Last January, a friend died. We didn’t know each other all that well, but after living in Indonesia for a few years and getting together with other young moms, we spent a good bit of time with one another. We had coffee, played with our kids at the park, and had many discussions about faith, marriage, and parenting.
Her death was quite sudden. From what I understand, the timeline from her diagnosis of breast cancer to death was less than a few weeks. She was young. Beautiful. Smart. Witty. And she was a mom. Three little kids, all age five and under and all little blondies like my own, will never get the chance to really know her.
Her death changed me. In the days after hearing the news, I was mad. I kept thinking, “It isn’t fair! She didn’t have enough time! She didn’t know!” I thought of all the things I am sure she would have wanted to do if she had known she wouldn’t get to see her kids grow up. All the letters she would have written. All the stories she would have wanted to record. All the words of wisdom she would have wanted to pass on.
We think we have forever. But we don’t. None of us know the end our days.
Over the past year, I have thought many times about the stories I would want my kids to hear. The letters I would want to write. The rationale for decisions I would want to articulate. If God were to call me to Himself without me being able to finish raising these sweet kids, there are things I want them to know. Many of the stories of our family are in our scrapbook albums. The tens of thousands of photos we have show a mother who adored her children. But there are still thoughts and feelings and dreams that still need to be given words.
And so, Love Letters to My Children. I want to be intentional about taking the time to share with my kids the thoughts and truths that live deep within my heart. I want to make sure I take the time to articulate the whys and hows of our family, not just the whats. I want them to know why our family does the things the way we do. I want them to know why we value the things we value. I want them to understand the rationale for decisions we have made and will continue to make. I want them to know the mistakes we have made and what we have learned from them. I want them to know the dreams I have for them and the prayers I pray for them.
Not all of these letters will be for public view. Some things are better off being kept private. However, I am choosing to share some of these letters publicly. I do this because maybe…Maybe it will challenge you in your parenting. Maybe it will encourage you. Maybe it will help you feel you aren’t alone. Maybe it will help you think of parenting issues and challenges in new ways. Maybe it will inspire you to make changes in your family or in yourself. Maybe it will give you the courage to be the mother God made you to be instead of the mother the internet says you should be. Maybe you will think of the stories and truths and dreams and love you want to share with your children.
Through my years of blogging, I have often wondered about the value of sharing my words. I often fear that I am talking to hear myself talk or that others will assume that to be my motivation. We all know there are plenty of people who are so enamored with themselves they can’t help but share it for the world to see. I question my motives daily. I wrestle with adding more words to the cacophony of parenting advice which usually confuses and divides rather than encourages and unifies. I ask myself, “Wouldn’t it bet better if we would all just be quiet?”
And then I am reminded that words themselves are a gift from God. Of all the ways He could have chosen to reveal Himself and His heart to His creation, He chose words. Communication of His thoughts and will could have been accomplished in any way He imagined or declared. But He chose words as the means of communicating truth from Himself to His children. And if words are the way God chooses to communicate most effectively, then I must believe that words are the means by which we as humans are able to communicate most effectively.
I’m flawed…so much more so than I would like to admit (and probably much more than I even realize.) I don’t always get it right…in life, in marriage, or in mothering.
However, I am the mother God has chosen for these children. These are the children God has chosen for me. I must believe that even with my flaws and faults, I am God’s best for them.
I want my children to know my heart— not only for them, but also for God and His Word. These love letters will be my attempt to share the inner workings of my mother-heart. I hope I live long enough to share these stories and truths and dreams while looking into each of their eyes, but for now, I will rest well knowing that I have paired words with feelings and have written them down to be read and re-read. Whether I am with my children or at home with the Lord, these love letters will be theirs.
I want them to know.