My Dear Daughters,
I hope these letters will be reminders to you of the truth of who you are.
I hope the important things in life will be more unmistakable to you.
I hope you will find encouragement for your heart and your mind.
I hope whenever you have times of loneliness or confusion you can pull these words out and be prompted to go to the Word and saturate yourself in God's Truth.
I hope you will always know our great love for you that only rests on you being our daughters and not on anything you do.
I hope the simple admonitions in these will be of help to you and save you from wandering and indulging in futile things.
I hope you know that no matter what happens in life God is good.
I hope these will bring to mind the sweet whimsy and cheerful delight of the way you lived in your young days and encourage you to always live like that.
I hope you can take comfort in knowing we are just like you, in desperate need of Jesus and constantly needing to seek forgiveness, and we understand your fears and desires and worries and hurts.
I hope you know we are a safe place for you to come and together we will bring all of us with all our stuff to the Lord with confidence that He hears, sees, knows, and cares.
I hope our gratitude to the Lord for making us a family is always evident to you.
I hope Jesus becomes your greatest treasure and your constant joy.
Love You Forever,
My greatest desire and constant prayer is that you will trust Jesus early on in life and follow hard after Him all your days, that you will love and trust and obey Him, that you will love Him and His Word and His ways, that you make Him known to the nations, and that your life will bring Him glory and fame.
But before that can happen, you have to know why this is so important. God created everything and lovingly created us to be in relationship with Him. God is so good and gracious, but when the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, were tempted to disbelieve God, they succumbed to it and turned from God. And so, we are all born into sin. I am a sinner; you are a sinner. And our sin, our disobedience from God, separates us from Him because God is perfect and holy, blameless and righteous.
"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."
And the punishment for sin is death. I know it sounds scary, but I have to tell you because I love you. Just hang tight with me until the end because I promise there is hope. There is good news. Great news.
"For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Sin leads to death. But God in His great mercy and love and grace made a way for us to live. He sent His Son Jesus to come and dwell with us. Jesus, being mysteriously and miraculously fully God and fully man, lived the perfect life and then died on the cross where He took on Himself the full wrath of God for all of our sins.
"But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
"For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."
Jesus died on our behalf. And then three days later He rose from the dead, conquering sin and death. He later ascended into heaven where He intercedes on our behalf and awaits His time to come again and bring His Bride, the Church, His followers, home with Him.
"For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures."
So the only way to heaven, the only way to God, is to repent of your sins and believe that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior. We have the choice to believe what God has said about Himself and about us and trust in Jesus and spend eternity with Him in heaven, or reject Him and all He has said and spend eternity apart from Him in hell. Once we turn from our sin and trust Him as Lord and Savior, we are forever free from condemnation and there is absolutely nothing that can separate us from the love of God or His presence with us.
"But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."
"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."
This great message, the gospel, is the most important thing you will ever hear. It will shape your earthly life and your eternal future. It is what gives life purpose and meaning, joy and hope. We are able to persevere through this life because Jesus has gone before us, strengthens us, remains with us with His Holy Spirit, and has gone ahead of us to prepare a place for us with Him. This gospel message is one of grace. You can't earn God's love or earn salvation. It is a gift; it is His grace. We simply must accept it by faith.
I pray that you fix your eyes on Jesus and hold fast to Him. I pray that God draws you near to Him and that you taste His goodness. I pray you know your need for a Savior and humbly submit to the lordship of Christ. Nothing else matters except for what is done for Jesus. Following Him is indeed costly, but not nearly as costly as rejecting Him. And it is so worth it. So very worth it.
Praying To Be Your Sister In Christ,
God created the world and every single unique person in it. So any chance you get, travel and experience other cultures. Celebrate diversity. Appreciate the differences found down the street and across the globe. Worship with the Church in other cultures and countries. Look at creation and be in awe of the Creator. There is an abundance of beauty around the world and so very much to learn.
And if you aren't able to physically travel far for whatever reason, get to know the people in your city. The Lord is so graciously bringing the nations to us. Dedicate time to building relationships and engaging in life with your neighbors. Read to expand your mind on what the rest of the world is like. Learn about other cultures and from other cultures. Listen to how life is experienced by those who are different than you.
The more you get out of your own life experiences and see how others live, the more grateful and compassionate and joyful and content you will be. Be willing to embrace differences and be uncomfortable; it is a great gift to be stretched outside of yourself in order to love well and learn much. You will grow in maturity, in faith, and in wisdom as you travel the world.
A Lover Of Traveling,
People will try to convince you there is no absolute truth. But in fact there is truth. It is found in the Bible, the Word of God. The gospel is complete foolishness to people who don't believe. So it makes sense that they would try to tell you truth is relative. But when God graciously opens the eyes of one's heart to the truth of the Word, the hardened heart is melted, the dead heart begins beating, the bleak heart is restored with hope.
There are so many reasons to believe the Bible is true and trustworthy. I won't go into historical or academic details here, but I pray you quickly hold fast to the Word of God. The Spirit Himself testifies it is true. The Word of God is living and active; it is powerful; it can show someone truth when he or she was once blind to it. It is reliable in its documentation and there are plenty of manuscripts that validate it. Jesus' fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies is completely miraculous, undeniably supernatural, and altogether convincing. The writers accounts are harmonious and the message of redemption is consistent. The evidence for the Bible is overwhelming. But more importantly, the God of the Bible is unlike any other god of any other religion. And His Word reveals who He is to us.
