Today is my parents' 41st wedding anniversary. I am so incredibly grateful. As a thank you to them for the incredible blessing and legacy they give my brother and I each year when August 5th rolls around, I thought I'd write them an open letter.
Dear Mom and Dad,
This past Sunday at church I stood in front of hundreds of kids and told them with bold confidence that they could trust God no matter what, that I can trust God no matter what. I believe that because you first modeled it for me.
I look at my life now and how my relationship with Jesus has influenced everything, literally every single thing. I can thank you for that too.
Your faith has left my life forever changed.
Sure, I've thanked you over the years for walking alongside me through the big events of life...attending hours of dance recitals, looking on proudly as your little over-achiever walked across graduation stages and earned every award imaginable, moving me 9 hours from home for my first big girl job, and rejoicing with a heart full of love for Tony and I on our wedding day. These are just a few.
You never left my side the day that life, as we knew it, shattered within a matter of hours. You grieved the loss of your son-in-law in silence, behind closed doors, so you could put on a brave face for me. I was asked recently how I made it through that first year. It was Jesus. But it was His strength flowing through you to help pull me through.
I've done a lot of reflection over the past year, as the intense season of my grief has passed. It's like I'm rediscovering myself, or maybe actually understanding myself for the first time.
I'm finding myself revisiting my early years. And that's where I landed on my greatest discovery, my greatest experience as a child that has literally carried me into my present. Sure, those formative years were seasoned with hardship, lots of moving around, and lots of unpleasant places in South Georgia. Yet, had life been easy, I would not have learned the Truth I mentioned above. I still remember the day when you both decided to go into ministry, and I remember that no matter where that journey took us as a family, for better or worse, your faith in Jesus never wavered. You trusted God. Period. No strings attached.
I'm not sure there's a greater lesson you could have lived out for your children. And there aren't adequate words to express my gratitude.
Thank you for loving and caring for Michael and I so well, past, present and future. Thank you for remaining faithful to each other in the good times and bad. Thank you for keeping your eyes on Jesus, for allowing Him to use you to influence your children. Thank you for your legacy.
I wish you the happiest of wedding anniversaries...and many more to come.
Dearly loved, with a heart full of love and gratitude,