I usually take this time to write a letter to my dear husband. But when I read the prompt, you immediately popped into my head like popcorn, your faces bouncing up and down my mind's eye, cherishing each of your unique and individual selves.
I cherish you girls more than you could possibly know; some of you have raised me, it seems. I can remember four years ago when we started spending time together, you sitting at my dining room table, me making tea nervously, unsure how to hold a conversation with you, how to make you like me; you and I sitting at coffee tables and going on walks and talking about Jesus but also about sports and theater and boys and all of the things 6th and 7th graders talk about.
Now you girls are mostly in the second half of high school. We have added more middle school minions, but there are a few of you that come to mind when I think of my early years of dipping my toes into a life of ministry. It was like kids raising kids. That is what it looks like in my memory. We were raising one another, you and me; you forcing me to run to Jesus and ask Him how in the world am I supposed to lead you closer to Him. You teaching me grace and patience and acceptance, when the world said I was an idiot to not finish my Bachelor's degree, to marry young, to spend my life learning and serving and being served by you and your preciousness.
You are so strong.
Even when you look in the mirror, feeling weak and feeble, fickle and unable, tired and broken and defeated and all of the things opposite of strong... you are strong. Sometimes being strong doesn't look like strong.
In your beauty, there is strength. There is strength in your eyes that can pierce or soften, accept or reject, love or hate. In your hands there is strength that can help, heal, serve, or hurt, abuse, injure. There is strength in your body that you can use purely, saving your intimate creases and crevices, the precious parts of you; but you can also use it for the world's advantage, revealing all of your precious parts, falling into the trap that your worth comes from your body.
In your will, there is strength. There is strength in your self-will, when you choose to be patient and kind, to be selfless and sacrificial, to be loving and and not boastful. There is strength when you choose to worship Him and give Him thanks, even as a sacrifice.
In your words, there is strength. Strength that can heal or hurt, celebrate or mourn, cry or praise.
But your greatest strength?
Your greatest strength is Him; the One who has given you all of the other strengths. In Him you find the strength to use your beauty and your will, your heart and your mind, your actions and your words, all of what makes you You, to glorify Him. To grow, to love, to serve, to nurture, to bless, to keep on going when keeping on seems impossible. While you fall in love with Him and learn more about Him and study Him and know Him, your strength increases more than is possible without Him.
I promise you, He is your greatest strength. I give you my word, He is worth chasing. He is worth finding and fighting for and pursuing and seeking, even when time squeezes itself out of your life like go-gurt out of its plastic: too quick for anyones liking.
Your greatest strength is and always will be Jesus, who can walk you through the wildest waves of pain and the extravagant gifts of grace.
You are so strong.
- - -
This letter is part of The Letter Link-Up. They are written to remember mundane moments that would otherwise slip away, to hold tight to now, and to remember how life looks right now at this very moment with the chance to shed light on your heart. Visit Mr Thomas and Me, host of The Letter Link-Up.