My piece “A Letter…” was recently published in an edition of “She Leads Daily”. I’m still learning to be brave enough to submit more creative pieces, and the editor at SLD was kind enough to encourage me to write this piece for the magazine.
“A Letter…” was based off of a similar letter I had read in one of the Little Pink Books by Cathy Bartel. I had gotten this book as a gift from a friend of my mom’s when I was a teenager. In typical teenage fashion, I said, “wow, thanks!” and left it on my bedside table, unopened, for a long time. It didn’t become relevant to me until one day I was sobbing my eyes out, frustrated about the way my life was turning out. Something about boys, something about school, something about not feeling good enough for anyone. Crying, I kneeled beside my bed, begging God for an answer to why I was feeling so hurt.
I saw the book on the bedside table and remembered that it was a devotional. Still crying, I picked it up and started to read. I turned to a page that was, literally, a letter. It started, “Dear (your name here)” and reframed Bible verses about God, His character, and his relationship to us in epistolary form.
“I hope you are absolutely convinced that absolutely nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or love, thinkable or unthinkable—can get between you and My love, because of what Jesus did for you. And one day, I look forward to seeing you face to face: tears gone, crying gone, pain gone.”Taken from Cathy Bartel’s “Little Pink Book, Special Gift Edition”
I was a pastor’s daughter, I had grown up in church, I had read these verses before. But this letter presented God’s word in a new way that spoke directly to me.
This really shook my worldview of who God was. Despite my extensive experience in church, I never really thought about God as a relational being—as someone who not only could talk to me but wanted to talk to me. It was life-changing. Thinking of God’s word as a personal message made me feel very, truly, warmly loved.
I see the moment I read this letter as a turning point in my faith. This was the first time I saw God not as a distant deity, but as someone I could have a relationship with, and someone who genuinely wanted to spend time with me. As a young pre-teen questioning whether or not she was good enough, I was really changed by this perspective on God.
This experience taught me that God’s word isn’t an unknowable and isn’t separate from my problems, my doubts, my fears. It’s something alive and personal, and something I still wrestle with today. Knowing God in a better, closer way isn’t always easy, but as I learned from this letter, it is possible. It’s something even God wants.
So I wanted to go back to this idea for the winter 2019 issue of She Leads Daily. Our theme was “Wonder,” so I wrote a letter speaking God’s promises to us as we move into a new year. I thought that my experience with the original piece captured the “wonder” theme very well, and I hope this modified winter version did for our readers too.