sweet little Io,
it’s amazing, you know.
you’re this whole little person, just growing away, practicing breathing through your little lungs, stretching out long, curling up small, slowly becoming this wonderful human that will be unleashed upon the world.
you have so much promise in your blood, and so much beauty and grace and strength is being passed on to you from the loving legacies of incredible women and men. I believe with all of my heart that you’ll feel it too, as you grow into your own, as you take hold of the person you’re designed as.
your blood holds brokenness and anxiety and depression and trauma, too. it holds weaknesses that have haunted your people for generations, demons that have hunted us, shadows we’ve cowered in. you’ll come to understand these stories in time, I know; and, though I pray it’s not the case, you may have to learn to own them as your own and fight them better than we’ve fought them. don’t shrink away from this part of you; it is important. stand on my shoulders, sweet girl. learn from our defeats, and carry our love and your learning into battle.
these terrifying possibilities are why I thought I might never want to carry a child, never want to watch her suffer under the weight of things I’ve suffered. but I know now that you’re being built strong as well as graceful, powerful as well as fragile, fierce and full of fire as well as gentle. this is how good women are made, little one. and you’re good.
your dad and I named you early on. we knew who you are. we felt it in our bones, and it felt right. Iola Grace. dawn of grace is what your name means, said together as one. dawn of grace is the spirit I know you’ve been given.
so I call you Io for short when I speak to you now. Io like Pierce Brown’s hauntingly remember-able book character, leaving behind her a legacy of passion and bravery. Io like Jupiter’s moon… bright, volcanic, and rocky… shining and brilliant despite all its chaos. Io like you… our sweet girl being born into a family full of wildly passionate and marvelously messy and beautifully broken people. passionate and marvelous and beautiful and broken like you’ll be, too.
Io, already, you’re the only one like yourself. you’re being cradled, designed, expertly hand-crafted by the safest, wisest hands. I wouldn’t trust you to any other than Divine Love. you’re far too precious. already, your inhales and exhales, the passions that will drive you to Love, steps you’ll take and when you’ll take them, the caverns of heartache you’ll travel, and the peaks of grace you’ll find yourself atop have been scooped out and heaped up. goodness has already been breathed into you. hope is already calling your name.
Io, I pray daily that you’ll grasp hold of that hope, latch onto Divine Love with a desperate heart, and open your small hands to offer the world what you’ve been given.
Io, I pray you know the value of stillness. of being in the quiet so you can learn to befriend that still, small voice and know it anywhere. I pray you know the power of your steady breath and the strength that comes after the silence of meditation. I pray you love to be alone and still, that you hold dear the places where it is quiet enough to seek our Love by yourself. I pray you find joy in the freedom that comes with actively seeing the spiritual everywhere, that you know Jesus in the eyes of humanity and the sound of the waves and the towering shadow of the mountain. I pray that you close your eyes in prayer and meditation often enough to have them opened.
I teach you this already when you can hear me pray or speak a mantra over my day, when you feel yourself take flight as I lift into crow pose or a headstand. the way I get to share my yoga and my spiritual life with you right now in these moments while you are still sharing my blood is the most beautiful, intimate thing I can imagine. sometimes it brings me to tears. sometimes I wonder if your heart will remember it and feel it after your mind has forgotten. there is nothing quite like it… and no one else who has shared this with me like you, little girl.
Io, I pray you’ll own the person you’ve been designed to be, that you will apologetically live as YOU and not allow the shallow expectations and unspoken rules of fearful people to make you shrink small. I pray you’ll take up your freaking space in the world, that you’ll claim the right and the responsibility to be fiercely brave, and a powerful, kind woman. I pray you’ll speak truth over the liars, and stand up without fear or embarrassment to those who would ask you, and others, to be small and voiceless. I pray your voice roars protection and safety over all the overlooked and underappreciated.
Io, I pray you allow your life to be the brutiful process of slowly becoming who you already are. it will take time. it will take a very long time. it will take your whole life. but it is the most important thing you will ever do. as your mama, I know this, because I walk this road every day, and I know someday we will get to walk it separately, together. the act of holy becoming will be the thing that bonds you to what matters in life, and tears you away from the things that never really mattered at all. I pray you embrace the becoming, Io, because the becoming will lead you on the narrow road of Jesus, to the wide table of grace where everyone is invited and healing is the celebration.
Io, I pray you will know the power of the words yes, no, and why… and that you will use each of them often and well.
Io, already, you’ve captured a part of our hearts that can’t be ignored. you’re our future, sweet girl. full of promise and a whole lot of practice at being the people your soul needs.
I love you, Io girl.