Dear Ella (not sure when I’ll let you read this…but it’s on my heart tonight).
You know my favorite thing about this Kindergarten year has been? To watch you learn so many new things about God and bust in the door with pure joy to tell me about it. Your newfound thirst and excitement around knowing what’s in the Bible has rubbed off on me. I pray this thirst never dies.
As you grow, through these years – I imagine you will continue to believe in God and be involved in church because that is what you know and it is important to our family. At some point, middle school or high school or college – you’re going to rethink the entire thing. And I hope you do. I hope you explore it for yourself just like I did. I want you to always follow Jesus because your heart is drawn that way – not because you are fearful of anything we would do or God might do.
There is a tension with being a Christian. We believe the Bible is real and that Jesus really did walk on the earth and he really did die on the cross and he really did come back to life. Our belief in him is the reason we get to be with our grandparents and those we love in eternity. There is tension for two reasons.
First, many people you meet will not agree with this viewpoint. Secondly, as you do stand strong in your belief of Jesus– it gives off this feeling of “superiority.” That we think we are better than others, which is just not the case. Many Christians I know would much rather put others before themselves any day. Not all – but many.
It is also true that many folks don’t want near the church because of church people. I want our family to be the ones that never judge or condemn – but lift up, serve, encourage and love. I want us to be inclusive. I want us to shock our city with kindness not for our glory but because we believe that’s what God would do for his neighbors.
So many people leave the church as teens and adults because of the FEAR driven into them over time. (Or, they see no real relevance or need for it.) There are certainly some commandments and principles God share in the Bible to protect us – but nothing compares to the joy of following Him. I discovered this later and it is my mission as a mother to show this joy. There is JOY found in doing the right thing. When you felt “generosity” for the first time – you got it. When you feel “kindness,” I see your heart smile. We are meant to make wise choices and love others.
I’d rather spend my time as your mother, showing you the pure delight of following Jesus than scaring you daily about the consequences. It’s not just a fairytale – I have real live stories of God’s work in our lives to tell you about. You’ve been a part of them. I want you to know and feel that you are uniquely made. I want you to know and feel without a doubt that you have a purpose for your life. I want you to be equipped to comfort and pray with friends that are going through their very worst – not just your Christian friends – every friend. I want you to realize when you are giving of your time and energy – it is the most joyful thing for your soul.
I want to open your eyes to the pure goodness found all through the Bible. He is not scary and fearful. He is loving, caring, forgiving and comforting. He has so much to say about your life.
In a world around you that is so very uncertain – you can be certain of this. God created the world, He created you, the Bible is real – and your parents will love you always and forever no matter what.
I pray you will gain maturity early enough to see that the “rules” aren’t to keep you from fun – they are guarding your heart from great hurt and regrets. The Bible is thousands of years old – yet extremely practical for living life today.
Ella, just today – I watched God use our family with a complete stranger. He has created you for something so special Ella – and the same goes for every one of your friends. I cannot wait to watch your story unfold.
Also, the way you sing songs in praise to Him every day makes me smile so big. You know what else? It makes God smile big! You are honoring the creator of the earth and it’s so very beautiful my girl.
Always & Forever,