My daughter sat on the bed, pouting, upset that I wouldn’t take her to the store to get a new toy.

I love you,” I said as I turned to leave the room. “And, I’m sorry that you can’t have everything you want.”

“Only because you won’t let me have everything I want,” she stated matter-of-factly.

“No, it’s because I love you,” I responded. “I love you enough to not give you everything you want.” 

She rolled her eyes, clearly unwilling to accept this truth, and asked to be left alone. So I walked away and closed the door behind me.

But it’s true. I do love her enough to not give her everything she wants. 

And when she’s ready to talk to me again, here’s what I will tell her:

My child, I love you enough to not give you everything you want.
So that you will find contentment when you have nothing more than what you need.

I love you enough to not give you everything you want.
So that longing for more doesn’t deplete you, but living for more fills you up.

I love you enough to not give you everything you want.
So that your desires don’t burn so brightly that you become blind to the needs of others.

I love you enough to not give you everything you want.
So that you don’t just consume, but also contribute.

I love you enough to not give you everything you want.
So that your heart will illuminate upon giving, not just receiving.

I love you enough to not give you everything you want.
So that you’ll know how to help others instead of just helping yourself.

I love you enough to not give you everything you want.
So that gratitude will be imprinted on your heart even in times of scarcity.

I love you enough to not give you everything you want.
So that you’ll learn how to work hard and how to sacrifice, both for your own good and for the good of others.

I love you enough to not give you everything you want.
So that you can learn happiness doesn’t come from having it all, but from giving your all.

I love you enough to not give you everything you want.
So that you will be prepared for a world that disappoints, but know a God that never does.

I love you enough to not give you everything you want.
So that one day you’ll realize you already have everything that matters.

I can’t possibly give you everything you want, child. And even if I could, I wouldn’t. Because it’s my job to help mold you into someone who sees others before you see yourself. Someone who chooses self-sacrifice over self-indulgence. Someone whose life is so full of meaning and purpose, mercy and grace, faith, love, and compassion, that you’ll have plenty of it to give away.

I love you my child, and I know that you won’t grow or blossom if you always get what you want.

So I won’t give you everything.

It’s not easy to grow. And it takes patience to blossom. But even though a life without everything you want is hard, I promise you that it is still so, so good.

This article originally appeared on A Beautifully Burdened Life

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Jenny Albers

Jenny Albers is a wife, mother, and writer.  She is the author of Courageously Expecting, a book that empathizes with and empowers women who are pregnant after loss. You can find Jenny on her blog, where she writes about pregnancy loss, motherhood, and faith. She never pretends to know it all, but rather seeks to encourage others with real (and not always pretty) stories of the hard, heart, and humorous parts of life. She's a work in progress, and while never all-knowing, she's (by the grace of God) always growing. When she's not typing words, she can be found wrangling a fiery little boy and nurturing a quickly growing girl. She's a tea-addicted, jewelry-loving, cat-obsessed, Jesus-following, introverted midwestern girl who is thrilled to connect with you from the other side of the screen. You can follow her on Facebook and Instagram.