I wrote this quick note to Bill: “So blah today. This is the part that makes me feel like things will never get better. And that’s just it. Things won’t til Jesus comes back. So how do I make it until then with hope and joy?”
After three other lengthy and encouraging emails speaking truth, this was a fourth he wrote as though it was a letter from God to me:
“My child, my daughter, I made you and I know you and I love you. I know you hurt and struggle. I know you are crushed by the darkness around you. I know your life is not the life you planned for yourself nor the life you would’ve picked. But it’s the life I’ve given you because I love you. And you’re weak. Oh so weak. I know. I feel your weakness. My own son knew that weakness, too. And I shared that weakness along with him, just as I do with you. I’ve never left you, even on your darkest days. And I never will, no matter what. You are mine. You always have been and always will be.
“But I am jealous for you. Jealous for you to truly believe deep in your heart that everything that has happened to you, all of the things I’ve allowed to happen, all of the things I’ve orchestrated—all of them were for your good. And the pain and the weakness and the loneliness and the darkness, it’s for your good. Because you need me now more than ever before. You thought you knew me when you were younger—ha! You knew the edge of my pinky toe! But there’s more to know, there’s more to see, there’s more glory to find. Infinitely more. And I want to show it to you, to give you more of myself, to let you experience the joy of your master. But it’s hard for you, because as you’ve known me more, you’ve known more sorrow and darkness and sin than you ever knew before. Those things are distractions, shrouds that keep you from looking at me with the young eyes of faith. You have older eyes of faith now and they’ve been blurred by the worries of the world and the battles of the flesh. But I can heal eyes. I’ve done it before.
“Don’t be afraid. I am with you, all the time. I’m your daddy. And I’m letting you toddle along, watching you stumble and fall. But I want you to get up and try again. And again and again and again. I’m right here with you, ready to catch you, ready to help you. But I also want you to grow. And part of growing is learning the new steps, the new way of walking. And I’m teaching it to you, because I want you to walk on your own. But bumps and bruises always go with learning. I can heal those, too.
“I want you to remember something: I gave you that womb and those eggs. I gave you that husband. I gave you those children. I want you to know the love of a mom for her children, that wants to comfort them in their worry and hurt and fear. Because I have that same love for all of my children. I have that same love for you. I want you to know what it’s like to love someone else that way because I want you to know that you are loved that way. And yes, I’m still loving you even when you turn from me, when you chase after other things, when you fight for independence from me. It doesn’t please me. But I chuckle at it, too, because I know you’re struggling on the path toward maturity. It’s a long path, but I made the path and the footing is sure. And I can chuckle even when I’m displeased and I have to discipline you because my love is far bigger than your disobedience. There’s nothing you can do to change that.
“I gave you that house. I had it built 100 years ago in preparation for you. I had it ruined and burned for you. And I had it rebuilt and restored for you. I want you there. I also brought all of your neighbors, the black ones and the white ones, the poor ones and the rich ones. I knit this tapestry and I’m looking right at you in the midst of it. I know you love my creation—the trees and the hills and the birds and the sky and the rocks and the rivers. I did make all of those things and it fills my heart with delight to see your joy in them. But they don’t bear my image, they don’t carry my glory. But all those people who live around you, who drive around you, who are loud and different and scary to you—I made them, too. And I put them around you, because they’re in a deeper darkness than you have ever known. And the glory I gave them, the glory I gave all mankind, is more radiant than anything you’ll see in a mountain or a valley or a stream or a storm. Rejoice that you are surrounded by my creation. And let your light shine before them, because they need to see that light. There is much darkness there, much death and sin and decay. It’s as ugly to me as it is to you. Uglier, even, because I know fully what could be. But I love transforming ugliness into beauty. And I love letting my children help me in the kitchen to get my work done. I want you to help me, too. It’ll be hard, but you’ll never be alone. You’ll be doing my work and I will not forsake you.
“My daughter, you are mine. Nothing will change that. I want good for you, more good than you could ever ask for or even imagine. But it’s a joy that comes in trusting my methods and my ways, not a joy that can be bought or fashioned or found somewhere else. You are my daughter. I am your dad. Nothing will change that. Nothing will stop my love. Besides, your brother is right here with me, constantly pleading with me on your behalf. He is right now. I am doing everything for you, for your good. I always will.
“I love you.”