hands.  You stared back at the plaque and held out your hands and seemed to think back for a moment.  “He had bleed on His hands, Mama.  He said His bleed can wash my sins away.  And He asked me if I was happy.  And I told Jesus I was happy.”

What a profound moment!  I remember feeling the Presence of The Holy Spirit.  And I knew He had His hand on you.

Looking back, the timing of that experience was amazing.  It wasn’t long before your father and I would separate and eventually divorce.  You were almost six.  This next picture is of you milking a cow at Kleinpeter Farm on a field trip with your class.  I will forever be thankful to your teacher for this picture as I was not there.  It has always been important for me to be present at field trips and school functions.  That year, the single, working mom would be unable to attend.  I keep this picture in my Bible along with the picture/bookmark Courtney made earlier that year in Vacation Bible School.  I am reminded that God carried you both through that time as He did me.

At some point, I suppose your memory has caught up with mine.  You may recall that day at Kleinpeter Farm… the transitions you went through.  We lived with Nana and Poppy for a while.  You had to change schools when you went to second grade.  When you were almost eight, your Joedaddy and I got married.  We became a family.  It took quite a while for you to open up to him.  But you did.  Our bonds grew stronger throughout the years.  And you and Courtney never gave up on us having a baby.  At times, it was both of you who kept my faith going.

More years passed… eight, nine, ten years old.  Do you remember your struggles in third grade?  That was more than likely your hardest year.  You were diagnosed with ADD before fourth grade.  You made it through those next years of elementary with less difficulty.  You were in 4H.  You were making friends.  Eleven, twelve years old.  And… Jr. High! 

You made good grades.  You were a good kid.  You were quiet.  And then one day… you became a teenager.  Your bedroom makeover was clearly the best thing we could’ve done for you for that milestone birthday.  I’ll never forget when I uncovered your eyes like the host of While You Were Out.  The decorator was there.  You were wide-eyed.  “I feel like a Princess!”

Your teen years didn’t go by any slower.  You started High School.  Crushes would change, friends would change… I would worry and pray and hope that I was teaching you what you needed.  For such a long time I would pray with you and Courtney before you went to the schools that we parents call war zones.  I questioned many times whether or not the things I taught you were sinking in.  And I would try and remember the Word of the Lord spoken to me to continue to talk with my children when we were going about our lives.  Driving in the car…sitting at the table.  I knew what He meant.  And I am reminded again now that His Word will not return void.  It WILL accomplish what He intends.  Thirteen, fourteen years old…

You would be 15 when the door opened for me to have a tubal-reversal.  I thank God for the vacation time He allowed for us as a family that December.  I thank God that you and Courtney encouraged me not very long before then by offering to open up an account for me to save for surgery.  But He handled the finances… and the day had finally come.

Did you have any idea that it would not be long at all before I would be pregnant?  I worried when I was sick and dehydrated and under the care of Home Health.  I worried about the sacrifices you and Courtney would have to make during that time.  I hoped you would know it would be worth it.  Those days were hectic.  Deciding to sell the house that had been home to us for over eight years- that was bittersweet… packing and moving to a bigger house to accommodate two teens and a baby on the way…  DRIVER’S ED- yea, that was a big one but you made it through… turning 16… getting your permit… your first job at the produce stand… the loss of Grandpa Ted… and then, Sophie.

Cammie & baby sister, Sophie

Cammie & baby sister, Sophie

You were smitten.  You still are.  I hoped that you and Courtney would see how much work and responsibility is involved with the life of a child.  And of course how much joy!  Those days flew by like all the rest.

My Girls

My Girls

And then you were almost 17.  This seems to have been one of the most trying times for you as well as me.  You met the one who will likely always be considered your first love.  You had some struggles.  You went to live with your father just prior to your 17th birthday.  My heart broke.  But I knew I had to place you in the hands of Christ.  The trials seemed to escalate.  Ultimately, you ran away with your friend.  And as traumatic as that is to even type- He watched over you and we got you back that night.  I will never forget those days when I saw you hurting.  I wanted to protect you from that.  I worried about the mistakes I had made.  I prayed for direction.

Together, we decided you should leave your Senior year of High School and join The National Guard’s Youth Challenge Program.  This would be one of the hardest decisions we would have to make.  And I’m so glad we did.  It was difficult.  I know you struggled, especially at first.  I cried and cried and prayed and prayed. 

