It is the eve of our third child’s – our second daughter’s – wedding day. Last weekend, she graduated from college with a degree in Mathmematics and Education, with a high school teaching position already lined up. Tomorrow night, only six days later, under dim lights with a glowing crowd, we will give her to her waiting husband. Another parenting shift will rock our world, while she walks bravely into her new life apart from ours. I have written a keepsake letter to mark this milestone and initiate her as a woman of her own household. She has given me permission to share it with you.
May the treasures weaved through these words find their way into your own heart. If it pricks a tender place, let the emotions come. Invite Jesus into what you experience. If it is tears, ask Him why. If anger, let Him show you the reason. If joy, be specific as to why. If this inspires you to write your own letters, grab a pen or keyboard and let your true heart bleed onto the page for the one(s) you love.
Emily, I remember the moment you were placed into my waiting arms. Your newborn eyes were lined with lashes so dark it appeared you came out wearing mascara! Along with your rosy round cheeks, those big almond-shaped blues and long black eyelashes have captured my heart every day since. Your first laugh must have been born straight out of the laughter of the Trinity. For you have been laughing your way through life, contagiously and gloriously affecting even the most stoic of hearts around you. Whether wrestling with your big brother, hitting the floor with force enough to break something, or in a serious moment that warranted a straight face, every time that giggle began to shake your shoulders before a sound was heard, we’d think you were crying. Then, that distinctive expression of light-heartedness would finally erupt with the loudest of continual, spontaneous sounds until everyone is caught up in the moment. A deep tenderness could be seen and felt at an early age, of both your own heart and toward others. At only seven years old, you sat across the table from your principal and me as she asked why you cried every day at school. “Because I keep thinking about how Mama is all alone, at home every day all by herself, and I don’t want her to be alone” you released through tears! Oh, my heart! But as the years began to reveal more of your sensitivity, it became evident that everyone does not appreciate such a gift. In fact, many criticized, made fun of, or even shamed you for it. Not knowing any better at first, and not wanting the world to hurt you, I tried toughening you up. Until one day, God stopped me. He reminded me that He gave you a sensitive heart for a reason, then guided me to pray He make your precious heart sensitive to His Holy Spirit. I still thank Him in awe today as I watch you, moving as an extension of God’s own tender heart toward the people in your life, softening their hardness. You see the good in others and you don’t stop drawing them out until they begin to see it, too. The teenage season proved cruel when another assaulted your life, relentlessly attempting to steal away every ounce of truth that you, your wants and dislikes, and your feelings matter. The steady breakdown of your security was painfully evident. For that savagery, I am deeply, truly sorry. It has been a hard, long fight. I see you when you’re exhausted from the length of it. I also see your resolve to continue in the fight with God for your wholeness. Katischuo. A strength that prevails. Despite fear and trembling, through the end of high school and all through college—- far from home, yet closer to Jesus - you learned to stand on your own two feet of faith. You have become deeply rooted in His love, and like a well-watered garden. The kind of garden that invites one to sit and breathe in its healing presence. My responsibility through your younger years was to nurture, protect, and empower you. Now, as you step out of college and into marriage, my role as your mama is to initiate you as a woman. Emily Grace, you ARE a woman. You are gloriously created to bring life and laughter. You are everything good and true and beautiful. You are strong. You are capable. Your secure presence invites others to rest. Your sensitive heart will draw your husband to befriend his own heart and pursue God for his healing, too. It will cause the high school students you teach to know someone sees their plight in this increasingly difficult world. It will one day show your own children the way to the Father’s heart. I bless you to go and build your own household. To marry and become one with the man you’ve chosen. I will always be here, cheering you on, but I will not be in your way. I release you to continue becoming, apart from me. I am fully confident in you. And in the God who entrusted your tiny but mighty self to my care and nurturing these 22 years. I love you with my whole being. Forever and always. Love, Mama P.S. As your life unfolds, when this world and the enemy try to strip you down with cruelty, remember, you are clothed with strength and dignity. Let your laughter rise until the sound of it convinces your heart and the hearts of those around you that the days to come in the Kingdom of God will be good again. “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.” (Proverbs 31:25)