READER SPOTLIGHT – Jody Noland
Reader Spotlight is one of my favorite series here on Lil Light O’ Mine. It’s a chance for me to spotlight the readers that come here so often – that write! My regular contributors are dear friends, but there are mounds of awesome moms out there – stories, insights, ideas and tales that need to be told. This encouragement is one of them. I have been so touched by Jody’s ministry. – Courtney
Writing Words that Matter Forever
by Jody Noland
Maybe it came from becoming a mom later in life. (At the ripe old age of 36) But thankfully, I understood from the very beginning that motherhood was really about stewardship. I knew that my precious daughter was not “mine,” but a gift on loan from God. She was just entrusted to my care.
As I laid my daughter in her crib for the first time, I offered Hannah’s prayer from 1 Samuel 1:27-28: “I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give her back to the Lord.”
Grasping that truth has guided me for the last 22 years. Yes, there have been times when I wondered if I meant it. (Such as when she felt called to take a semester off from college to serve at an orphanage in Uganda)
Seeing motherhood as a form of stewardship also made me much more intentional. My antennae were always up for creative ways to encourage her roots and wings to grow. (Oh, for the ABC Scripture Cards in the 90’s!)
The importance of being intentional is probably why, almost 20 years ago, I was deeply moved by a dear friend about to have surgery for a brain tumor. My husband and I had gone to wish him well at the hospital. As we wove through the maze of friends to his bedside, I heard the intensity in his voice as he asked his wife:
“Did you bring paper and pen?”
I wondered what he needed to write. He was an organized, financially savvy guy, so I knew his will and financial affairs were undoubtedly in order. It didn’t seem appropriate to ask that night. But the next day, when I’d returned to be with his wife during the long operation, my inquiring mind had to know. Her answer stopped me in my tracks: “He wanted to write letters to each of our 3 children in case he doesn’t survive today’s surgery.” Wow. Talk about intentional parenting!
Sadly, our friend lived only nine months after the surgery. But I couldn’t stop thinking about those beautiful letters to his children. I’d tell friends about this father’s loving act, hoping to motivate them by saying: “Don’t you think this is something we should all do for our children?”
The consistent response was “Yes, it’s a great idea, but I wouldn’t know where to start.” Or “Yes, but I’m not a letter writer.” So I kept thinking of simple ways to help people write meaningful letters.
What resulted is a step-by-step guide called Leave Nothing Unsaid as well as workshops to lead people through the letter writing process. My focus is on helping people identify and affirm the qualities in loved ones that are so unique and special.
A wise woman once told me “when you’re inside the jar, you can’t read the label.” As our children grow, they’re more and more vulnerable to the deadly trap of comparison. We may see attributes in them that they can’t see. How wonderful for our children to have something from us in writing to read and re-read that reminds them that they are loved and that they have unique gifts and abilities.
The positive impact of affirming letters doesn’t just apply to our children. Affirmation rehydrates everyone: grandparents, our spouse, siblings and friends. And when you put this encouragement in letter form, you are writing words that matter forever.
Please be intentional about writing letters to the people who matter most in your life. You’ll never regret creating these lasting gifts that grow even more meaningful with time.
And if you need some extra inspiration, take four minutes and watch this beautiful story done recently by NBC! (Tissue alert!)
Thank you Jody! I have to say, I get contacted quite often now about folks that want to partner or share their product or write on this blog – and Jody was a definite yes. Her heart for families and her love for Christ flows through this incredible product. She sent it my way and it is so well done. I haven’t started our letters yet – but I fully intend to work with Ron on our next date night or overnight date night to write these for our girls. And, then write some more for our parents and more. LEAVE.NOTHING.UNSAID.
Be sure to also pop over to Blessed By Brenna today – my sweet friend Courtney is sharing about her take on In This House, We Will Giggle.
Do you have letters like this?
Or wish you had letters like this?
As an English major and comms officer in my previous life I love all this. My blog is literally just a family journal that we print off every year into books we plan to give to the kids when they grow up but let the grandparents have a copy each till then. Every year on their birthday we write them a letter about the way God is growing them but now the eldest can read by himself this post has encouraged me to print it off and let him read it now as well as looking back in years to come. Or maybe letters in their Christmas stockings…. Thanks for another no pressure no guilt inspiration!
Love this,Sarah! I’be been writing my daughter letters on her birthday throughout her life about how I have seen God working in her life. For the longest time, I just tucked them in a file. Then, when she was about to turn 20, she was headed to Uganda for several months. Her 20th birthday was right after she arrived in Uganda. I had all of the letters bound and wrapped them up and stuck them in her suitcase as her bd gift. It was a great gift! And she has told me that she hopes I’ll never stop writing her those birthday letters. 🙂
Thank you for sharing Judy Nolan’s treasure “Leave Nothing Unsaid”…I just ordered the book! I can’t wait to start writing!
Thanks so much for ordering the book! I mailed it to you yesterday afternoon! Praying you will be blessed and encouraged!
I keep a journal for my husband, daughter and son. I write notes in them with varying frequency, length and depth. BUT they are there for them to be found and, hopefully, treasured.
I have also thought about making videos along the same lines.
I have heard of people doing these types of things- most often when there is a terminal illness and an acute sense of mortality. But any time is the right time because we truly do not know the number of our days.
Beautiful, Cara! You are creating priceless treasures with those journals. You’re writing words that will matter forever.