Letter To My Kids I Wish I’d Written
Lucinda Secrest McDowell
Have you ever read something and thought those words? Me too.
I don’t know Jen Hatmaker personally. And no, I’ve never seen her reality TV show. But I did just read her newest book “For the Love” and appreciated many of the things she wrote and the way she wrote them. I definitely think we could be friends.
Jen and I agree that some of the best advice for young kids (and especially teens) is to “Be Kind” and “Be Yourself.” Kindness: “I pray for your kindness more than your success, because the latter without the former is a tragedy. God measures our entire existence by only two things: how we love Him and how we love people. If you get this right, you can get a million other things wrong.”(JH) Be Yourself: “It takes courage to march to your own drummer. Popularity is a terrible goal, because you have to lose yourself to find it. If you sacrificed one precious part of yourselves, it would be a calamity. It will take courage to live truthfully, but do the hard word now or later when its harder.” (JH)
Though I never wrote a book about it, that is also what I’m most grateful for in my parenting years (even though I functioned in ‘survival mode’ much of the time) — that I encouraged each of my 4 kids to be the person God created them to be. And to share grace and kindness and compassion widely around them.
Those four (plus my two new sons) do that in spades today. They are kind and they are unique.
Since I’m speaking today (at a Veteran’s Day luncheon) on how to leave a legacy, I must admit that has been in the forefront of my mind and heart. What is the most important legacy I leave my children?
A lifetime of believing God is Enough.
That the “with God” life is the only way to fly — counting on His presence, provision and power. I’ve said it and (hopefully) lived it in countless ways through the years. Never perfectly. But that’s part of understanding the concept, isn’t it? That God is Enough – especially because we are imperfect!
I like this letter Jen wrote to her kids. And so I’m “borrowing” it for mine as well. You can too:
“Let’s talk about God. You are pastor’s kids. Sorry about that. We try not to put unreasonable “should” and “should nots” on you guys, but I’m sure we do (you can sort this out with your therapists one day)… I know we don’t get even half this parenting thing right, but we so hope that however imperfectly we do it, we give you God.
He is the only thing I’m sure of… if you love Jesus, I am not afraid for you. Long before you were ours, you were God’s. I cannot imagine the plans He has for you, but I’m sure they are spectacular, because He is and you are.
Love God and follow Him. Really, nothing else matters. If you are ever unsure what to do, remember how Jesus loved people. He was the best at it. You can trust Him because anywhere He asks you to go, He has been there too. This is not an easy path… Jesus went to hard places and did hard things; He loved folks everyone else hated or despised. But if you trust us at all, believe me: this is the life you want, this Jesus life.
When people fail you – and they will – Jesus is ever faithful. When circumstances tank – and they will – Jesus will hold you fast. He is the most trustworthy, dependable Savior, and you will never be alone. This gives me such comfort, because as imperfect parents who failed often, we are terrified to send you out knowing we didn’t do enough. But Jesus is enough for all of us. He is enough for you. No one is safer. No one loves you more. No one will lead you better.
So these are my dreams for you:
- Be kind.
- Be you.
- Love Jesus.
Love Mama (Jen Hatmaker “For the Love”)
Or maybe this letter is for you (not just your kids) today. I know it is a reminder to me as well.
What would the world look like around us today (without and within) if we embraced and lived these three:
- Be kind.
- Be you.
- Love Jesus.
Perhaps it’s time to find out…. under the mercy, Cindy