Are you mad at your husband today? Or maybe your kids are driving you crazy? Is it easier to tell them all the ways they are letting you down than to tell them why you’d give your life for them? Maybe you’re not mad at them at all, you’ve just been too busy to notice them — too busy to look them in the eye and tell them how much they mean to you. Today I’m asking you to take a deep breath, look around you, get some perspective, and start over.
A friend of mine passed away this week, very suddenly and unexpectedly. She was too young, only 43. She had a husband and two young sons. My heart ached when I heard the news, as my thoughts went to her husband and children. She didn’t have a chance to say goodbye. She didn’t have a chance to tell them one more time that her whole world consists of them. She didn’t have a chance to tell them that one thing she would have wanted them to know.
As I tried to process the confusion and the unfairness of it all, I started thinking about my own family. If that happened to me, would they know? I mean would they really know — with a surety that can get them through the deepest of heartaches — that I loved them, and that God loves them so much more?
I couldn’t find a way to deal with the suffocating ache that I was feeling in my heart, just thinking about what my friend’s family was going through. Being a very proactive and practical person, I did the only thing I knew to do at the time to let some of the hurting out. I sat down and started a letter to my daughter. I didn’t finish it because writing a good-bye letter is harder than you might think. But I do plan to finish it and write one to my little boy and my husband as well. I will tell them the things that I want them to know. I will tell them each how much I love them, why I love them, why I’m proud of them, what my dreams are for them, and most of all, that someone — God — loves them even more than I do. I want them to know that even in their darkest hour, when they just don’t understand, God is good. And He can be trusted. There is of course more that I want them to know, and I’ll write that too, but these are the things they have to really know.
When I put the letter away for the day, I decided to go upstairs and tell my daughter the news before my little one woke up for the day. I sat on the edge of her bed and told her what happened. I then began to sob, and I told her all of the things that are in her letter so far. I told her how very much I love her. I told her how proud I am of her and all the little things I love about her. I told her that when she is away over night at a friend’s house, my heart hurts because I miss her. I told her I don’t ever want her to doubt for one minute how very much she is loved.
When my little boy woke up, I didn’t tell him quite so much, he’s only three. But I did give him his usual morning hugs and kisses, his usual “It’s so good to see you!”, and I let him play with his trains in the water — even though they are made of wood. Sometimes details like that just aren’t important.
It’s not about piling on the love one day and then going back to the status quo the next. It’s about remembering to tell them. Because even if you do write those letters, they won’t believe a word you say if that letter is the first time they’ve heard it.
Even though she didn’t have a chance to tell them one more time, I believe my friend left two children and a husband who knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that they were loved. I believe she showed her children through an active and living faith that God is good, and loves them more than we can imagine.
That’s what I want for my family. So that’s what I need to tell and show them every day. I need to tell them everyday not only “I love you,” but “this is what I love about you.” I need to remember to tell them about the hope that is in Christ, and the dreams I have for them. I need to tell them of God’s mighty works, in my own life, so that they can see that He is faithful. I need to show them in the way I live my life, in the little things I do for them, by enjoying just being with them, by listening to what they have to say, through patience, forgiveness, encouragement, and hope, that they are loved beyond measure.
Imagine finding out today that you have a loved one who you will never see again here on this Earth. What would you wish you could say?
Please find a way to say it today. And keep saying it. So they’ll really know.
picture provided by: