Love Letter: Grace

gracie-ballerinaMy strongest Grace,

Your love is tremendous. I love the way you adore others. I love that you are always thoughtful of me. Every time you say goodbye, you always give me a hug. For that love, thank you.

After you go off to sleep, your mom and I stay up and talk about our children—all of the hopes and dreams that we have for you kids. I love it when we get to talk about you because I love bragging on you. I love getting to witness how much you have grown physically as well as mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. In fact, your own growth has challenged my growth as well.

For all of that and so much more, I praise and thank God for you.

When I see you, I see incredible resilience. When I see you, I see strength and power. Seeing you filled with the love and strength of the Almighty God, I can fathom how the gates of hell shall not prevail against His beautiful Bride.

When I hear you, I sense that you are a leader. You are leader who able to pull her people through the thick and thin. You call for attention for those around you. You are asking that people keep their eyes on you so that they understand what you are saying. You will inspire people to do great and marvelous things.

When I am near you, I know that you would not hesitate to lay your life down for those whom you love. I see you are incredible mindful of loved ones, and continue to try to give to others so that they know what it means to be loved and to have joy. For all of your toughness, your love is super tender, sweet, kind and gentle.

These words may be too much for you to understand them now.  But the words I write right now are the things I see in your life and I write them down so that your joy may be full in Him.

Always remember, I am speaking what truths I see in your life. But never think for one moment that you always have to be strong. Even you cannot continuously bear that impossible weight of glory. However, God, who is the Almighty, can and will bear the heaviest of your burdens. When you are weak, he will be your strength. Trust in Him alone and you will never know strength like His strength. In other words, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his infinite might.

You are an amazing little girl. And I get a front row seat just to see you grow up to be an amazing, beautiful woman of God. It is my joy, honor, privilege, and blessing to know you, to love you, and to get to help grow you, all for the glory of His great name.

I love you, little girl. I love you, my strongest Grace. Forever and always.

 

From your giant step-daddy,

Jo-Jo

Love Letter: Elijah

elijah-smiling-in-stripes-times-4My sweet Elijah,

Before you were born, I would look at your beautiful, gorgeous mom and I would look  at myself and kept thinking, “What is Elijah going to look like?” Most of all, what is Elijah going to be like—as a baby, a toddler, a kid, a teenager, an adult and even an old man. I was so curious about your life and all the possibilities therein.

I know this much to be true: I loved you. I loved you so much. I had my mind made up. I had my heart turned to you. And everything that I did in my life was done so that I could have that wonderful chance of pouring out my love on you.

I love you, buddy. Do you know that? I love you and I will always love you. You can’t do anything to cause me to love you less. In fact, when I get to know you more, I love you more. And I know you more and more as the days go on. That can only mean I love you more as the days go on.

You were born in a very special time of my life. Before you were born, I didn’t know or love God. In fact, your brother, Yusef, was born when I was dead in my trespasses and at war with Him. I look back at my life as I didn’t love God, didn’t love others well, and I certainly did not love or raise your brother well.

But by God’s grace alone, He saved me. He took out my old stony, crap-filled heart and gave me his soft, tender heart. He pulled the darkness out of my mind and now, my mind truly knows Him. He called out to me in the midst of my dying and death and gave me His life.

In other words, you are the first child that God has given me since being saved by Him. Because of that, I not only see your life but your life in all of eternity. I see you clearly because God has given me eyes to see. I hear you because God has given me ears to hear. I love you because God has given me his soft, tender heart of love.

I look into your beautiful dark blue eyes and cry with joy for the good things God has done in us.

I love you, little boy. You are my baby boy. And all of God’s grace, goodness, wisdom, and strength alone, I will raise you up and see you to become a lover of God.

I love you. For now and always, I love you.

 

From your spoiling Daddy,

Joseph

A Pastor’s Promise

Having been made an overseer by the Lord Jesus Christ,
affirmed as such by His Church,
and enabled solely by His grace,

I commit to live in a manner worthy of His calling,
loving Him with all my heart, soul and mind,
always on guard for myself that I maintain a testimony that is above reproach;

I commit to preach His Word,
standing ready in season and out of season,
never shrinking to declare to you the whole counsel of God,
reproving, rebuking, and exhorting with great patience and instruction;

I commit to shepherd His flock,
whom Christ purchased with His own blood,
exercising oversight with humility, leading by example,
and equipping His saints for the work of the ministry;

I commit to be found faithful as His steward,
looking to Christ alone for both judgment and praise,
that in all things He might have the preeminence;

And by His grace,
I will very gladly spend and be spent for your souls
because He, the Chief Shepherd, spent Himself for me.
To Christ alone be the glory.

AMEN

 – Tim White, A Pastor’s Promise

ht: 9 Marks