When I held you in my arms for the first time, it was like time stopped. As you looked up at me with innocence and new life, I was struck by the reality that my main role in your life would be to guide and direct you on the right path. I hoped I would do the best job possible.

As I watched you grow, I basked in your joy of putting on your pretty dresses, adorned with layers of costume jewelry, parading around the house for your father and me to see. I dreamed often of what path you would take in life, and where God would lead you, and I have one thing to say . . .

Daughter, you can be anything you want to be.

Then you transitioned from a little girl to a young woman, trading your princess dresses and bows for curling irons and eyeshadow. I rejoiced when you stuck like glue to your best friend’s side and had your first crush. I dreamed about your wedding, what dress you would wear, and if you would bless me with grandchildren. To this, I have one thing to say . . .

Daughter, you can be anything you want to be.

RELATED: God Has Filled Your Heart With Dreams, Beautiful Girl—Chase Them With Wild Abandon

I clapped with joy when you performed in your first school play and won your first spelling bee. Now, I watch as you experiment with musical instruments and choose your school to embark on your college career. My prayer is that you approach life with the same carefree abandon and boldness with which you approached life as a child.

Never give up that childlike wonder.

Don’t choose a job to make a paycheck but choose a career that will help you use your God-given abilities and make the world a better place. The world became a better place when you were born, and when you venture out into the world as an adult, choose a career in which you make a difference in others’ lives. The joy and fulfillment that accompany helping others are priceless. Don’t lose sight of that.

Whether you choose to be a firefighter or a musician or a teacher, I will always be proud of you. Whether you work outside the home or your main work is to raise godly children, do what makes you feel like it’s not work at all. I’ll always be proud of you because you are my child, not for what you do for a living. You don’t need to earn my approval; you already have it.

RELATED: Dear Daughter, When You Doubt Yourself

But as you make these decisions and I have less of a voice in your life, listen to the One who orders your steps. His plan is always right, His timing is always perfect, and His calling is always aptly suited for who He has made you to be. After all, if He numbered the hairs on your head, surely He has chosen the perfect career for you too.

But what you do, doesn’t define who you are.

So many people go through life getting wrapped up in climbing the rungs of an imaginary corporate ladder only to find it’s lonely at the top. As you work toward your career choice, work first at being a good person. Cultivate the virtues of integrity and honesty that not only make you a great candidate for a job but a person worthy of respect and trust. Wrap your identity in the traits that make you who you are. Focus on your strengths even when life—or your job—throws you a curveball.

No matter whether your career path is straight or winding or takes you on a detour you never expected, remember whose you are. Because that’s the most important lesson of all. And remember . . .

Daughter, you can be anything you want to be. 

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Michelle S. Lazurek

Michelle S. Lazurek is a multi-genre award-winning author, literary agent, certified writing coach, speaker, pastor’s wife, and mother living in Coopersburg, Pennsylvania. Her newest picture book, co-authored with Crystal Bowman, is Who God Wants Me To Be. She has won two Golden Scroll Children's Book of the Year awards, Article of the Year, and the Enduring Light silver medal, among many other honors. She is also a member of the Christian Author's Network and the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. 

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