Any little girl who grows up among four brothers learns how to hold her own. Our Linnea, from the age of two, could “deliver the goods” when necessary, learning early that words hold power. Although the rest of us had trouble keeping a straight face when she lectured in her toddler voice, she got the job done.
She made a good choice in not letting the boys run all over her, and she’s made many other good ones with the rest of her 33 years. The best one was made the day she invited Jesus into her life as a four year old. When her Grandma arrived for dinner that night, Linnea took her upstairs to her room, shut the door and said, “Guess what, Grandma! Jesus came into my heart today, and if you put your hand here [on my heart], you can feel him jumping up and down!”
The day Linnea was born I remember standing at the hospital nursery window with Nate and my parents as the nurse wheeled the clear acrylic bed close enough for us to see this new little relative. “She’ll always be optimistic,” Dad said.
Wondering how he could know this from one quick glance at a newborn, I asked him. He said, “The corners of her mouth turn up naturally, and that’s what that means.”
He was right. She’s always looked for the uplifting detail in every scenario and has been an encourager of others all along the way. It was her optimism that prayed faithfully for a sister (see April 28 blog) and was rewarded with two. Both of those girls, 11 and 13 years younger than Linnea, would say they love their older sister’s non-judgmental attitude toward others and the way she points out the good in everyone. The words, “She’s an inspiration to me” have come out more than once.
Another positive choice was Adam. Although many newlyweds struggle to adjust, both Adam and Linnea found Year One to be the easiest of their lives. That was the calm before the storm, however, as they were devastated to learn they might never have children. Such a blow could drive a wedge between husband and wife but in this case served to bond them tightly. When they were given not one but two miracle babies, they gave God all the credit. Even though raising two-under-two is exhausting, Linnea and Adam never take their children for granted.
Nate was the one who named Linnea, and I’ll never forget him coming to the hospital the day after she was born with a ruffled bonnet he’d bought at Marshall Fields. She was his only daughter for the first 15 years of fathering, and he treated her like a princess, wanting to give her the desires of her heart.
She follows in Nate’s footsteps as a list-maker and Post-it note user, organizing her life and projects well, setting goals and meeting them. Her love for education jived with his, and he was proud of her as a high school English teacher. Linnea didn’t hesitate, however, when the option to be a stay-at-home mom presented itself. Even tenure didn’t hold her at the school, and she’s never looked back.
It’s my great delight to be Linnea’s friend, and I’ve learned much from this daughter. She’s a walking, talking model of the fruits of the Spirit, and because of this, her opinion is valuable to me, and there is power in her words. God sure was good to us on June 24, 1977.
“Pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.” (Romans 14:19)