Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Letter to a Daughter

A walk in the park with Jane when Oliver was a baby

Whilst awaiting the birth of our Granddaughter tomorrow, coupled with our daughter’s 10th wedding anniversary on Friday, I got to thinking about the first time Janie left home to go to university almost 20 years ago.

It was a time when both she and I had to step out in faith and trust God in a new situation. Having been offered 3 different degree courses Janie’s acceptance of the course she decided to follow ended up being a last minute decision which meant that there were no campus facilities left, no places left in halls of residence, YMCA fully booked and all approved accommodation taken. It left her renting a room on her own in a strange house with an anorexic landlady some distance from her college.

I cried all the way home when leaving her and the next morning had a desperate phone call from Janie as she felt paralyzed at the thought of having to make her way across a strange town in order to register in college. Having spent time on the phone I felt pressed to write her a letter which I still have a copy of.

Having read a number of blogs where Mum’s are finding themselves in a similar hard place I thought I would reproduce some of that letter here in the hope of encouraging you because almost 20 years later Janie is an independent lady and very successful in her field, in a happy marriage, with a bright adorable son and about to produce a daughter in a few hours.

“I guess that by now you will have taken that step of faith and made your way to college to register. When you phoned it would have been the easiest thing in the world to have gone and picked you up and brought you home but the way for you to grow and know the reality of Christ in your life is to stay and faith it out minute by minute.

I have been so tempted to think that you were in the wrong accommodation, but I know that God does not get things wrong. He always has us in the place that is best for us at any given time and He wants you to grow in Him, grow in faith and face life with all it’s pain head on.

God promised us victory, He promised us abundant life, but He never promised us an easy life. What He did say is ‘My yoke is easy and my burden is light, take my yoke upon you and learn of me’. He does not mean for you to try and do it in your own strength but this is your training ground to learn to trust and rely on Him. Not only are you going to learn to reach your full potential academically; you are also going to learn what it is to reach your full potential in Christ. The Bible tells us that ‘As He is in this world, so are we.’ That is not a light thing. Jesus is going to be the miracle in and through you.

It is not going to be easy. It will be hard initially as you learn to live above those overwhelming feelings that feel as though they are swamping you to death at the moment. They will not swamp you and as you said yourself on the phone, you know that you are not your feelings and it is only the enemy who endeavors to have us believe that we are. As you recognize The Holy Spirit joined to your spirit you can by faith believe that He will get you through. For a long time you have had the faith for this time in your life and now you are going to experience what it means to walk that faith out. That means you will do your part by faithing out at sheer gut level the next step. Don’t concern yourself with how tomorrow is going to be or even tonight, just trust God moment by moment.

I’m walking this out with you too. It means another change and more growing in my life as I learn to let go of my youngest child and let God take you on as He wishes. In my feelings, which also seem overwhelming at times, I want to protect you from the pain involved, but if I did that, I would also be crushing the life out of you. I have done all I know to do to bring you this far, and now God is taking you on to fashion you as He sees fit. He knows what each of us needs to bring us to maturity in Christ, so we have to say that you are in the best possible place right now, even though it does not look like it nor feel it.

Don’t deny your feelings, that’s not healthy either. Feel free to feel them, but then use them as a springboard to faith and take the next step. The reality is that you are complete in Christ and only the enemy would have you see yourself as anything less than that. Gods is working everything together for good in the end.”

Jane stayed and saw it through for her first term and eventually was able to share a house with college friends.


Susan said...

What sage advise you were able to give your beloved daughter. She was, and is, blessed, Barbara, to have a mom that walks in faith.

Thanks for sharing a very intimate writing and moment in your lives.

Deanna said...

Hello Barbara!
Thank you for leaving a comment on my site. I did indeed get some pictures posted! My sweet daughter walked me thru how to post pictures and I am one happy momma.

Barbara, I am so glad that I came across your blog. I really like what you have said about Christianity being a life lived dependent on the reality of Christ within.

