Do you hang on to old letters, so you can read them again and again?
Especially now that handwritten notes have become such a rarity, I enjoy leafing through that stack of saved correspondence, rereading the expressions of love and appreciation and encouragement recorded there, along with a wealth of old news and commentary.
One of my favorite letters in that collection was not actually written to me. It was given to me, rather, by a friend of mine who had written it to a friend of hers. I found it to be so rich in gentle reminders, timeless wisdom, and loving encouragement that I’ve held onto it for over a decade now.
When I ran into the author at the bagel shop last Sunday, we got to talking again about her sweet letter and how often I’ve re-read and been encouraged by it. I told her I thought it would be a blessing to other moms, as well, and asked her permission to publish it on this blog.
She agreed, so here it is. Enjoy:
Hang in there, my dear! In the “seasons of life” you are in the gale season. New house, new city, and five children all very precious, but all very young to home school. Any one of these things would be enough to overwhelm me! However, we know that God has a plan for you and that whatever that plan — His grace is sufficient.
In the middle of a gale, I’m sure it’s hard to even see the grace, much less grab hold of it. But we know that Jesus is with us in every storm, and that God is our very present help in trouble. We can cast all our cares upon Him and lay down our burdens at His feet.
These things are all so intangible sometimes and hard to get a hold of. So please, pray for me to faithfully lift you up in prayer — that, like the disciples, your eyes will be open to the power that Jesus has over every storm. That you might see His grace and help and power in and over every situation. That you might see how to cast your cares upon Jesus and lay your burdens at His feet. That you could “hands up, I give” surrender, so that it’s not you, but Christ in you doing the good work that you’ve been given, always remembering that He who began that good work will be faithful to complete it.
Intangible and hard to grasp, but promises of our faithful God! Let me pray for it all to be real and rock-solid for you! And pray also for His word to be a lamp unto your feet and a light unto your path — clearly illuminating His best way for educating your children. And finally, that your joy may be full!
Home schooling isn’t easy. Motherhood isn’t easy. Marriage isn’t easy. Life isn’t easy. Over the years, I’ve had to pray:
- To love my children
- To understand my children
- To see them through the eyes and with the mind and heart of Christ
- To be the instrument in His hand to guide and train and shape and mold them
- To enjoy my children
- To delight in every moment spent with them
- To say “yes” to them any time I reasonably can
- To try never to say “no” to a request for my time or interest
- To say “yes” joyfully. Not grudgingly, “OK, just one game!”, but rather, “That sounds like fun! I think we’ll have time for one game before I have to fix dinner!”
- To always remember “the cat’s in the cradle.” Someday we’ll desire their time, attention, companionship… and right now we’re sowing what we’ll one day reap
- For wisdom and for the law of kindness to be upon my tongue
- For gentle speech
- To build up and not tear down my house with my own hands
- To bring out the best and not the worst in each member of my family
The list goes on and on.
I generally feel like I’m in the trenches with SELF as my most constant enemy. I don’t want to play that game or help with that math problem. I don’t wake up hungry for God’s Word. I get irritated and the law of kindness seems to have no authority over my tongue. It’s a wonder God still allows me the use of it.
I frown when I should smile, lecture when I should sympathize, get irritated when I should laugh, etc, etc. For the good that I would I do not, but the evil which I would not, that I do!
So I just continue to pray that day by day and generation by generation, each one of us individually and collectively would walk more closely with the Lord, taking comfort in the fact that I cannot create or manufacture love, kindness, joy, peace, patience, or any other good thing.
I can only ask for it.
I love you all and count you as a terrific blessing in my life!
Scripture references: II Corinthians 12:9; Luke 8:24-25; Psalm 46:1; I Peter 5:7; Psalm 55:22; Galatians 2:20; Philippians 1:6; Psalm 119:105; II John 1:3; Romans 8:14-25; and, not paraphrased in the text of the letter, Philippians 4:13
I learned something about this letter last Sunday that I hadn’t known before. Teresa told me she’d written it in the middle of the night when she couldn’t sleep. The letter’s intended recipient had paid her a visit earlier in the day and had seemed unusually weary and discouraged at the time.
So she poured her heart into these words, then read the finished letter to her husband the following morning and asked whether he thought she should mail it.
“By all means,” he told her, “but be sure to keep a copy. You may need it yourself someday.”
She did — on both counts — which is how I came to be in possession of a copy, as well.
What kinds of things encourage you when you’re feeling weary? What would you tell another mom who feels discouraged? I’d love for you to share in the comments below.
And if you’d like a copy of this letter for your own collection, you can click here for a free printable PDF: Letter to a Weary Mom