(I first wrote down these thoughts about 10 years ago. Much water has gone under my bridge since then. I still mean every word. He is faithful!)
Dear daughters, in the flesh and in the faith,
I am very proud to call you daughters. I am unworthy in every way to call you daughters, as every single day I learn so much from your dedication to the large tasks that lie before us and from your intense desire to place children around the throne. Still, you ask me sometimes, and you ask other older sisters, things. In the way of Titus 2, you seek simple advice, even though you often have far more “on-point” intuition than do I about many things domestic and spiritual. There are some of you who are even extremely patient about my ignorance of this culture’s nuances for millennials and those women of generation z.
Your job is increasing in difficulty and intensity every day. It’s really sort of breathtaking— the way the devil has stepped up his game through cultural shifts even in the past decade. Drag queens are influential in community library story hours, in middle and even elementary schools. Media outlets that were historically child-friendly are now bent on anesthetizing children to any dangers of behavior that we used to call “sin.” Our United States legal system is often unfriendly to anyone who has a firm adherence to Biblical truth and morality, while accommodating those “victims” who commit crimes of negligence—even abuse— to family and to those who inflict the consequences of harmful behavior on society. Your children and my grandchildren are growing up in a world that’s very different in some key and harmful ways than was the world of our childhoods. Lots of sleepy Christians of the past half-dozen decades have paved a smooth road for the takeover of relativism and apathy in the young adults of our churches. Sometimes, especially when I travel through our nation’s airports and metropolitan areas, the effects of the devil in this undressed, ungrateful, and uncaring world are shocking. To top it off, those talking loudest about loving Jesus, are often averse to his commandments and are mocking the New Testament church as it works in the world today.
But yet you are still in your homes putting your arms and shields of love around the innocents. You are offering prayers multiple times a day in your homes and your children are hearing you say their names as you petition our almighty God for their spiritual safety. You are there placing limits of time and content on the media of the world, when your neighbors and, sometimes those who share your pews, are chuckling at your extremism. You are more concerned about the spiritual feeding of your children than you are about what’s on their plates for dinner, in a culture that truly has that all backwards. You’re more careful about stopping the recycling of moral trash than you are about getting the plastic in the right bin. You are disciplining in the gentle, but firm, Biblical way that includes both corporal punishment and the withholding of instant gratification, rather than buying into the culture’s idea of “gentle parenting” that puts children in premature and dangerous positions of reign in the home. You are having daily Bible times in your homes and you’re diligent in memorization and role-play and ethical direction and singing and having heart-to-hearts in those Bible times. You are determined to seek first the kingdom in your attendance patterns and in your entertainment choices. You are consistently showing your children the numerous opportunities to evangelize that are in their interactions with those outside of Jesus. You are teaching them boldness as you voice your concerns about the safety of the unborn in our country and, in the process, you are transferring respect for God, who breathes into every human, the breath of life and transfers His very image into men. They watch as you reach to those who are in need at every opportunity. You dry tears that are cleansing little hearts of despair and discouragement. Your shoulder is the safe place for little people who cannot help but be afraid because the devil deals in fear and uncertainty. He wants your family to be stifled by fear.
And I cannot tell you how precious you are to this grandmother’s psyche. I am, in short, surviving right now on your spiritual fumes. You emit courage, determination and the love of the cross through your daily grinds. What seems so hard every day is actually a testimony to your faith. When you’re so very tired and, really, wondering if you can put one foot in front of the other, remember the value of just one of the souls living in your house. Your job is one that culminates in the retention of value that’s larger than any other pursuit in this world. You are the vehicle of saving grace to your children. That value makes you willing to make any sacrifice to see those souls safely to the eternal arms of Jesus. Some of you are giving one hundred percent to three or four or five or more souls that are depending on your fortitude. Some of you are doing all of this without the help of a faithful spouse and a few of you are doing it in spite of the oppositional work of husbands who once were committed to heaven for your children. You are the bravest of all, and you do not even know what your example may mean to someone in your circle who is complacent or fearful. Someone who is tired and is on the verge of throwing in the towel may glance over at you and think “If she can do it, with all of the obstacles she faces, surely I can persevere a while longer.” Sometimes that tired person is me.
May God render His mercies that are new with each sunrise, His providence that is just for His children, and His promise of your ultimate good through the seeking first of His kingdom. I’m in His debt for your presence through days that are long. You fill those days with hope!