In just over five months, you excelled!  You not only finished this challenge, but you did it as a 5-Star Cadet.  And you graduated Co-Cadet of the Cycle.  You were chosen to go to Washington D.C. and represent YCP.  You made fantastic scores on your tests including the ACT and the ASVAB.  You made me so proud!  I am so thankful that “you” were able to see your own potential.  Above all, you prayed.  You even shared your faith and led one of the girls there to the Lord.

Cam-YCP Co-Cadet of the Cycle

Cam-YCP Co-Cadet of the Cycle

You came home.  You got your first car. 

Cam's 1st Car

Cam's 1st Car

You joined the National Guard.  You’ve struggled with this decision.  But, Cammie, HE KNOWS THE PLANS HE HAS FOR YOU.  Those plans are good!  (Jeremiah 29:11) And if not for His strength, I would fall apart, too.  You are, after all, still my little girl.

And now you are turning 18.  This post has been played out in my mind many times.  These milestones have reminded me that HE is still in control.  When Grandma found that Testament that you gave Grandpa Ted so many years ago and sent it to you with your birthday card, I was reminded once again “He is STILL in control”.

Cam & Sophie- Peek-a-boo

Cam & Sophie- Peek-a-boo

Soon you will be leaving for basic training.  I am once again presented with the opportunity to trust Him.  It’s time to let you go.  I hope that you can see His hand on your life throughout the past 18 years.  I pray that you will move beyond your questions, your emotions, your fears and trust Him completely.  It’s safe there… in His arms.

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you. saith the LORD, thoughts of peace. and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”  Jeremiah 29:11

I don’t know what the future holds, Cammie.  But I know Who holds the future.  I know I can trust Him.  And you can, too.  Now go in peace and courage and do the great things that He has called you to do.  I will be here cheering you on and praying you through.  And I know His grace will be sufficient.  May this be your very best year yet!

I’m so glad to be your Mom.

With much love,

Mom

P.S.

I love you more than Diet Coke! 😉

 

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8 Comments»

  Ginger wrote @

Wow! More than Diet Coke?! Happy Birthday Lil’ Rena! You are such a beautiful image of your mother as you both are of your savior. So proud and kinda sad. You have no business growing up so fast.

I hope you and Coco always remain close and you keep your mom there too. She has done a great job balancing mom and friend with both of you.

Be thankful and be blessed knowing you are greatly loved. I have seen many similarities between us through the years and am amazed how your growth exceeds mine.

God is good and able above all. He alone will guide your choices, just listen for His voice and learn from those who strive to follow Him around you.

Know that you are on the right track and in His steps you’ll find victory. There is nothing, absolutely nothing you cannot do!

As you stand in Him, you show the world what He is made of. Let your life continue to be a blessing of honor to Him in all you do.

As I read your mother’s beautiful words I am hearing some things I did not know, or remember, either way, He’s got you covered!

I know those words may not seem much in the face of the unknown but His words hidden deep withing your spirit will spring up when needed most.

I leave you with Num. 23:19. Have a wonderful, Happppppy Birthday Cams!!! We alll love you!

“God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?”

  Valarie in AL wrote @

That was absolutely beautiful!!

Happy Birthday Cammie!!!

  Big Mama wrote @

Happy Birthday,
We are so very proud of the young lady you have become. We know that you will excel at anything you do. Remember : Everything happens for a reason. We know God has a wonderful plan for your life!
Love always,
Big MaMa & Big Daddy

  Ken wrote @

Happy birthday girl…like your mom I have watched you grow up and the only thing I can says is God we are getting old…hahaha I am so proud of you I hope that you have a wonderful birthday and hopefully we will be able to see you real soon.

love

Ken, Tina, Kayla, Alyssa and Kasey

  Jean wrote @

Happy Birthday Cami, and sorry Rena for missing your birthday..I really enjoyed this..Love you

  Happy 2nd Birthday, Sophie! « Insert Grace Here… wrote @

[…] one below.  But this pic is much better of me than the one of me with your sister, Cammie, in her 18th Birthday Post.  (That’s called an ulterior motive.) Sent from Heaven…Handle With Care You are ideed a […]

  I Can Still Hear Her Sing! | Here’s My Cup Lord wrote @

[…] can still hear little Cammie sing, “He is the King of Kings and the Yord of Yords.  His name is Jejus, Jejus, Jejus, […]

  We Speak to Nations | Here’s My Cup Lord wrote @

[…] this beautiful song, it begins to sound more like an anthem and I can’t help but think of our Cammie and her journey to the military. (Click on her name to hear her […]


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