I look forward to reading more about your life that you have printed in the MY STORY part of your blog. I breezed thru your pics and think this will be very special to read what you have been through.

God's richest blessings to you,
Deanna from the Kansas Flinthills

Sue said...

I am SO glad I read this blog post! My only child is my daughter. She is 22 and living on her own in her college town about 2 1/2 hours away. I REALLY needed to read this today, as she is facing some health issues. That is hard enough, but the fact that she is so far away is the hardest, I think. THANK YOU for this post. I really needed to be reminded that God IS in control, even though we may not "feel" like He is!

What a wonderful Mother you are to your children. I can only pray that I "instructed her in the way she should go" sufficiently when she was young.

Thanks again, and God Bless!

nikkipolani said...

Such a wise and wonderful letter, Barbara. Thank you for sharing it with us. How often we would rather be rescued than exercise our faith.

Bernideen's Tea Time Blog said...

Barbara: This is thetype of "place we all arrive at" at points in our lives. Maybe itnever goes away until we leave this present body but with each maturing level we pass through we are better prepared for the next.
Great Post!

Patsy said...

What a lovely letter. So glad you have it to share now after all these years.

Andrea said...

What a wonderful mother you are! I could sense your love, care, and wisdom as I read. Truly all the details of our lives are in God's hands. I praise God with you for your wonderful family.



nanatrish said...

So much wisdom. She is blessed to have sucha sweet loving mother. I also have a daughter that has grown up and has made me so proud. She has done a great job with her daughter and all those challenges were also about twenty years ago. I pray it all goes well with the new little baby. I can't wait to see the pictures. A new baby is so exciting.

a woman who is said...

Oh I just know I am going to have this same kind of pep talk sooner or later with Jenna Dear. I just love your heart felt wisdom and encouragement for your dear Janie.

Hoping to hear soon news about the new little one!

Anonymous said...

That was very good advice Barbara. It is such big step of adjustment for everyone and a big leap of trust and faith.

Vee said...

Your advice must have meant so much to Janie then and it must mean so much to her today. It even works for me as I was in much need of reading this letter last night when I sneaked in.

Thinking of you all today!

Elizabethd said...

What a wonderfully understanding letter you wrote. I'm sure it meant so much to your daughter.

Maxine said...

Reading this letter was a blessing; it was so well written. I know just how these moments are.

If I'm understanding you correctly, you're having a granddaughter born today? If that's the case, you're not going to be reading blogs much today, but I came to tell you that you are the winner of our giveaway! I'll send you an email as well, but when you can, please send me your address. Congrats on being the winner!

Looking forward to getting to know you better!

Needled Mom said...

What a beautiful letter, Barbara. I hope that she appreciated it as much as we did.

I am sure that the wee one must be here by now and that you are all enjoying some baby snuggles.

Nana Trish is Living the Dream said...

I can't wait to read about and see pictures of that little cutie!!

java girl said...

Hello Barbara,

My mom has been talking about your blog and I just thought that today would be a lovely day to stop by and *meet* you.

What a lovely psot this is! I have to say that it spoke to my tired little heart. To live it out moment by moment with Christ and to know that we weren't promised that life would be easy. In my nearly thirty year old brain I'm learning that I thought life would be a lovely peice of cake. :O)

Again, I loved your post and now I'm off to read more of your blog!

Adrienne said...

What a beautiful letter from the heart of a Godly mother to a daughter whose heart she holds close to her own! I remember so well many of the same thoughts and feelings when our son went to college a few hours from home, in a strange and different city. The desire to go get him and 'rescue' him from life outside of our home was intense at times but today he is such a strong and Godly young man, a father of three precious boys and in ministry that just amazes us as we watch God work through him. Oh how our sons and daughters need us to be strong and help them grow. We never stop being a mother, do we. We're always praying and loving and advising when the time is right. Thank you for sharing this from your heart with us. It means much to me. ~Adrienne~

Paula said...

Oh, thank you for posting the letter to Jane. Just what I needed to be reminded of. That HIS yoke is light. I have been feeling weighed down lately.