So search the Scriptures. Thoroughly read them for yourself. Study them. Cling to Truth. Hold fast to it. Hide it in your heart. There will be times when it offends people and times when others will justify diverting from it, but if you know the heart of God and the message of the gospel, you can stand firm in the love and grace and mercy of Jesus and the truth of His Word, and you can pray for hardened hearts to soften to the Truth. True life and true freedom are found in the Word of God.
Earnestly Praying For You To Love The Word,
"So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, 'If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free."
Pain and suffering are realities in this sinful, broken world. I cringe at the thought of you facing any sort of pain, but I know it will happen. Suffering is just inevitable while we linger here on earth.
People will tell you that time heals all wounds or some cliche like that. But the truth is, while there is an element of time involved in the healing process, Jesus brings true healing. Healing comes from the One who endured the greatest suffering, the One who was completely perfect and completely good and laid down His own life on the cross for us. The One who bled for you is ready to receive you and all your brokenness, all your pain, all your suffering.
You are never alone in your pain. Jesus sees, knows, understands. And the people around you carry all sorts of, sometimes hidden, pain.
And know that sometimes healing doesn't happen this side of eternity, or at least in the ways we wish, but Jesus will be with you through it all. And His presence provides hope and joy, peace and comfort. Beauty and grace can abound in the midst of the pain, and sometimes in ways that can't happen without the pain.
So be quick to take your pain to Jesus. He is the ultimate Healer.
Healed By Him,
"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds."
Change happens. It is inevitable. Some people face a lot of change throughout life and others face little. But we all face it. Change definitely isn't easy, but it can be embraced.
We go through seasons in life. And each season molds us and grows us and shapes us and teaches us in different ways. So when you are able to step back and see the bigger picture, you can look at whatever change you have to walk through and know it can be used to make you a better person. When we have to adapt to new surroundings, new people, new circumstances, we grow in maturity, in empathy, in wisdom. Having the ability to adapt well is such a wonderful thing.
Getting the chance to experience new things, meet new people, and encounter new places is a gift. It might not always seem like it, but there is so much grace in the change that happens in life. Some change is harder than others, but it all can be used for our good and for God's glory.
So as you journey through life, embrace change. Appreciate each season. And when it's time to transition into a new season, you have freedom to grieve the old one. And then after grieving, step into the new season with a grateful and expectant heart, ready to receive what is waiting for you. You can embrace change knowing God is sovereign over all and through it all.
Always Reminding Myself Of This,
Every day there is something you do that puts a smile on our face and in our hearts. Whether it is how you discover new things or the way you communicate or just watching your personalities develop, you make us proud.
It is a joy, privilege, and honor to be your parents. The Lord entrusting you to us is the greatest gift, grace, and responsibility. It is not something we take for granted or take lightly at all. This time with you under our care is special and sacred. And as we watch you grow in each of the little sacred moments that make up our days and nights together, we swell with pride.
We want to always acknowledge who you are and what you do, and make sure you know that you make us proud. We love watching you play and imagine, work and create. We love the way you care for others and the way you love your family. How you figure things out and how you express your feelings are so great. You are smart; you are compassionate; you are funny. And in all these ways you make us proud. We are so glad for everything that makes you you.
You make us proud simply because you are you.
Proud Of You Always,
As you grow older, you will make many different friends. Some will be in your life for a season and others will walk with you through life. Both will impact the person you become. But no matter how long a friendship lasts, be intentional about being the kind of friend to others that you want to have.
Carry the qualities you want in a friend. It won't always be reciprocated, but it will be appreciated. And there's always something you can learn from every friendship you have. Friends will encourage you and challenge you, support you and grow you.
"Iron sharpens iron,
Invest in friendships. Build solid community. Really get to know people. And let others really get to know you. It's hard; it takes time. But it's so worth it. Some seasons of life might be lonelier than others, but still choose to be a good friend to those around you. You never know the difference you will make in a person's life. And you'll grow in maturity as you love people well.
So think about how you want to be treated, think about the kind of friend that you want to have. And then do that, be that. Your life will be richer and fuller and you'll make others' lives richer and fuller. It will be beautiful.
Learning To Be A Good Friend,
"A friend loves at all times,
It is so easy to fall into the comparison trap. You can look around and quickly believe you don't have enough. In our culture, attaining more is valued. You will be inundated with advertisements trying to convince you to buy a certain product. People who live in the spotlight will glamorize the many things they own. People around you might unknowingly make you feel like you need more.
But there is an antidote to it all. Live simply, be grateful, and give generously.
The truth is, you are among the wealthiest people to ever live. Even in what might seem like the little we have, we are still among the top 2% of the wealthiest people in the world. You have a God who has graciously allowed you to be born where you were and has graciously given you so many gifts and comforts and luxuries. We've been given so much grace in order to be grace to others. There are people down the street and around the world who are desperately lacking. And we can give abundantly and generously.
Don't believe the lie that you have to have more in order to be able to give. Generosity is a reflection of the heart. Be willing to give your stuff away knowing it is all temporal and that God loves a cheerful giver. Your life will be better for it.
Striving To Live Simpler,
"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
There is meaning to life; and there is meaning to your life. You were intentionally created, for this time, in this place, with your unique gifts and passions and talents and abilities and dreams.
You are the only you that will ever exist. So live out your days confidently and creatively with that in mind.
You have distinct purpose to point to the divine in the way only you can. You have the opportunity to impact the world for the glory of God. There is no greater purpose.
It's a simple message. But it influences everything.
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