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