My three little loves,
Last night we finished reading the kids’ version of “Hinds’ Feet on High Places”. You are all so young, and I don’t know if you will remember this story as you grow older, but I do pray that a seed has been planted in your hearts for the things that we discovered each night before you dozed off to sleep.
You are too young now to fully understand some of the things that we read about trails and hardships; and as a mom, I want to protect you from things that may cause you harm and grief. I don’t want you to have to suffer, to face things in life that cause you to weep and bring you sorrow. Yet, as I’ve grown older, I know that pain and heartache are unavoidable; they are simply a part of life.
You saw me cry multiple times as we read through this story. And in your innocence, you hopped off your beds and embraced me with hugs and kisses. You didn’t know why mommy was crying, but you wanted to comfort me and make me feel better. You didn’t know that my tears were not ones of sadness, but ones of being overwhelmed by Christ’s love. Because although the past few years have been so very hard, God has been abundantly good.
My goal is not to shelter you from hard things. Instead, I want to raise you to see suffering and sorrow as your companions on this journey in life. I know all too well the sharp pain of what holding the hands of suffering and sorrow feel like. And yet, in time, you will begin to understand that they are not things to harm you, but you will begin to understand their purpose in your life and will instead see them as joy and peace.
I want you to learn that during times when you feel as though you are walking through an empty desert and are alone, that you are not abandoned or being punished. Even though it may seem to be leading you away from the things that have been promised, God will be with you and you can trust Him completely. It is during these times when you are being refined, molded and shaped into more of the image of Christ. Do not turn your back on God. Do not succumb to the lies of your enemies. Instead, settle in your heart to view these hardships with joyful acceptance. Whatever the Lord brings you through, lay down your desires and do it with acceptance with joy.
There are a lot of awful and hurtful things that you’ll experience in life. Don’t be defeated by them or allow them to make you bitter, resentful, prideful, fearful or have self-pity. No matter how you are hurt or mistreated, you must choose to forgive. With forgiveness comes the power to bring good out of the things that were meant for evil.
When you stumble and fall, because we all do, know that God doesn’t see you as you are now, but when He looks as you, He sees who you will become. He does not see you as broken or a messed-up failure. He sees you as royalty in His kingdom. He has called you by name, you belong to Him.
And once your heart has changed, always remember you have a responsibility to let other people know of the transformation that has occurred in your life. You must not hide the work that God has done in your life. You must tell other people about it, so that they too can experience this same power that is at work in your life. You must tell your story, so that others will know of His goodness.
I love you. I hope I can be a good example to you of staying the course with perseverance and endurance. That you’ll see how I have come to embrace sorrow and suffering as my companions and accept the trials in my life with joyful acceptance. Even though you may see me struggle, you will never see me give up or give in. Even though I may be mistreated, you’ll see the power of forgiveness working in my life. Even though I will fail and mess up, you’ll witness God’s unconditional love molding and shaping me. And that no matter the cost, you’ll see me telling my story so that others will know of His glory and grace.