I struggle with forcing myself to do mundane tasks that require little to no thought. Cleaning house can very much be that for me. In the absence of required thought or focus, my mind is painfully consumed by the void of Sarah’s absence, my desperate longing for her, countless wishes and regrets, and staggering aloneness, all of which eventually culminate in a tidal wave of grief. This was my plight last Saturday. I had fallen behind on cleaning, and the dreary rainy day left me with no excuse to put it off any longer. Scott graciously started on one end of the house, and I on the other.
After several hours of cleaning, Scott came in the kitchen and wrapped me in an unsolicited hug causing the tidal wave of grief to cascade from my heart, to my eyes, to his shoulder. He had already felt the impact of the wave as well, the inability to think of anything except our desperate longing for Sarah. In a way it is comforting to experience it together, but in another way it amplifies the pain. I don’t want his heart to hurt like mine, and I am pained that it does. We comforted one another briefly then pressed on with cleaning. An hour or so later Sophie came in the kitchen with three little pink envelopes in hand. She said, “I found some letters that Sarah wrote to herself.” They were tucked away behind a book in her bookcase. I have no idea how we missed them when we went through her bookcase earlier, but I’m thankful we did.
Sophie opened the first envelope, and said to me, “Oh, they are to you!” My heart leapt and sank simultaneously. Immediately the tears welled so deep I was unable to see. After they spilled over enough to focus, I read the first letter. I heard Sarah’s voice speaking each word as I read, what a precious treasure to hear her sweet voice speaking new sentences, even if only in my mind.
I wanted to write these letters for you so that you could be encouraged anytime that you want and know that I love you. I know that there’s not much wisdom that I can give to you, but I thought that you might be encouraged in knowing that when you’ve been teaching us that I was listening to you and most of everything that I know, I learned from you and Daddy. I love you!
From the dates on the cards and the first envelope, it was clear what had happened. She had intended to create a set of encouragement letters to give me for Christmas that year, hence the “Open Dec 25, 2015” on the first one. The other two envelopes say “open if…” followed by the type of encouragement to be offered inside. All three cards were dated November 25th, 2015, except one that had the addendum, “technically the 26th. It’s 12:02 AM.” I miss that quirky sense of humor so much. Much like her mother, she got distracted and never finished the set. I now vaguely remember her referencing an unfinished gift, but had long since forgotten. I’m so thankful for its delayed delivery, though.
When I look at these letters I am overwhelmed and encouraged by my precious daughter’s love for me. But even more than that, they are a testimony of my precious Heavenly Father’s love and tender mercy for me. I know beyond any shadow of doubt that He divinely prompted her tender heart to write these priceless letters to me that day, over two years ago, “so that I could be encouraged anytime that I want and know that she loves me.” I also believe He was the prompter of both their being hidden away, and their discovery and delivery to me in His perfect timing. Just as He sent manna to the Israelites in the wilderness, and ravens to feed Elijah at the brook, so also He has faithfully sent daily provisions of grace and mercy to strengthen me for this journey.
So, with fresh encouragement from the truths of His Word delivered by sweet Sarah, and echoing in my ears and heart, I am challenged anew to persevere. I will resist any and all temptation to give up, and will humbly submit to boldly testify to the truths of His Word and His faithfulness, without shame of being outspoken or fear of disapproval.
Thank you, sweet Sarah, but you were mistaken. God is using you to give me so much more wisdom than I could have given you. I love you, too… more than you can possibly know. Love, Mommy ❤
“Encourage the exhausted, and strengthen the feeble.
Say to those with anxious heart, “Take courage, fear not.
Behold, your God will come with vengeance;
The recompense of God will come,
But He will save you.
Then the eyes of the blind will be opened
And the ears of the deaf will be unstopped.
Then the lame will leap like a deer,
And the tongue of the mute will shout for joy.
For waters will break forth in the wilderness
And streams in the Arabah.
The scorched land will become a pool
And the thirsty ground springs of water;
In the haunt of jackals, its resting place,
Grass becomes reeds and rushes.
A highway will be there, a roadway,
And it will be called the Highway of Holiness.
The unclean will not travel on it,
But it will be for him who walks that way,
And fools will not wander on it.
No lion will be there,
Nor will any vicious beast go up on it;
These will not be found there.
But the redeemed will walk there,
And the ransomed of the LORD will return
And come with joyful shouting to Zion,
With everlasting joy upon their heads.
They will find gladness and joy,
And sorrow and sighing will flee away.”
Isaiah 35:3-10 [NASB]