I ran across a letter that my family gave me as I was about to graduate from high school. I was 17 years old and about to go to college in August 1981. Lord — thank you for such wonderful parents.

Thursday, May 7, 1981

(mom writing first)

Dear Johnnie,

How do I start? how can I express the most wonderful thing that happened in mine and Daddy’s life – your birth. Long curly hair, pretty face and doctor’s assurance of your health started us on the most wonderful, swift time of our life. The awesome responsibility of taking care of you led me to believe I had to depend upon the Lord to guide me. As you lay in my arms I dreamed of future hopes and ambitions for you never dreaming that soon your own hopes, dreams and ambitions would be more important. During your first illness, I cried and hurt so but I did feel God’s presence and help. Your best friends, Al & Bunny, during this time, you will never remember but they loved, coddled and babied you. When you were fourteen months old, our other great event happened, your sister – Gerry. Now with two lovely daughters – your father and I knew our family was complete.

As I sat by your bedside during your second surgery, I had to feel the Lord’s presence. Oh what joy to come to the Intensive Care Unit and find you up walking around talking to the nurses.

Then your first trip across the Atlantic Ocean and your first visit to your grandparents. Oh what fun and how pretty they all thought you looked. The next event I can’t even now speak of without great hurt – your eye. But oh how wonderful God is. He gave you such strength, character and courage. You have never been discouraged or daunted.

Johnnie, I’m supposed to be telling you what you mean to me. I can’t even express how much I love you. Love to me means helping you make decisions but giving you freedom to make as many as you are capable of. Love means caring enough to want the best economically and materially for you even though we should never measure love in this way. Love means sharing of hopes, dreams, sorrows, cares, happiness. Love means not always agreeing but respecting each other in our disagreement. Love means carefree times in the parks, great vacations, band concerts.

What have you done for me? You gave me hope for good, reason for living, happiness beyond belief, confidence in human nature, awe at the though of your goodness.

(dad begins writing)

Johnnie I enjoyed watching you grow up to be a wonderful young lady. All your problems with surgery kept your mom and I in a worried state of mind, but with God’s help we came through it all with a better understanding of life and a close family.

I really enjoyed attending your conerts and was real proud of you when you became a flag corps member especially with all time you put into practice. If you apply yourself this same way after you graduate I know we won’t have any worries about you making your own way.

I hope you do well in college. you have a good foundation in education, now you just need to build from that foundation, and take the path you think is best for you. Your mom and I can not make that decision for you, it is now time for you to make your own; but as you know we will always be available for any help you may need when you have any doubts. As always you also can go to the Lord in prayer. He is always available to help in your decisions. Just trust him.

(my sister writes – she is 16 years old)

To a sweet and loving sister. Just remember when you leave to be out in that big world to just look back at our funny and sad memories. Think of the fun we had and will have in the future. We had our fights and we always go back and say we are both sorry. If I were an only child (which I’m glad I’m not) I couldn’t have anyone to tell my secrets to. To discuss my problems with, or to tell my lovelife to. you have ment so much to me I can explain in three words what you mean to me, I LOVE YOU! and I always will. I hope you can tackle that world if not and if so come talk to me about it.

Love,

Gerry

P.S. I’ll miss you…

(closing from my mother)

Johnnie your fears are all real but not insurmountable. All of us face self-doubt, fear that we are not liked, fear of the unknown. Any time I can help I am here. you never need to think I would not support you. Some things may disappoint me but I am always here in a support role. Now that you will be making your decisions; this is the only role I can truly function in)

What do I wnat for you in the future?

First, hold onto your principles, they are well-founded. Seek, search, look for your own goals. Work hard but also learn to play and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Respect other people and their beliefs but do not let them sway your foundation. When troubles come, always lean upon the Lord. don’t forget Him in happiness because how wonderful to shrae good news. Share Him whenever you can. Read His word whenever possible, study, learn and act. Develop your own style in life.

Matthew 5:1-48 – Our Lord’s teachings for our lives

Romans 12:2 – Will help you form your identity

1 Corinthians 13 – O what love in this chapter

Galatians 5:22 – Holy Spirit controlling our lives

Philippians 2:3 – Expression of your philosophy

Hebrews 11:1 – Description of faith

Oh, Johnnie, thanks for being my daughter, friend, and model. you have help me so much in my spiritual life. I love you.

Love Mother and Dad

“11 Because we understand our fearful responsibility to the Lord, we work hard to persuade others. God knows we are sincere, and I hope you know this, too. 12 Are we commending ourselves to you again? No, we are giving you a reason to be proud of us, so you can answer those who brag about having a spectacular ministry rather than having a sincere heart. 13 If it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God. And if we are in our right minds, it is for your benefit. 14 Either way, Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. 15 He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.

16 So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! 17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

18 And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. 19 For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. 20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, ‘Come back to God!’ 21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.”

2 Corinthians 5:11-21

Words & Meditation

August 11, 2009

“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.”
Psalm 19:14 (NIV)

“Those who speak for themselves want glory only for themselves, but a person who seeks to honor the one who sent him speaks truth, not lies.”
John 7:18

Teach Me

April 23, 2009

“Teach us to make the most of our time, so that we may grow in wisdom.” Psalm 90:12

Being Wise

April 22, 2009

“Whoever walks with the wise will become wise; whoever walks with fools will suffer harm.”
Proverbs 13:20

Light & Protector

April 15, 2009

“For the LORD God is our light and protector. He gives us grace and glory. No good thing will the LORD withhold from those who do what is right.”
Psalm 84:11