Start a Letter-Writing Ministry to Your Children Today!

By Jill Novak

Like you, I try to nurture my children’s hearts everyday, but the truth is that the busyness of life and countless outside distractions keep me from preserving words that bring life, direction, and vision–unless I write a letter. Letter writing bridges the gap between the words I long to express, and the words my children and grandchildren will remember the rest of their lives.

A Legacy for All Generations
There are as many reasons to write a letters as there are people to receive them. Still, a practice so commonplace in previous centuries has become a lost art to our generation. Many parents are rediscovering the truth in the saying, “The pen is mightier than the sword!” and have committed to writing letters to their children on a regular basis. Whether you are writing about a moment you’ve shared, saying thank you, or giving your child a vision for the future, letter writing is vital for nurturing relationships.

The Inspiration for Writing to My Children
I know that my mother liked to dabble with words. I have a few of her precious attempts at poetry and prose, but the writing that I hold dear to my heart are the two letters that she penned to me over her whole lifetime. It hardly seems possible that I lived with her for 22 years and only have two letters to show for it.
Her poetry gives me glimpses into her heart, her love of family and nature – things we share in common – but her letters give me a sense of belonging and purpose. Her words, though few, are well chosen and give me the vision to write letters to my children on a regular basis.

Two Letters from my Mother

Dear Jill,
It’s about 4 a.m. Christmas morning and as I lie here thinking of all of you I want to cry for the joy God has put in my heart for our family. I’ve always prayed He would do special things with each one of you. I prayed for your salvation when I really didn’t know Him so well. Can you imagine what He has in store for all of you now that we really know Him? Know Him like we never knew Him before! May the power of God which transcends all understanding be yours forever and may the Holy Spirit hover over all of you, and protect you every hour of every day.
In the Love of Christ Jesus,
Mom

Dear Jill,
I want you to know how much I appreciate you thoughtfulness. Everything you do and say is very much appreciated by me, but I don’t always have the chance to put in words what I feel. In loving Claire, you might have some idea how I as a mother have felt for you. That doesn’t change because you are a woman, it just becomes a mature caring at this point and seeing your relationship with Claire tells me that the love my mother had for me has come through to be seen in your love for Claire. Love is what it is all about isn’t it? God love your little family, and may the Holy Spirit abound richly in each one of you.
Love,
Mom

Little did my mother know the impact that these two letters would have in my life and the lives of her grandchildren. She left a legacy of love and a memorial to her relationship with the Lord. You can do the same. Letter witting is one of the most effective ways to minister to the heart of your child and give him a vision for his life.
Last week, my daughter Elizabeth came to talk to me when I was working on the revised edition of The Gift of Family Writing. She glanced at the monitor and saw the two letters that my mother wrote to me. As she snuggled into my lap, I began to read them to her. I didn’t realize until that moment that she hadn’t heard of these letters before, so I explained that they were the only letters that my mother wrote to me over her lifetime. “Well, I hope you write lots of letters to me,” she said. Her comment challenged me once again to make it a priority to write to my children on a regular basis.

The Gift of Family Writing is filled with examples that will inspire and equip you to begin a letter writing ministry to your family today. Learn about the many different types of letters that you can write to your children.

Dear Jill,

My Daughter turned eighteen last week. What a milestone! I wanted to do something special for her, so I wrote her a letter. I wrote about many of the memories I have of her life and then I wrote some verses of Scripture based on the theme of “fearing the Lord”. On the envelope on put stickers that were symbols of things from her life.

That same week one of her friends was having a “princess” party. She secretly wrote to each girl’s father and asked them to write a letter to his daughter to be read at the party. Writing is difficult for my husband. He agonized over this letter. However, the final result was beautiful! He wrote of memories he had of her and inside things that only she and he shared. What a cherished gift.

Now I plan to write letters to each of my family for the holiday season (we celebrate Hanukkah). Thank you so much for the inspiration.

Thank you,
Jennifer White

Be Inspired by Jennifer’s Letter in
The Gift of Family Writing

4 Comments

  1. Dear Jill,
    Thank you for your efforts in reviving the lost art of letter writing. When I was engaged to be married, I wrote to my husband-to-be in a beautiful journal each evening and presented it to him as a wedding gift. What an important time in our lives, and I am so thankful we have a record of it!!
    I continued on with journaling to each of my children. I now have numerous journals which each of them will receive when they are grown. I do not write to them as a group but each journal is for a specific child.
    A few years ago I realized I wanted them to have written words from me now, not only when they are grown. They are unaware of the journals that are stored up for them, so I began journals full of letters for them to receive now. They know that when their journal is laid on their pillow, they have a letter from Mommy!! Since I want the letters to be special, I try not to do it very often. Also, letter writing is a great way to think before I speak!
    Your magazine has been such an encouragement. Thank you for the time you spend and your efforts. You are making a difference!
    Sincerely,
    Jenny McAlister
    wife to Calvin and mother to Katie, Justin, Lilly and Luke

  2. I came across your website and noted right away your article on writing letters to your children. No one ever told me to write to my daughters, but when my oldest was born I began to record my thoughts in a journal to her every month. I called them “Mommy Thoughts.” I wrote them in a letter format. When she reached 5 I ran out of room in the journal and now that we can have real conversations (she’s currently 7.5) I don’t feel the need to write as much to her, however, I have continued writing and still compose an average of 3-4 letters to her a year. I also have done the same for my 2nd daughter. Reading your article has made me realize that I am providing my children with a special gift for years to come. Thank you for posting on this. I pray other moms will see this and be inspired to write down their thoughts for their daughters to treasure.

  3. Just half a dozen pages a year, and if someone were able to do that for their children for 7 decades, that’s a 420 page book you’ve written them and have written for posterity. Simply photocopy them, give them the photocopies, and preserve the originals in a box, binder, safety deposit box at the bank, or locked filing cabinet in one’s closet for when they’re much older. After just one decade, half a dozen pages a year would be 60 pages. So just one or two lengthy letters a year really does add up. Just make sure it’s love that’s compounding and not where one vents one’s communication difficulties over present difficulties and relational strains that won’t have mattered 20 years from now. If there’s half a dozen letters where matters were dealt with where the two of you were at an impasse, just make sure there’s 75 letters pouring your love and God’s love on them.

  4. Thank you for this website. I’m searching for a hugh writing ministry and now I’m thinking maybe it doesn’t have to be that big. And I have grandchildren as well.

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