Category Archives: Tuesday Grace Letters

Tuesday Grace Letters: You Are Beautiful

Mundane Faithfulness

The assignment: Next weeks grace letter is a free week. Share your heart. Write a love letter of grace of your choosing.

I wrote this letter in response to the assignment from Kara at Mundane Faithfulness… click the image or the link to read more letters from other bloggers and to learn more about Kara and her heartbreakingly amazing story.

“God doesn’t make mistakes.”

We say it. We hear it. We know it. But do we believe it deep down in our hearts? Do we believe it applies to us? Or that it applies ALL of the time? Do we give ourselves that much grace?

We falter. We are human after all, so far short of God’s perfection. And yet… yet, made in His image. His children. Beloved and wonderfully made. We are are precious and loved. We ARE beautiful. We are short, tall, skinny and fat. We have bad haircuts, shiny foreheads, adult acne, unflattering fashion choices, unwanted moles, gray hairs, hangnails, stubborn hearts, bad attitudes and mean spirits. We ARE beautiful.  No matter what our perceived imperfections or shortfalls, God doesn’t make mistakes, we are His workmanship. We need to feel that and believe it. We are His.

Let yourself feel it. Believe it. Know it. You are beautiful.

Click on the image above for a downloadable (and printable) PDF.


Tuesday Grace Letters: To the future fathers of my grandchildren

Mundane Faithfulness

The assignment: Write a love letter to your children as parents. Write them a letter a grace for their future days of parenting. Send them your best love for the moment they become parents or the moment in which they currently live as parents. Share your love, your joy, your heart, and certainly grace.

I wrote this letter in response to the assignment from Kara at Mundane Faithfulness… click the image or the link to read more letters from other bloggers and to learn more about Kara and her heartbreakingly amazing story.


Dear Liam and Jack: Now you know. You are each parents and now you know (nearly) how much I love you. Or at least you know a measure of the love I have for you, because I believe the quantity of a parent’s love for their children is infinite and grows each minute that child is known by that parent’s heart. It is true, a parent doesn’t always like their child (frankly, sometimes your kids can be jerks and it’s normal not to like a jerk – it’s a sign of common sense) but a true parent always loves their children – no matter what. So now you know.

True, you are both fathers and I am a mother and therefore different in a way –  certainly our perspective of parenthood may be different due to the inherent differences of the sexes and the changes in the times that we are parenting – but parenthood is, at is essence, universal. God entrusted you to my care, just as He entrusted your offspring to your care – it is one of the most important things you will ever do. You are perfectly suited to parent your children – make no mistake about it.

And it is all the wonderful things you can imagine BUT (yes, as is often the case with the BIG LIFE things, there is a BUT…) it is also the most challenging and frustrating, it is exhausting, often not rewarding and it battles for your attention when you know other things need your focus – it can wreck havoc on your relationship with your spouse and negatively impact your career. Do not be fooled… it is not a walk in the park, it is not for the faint of heart and it can take you down. The worst thing you could ever do is assume it will not take work and that it will be easy, if you do that, you will fail yourself and you will fail your kids.

I realize that this sounds defeatist and all a little scary but it is not… (well, it is scary because it is a big task). I would be remiss if I didn’t warn you of the pitfalls and instead just sang the wonders of the beauty of parenthood – I would fail you as a parent. But trust that as hard as it can be, God will carry you through when you ask for His help – He will guide you to answers, bring people alongside you to shoulder the burden and give you grace in the very moments when you need it most. You will love and you will love and you will love. And when it is hard, all that love will shore you up and you will carry on through… you will laugh in the middle of the night when your baby just won’t stop crying (you may also scream and/or cry – that’s okay), your world will not end when your toddler pulls all the stuffing out of the couch cushions or douses the the living room with chocolate sauce or punches his brother square in the face in the middle of the grocery store (Jack, those were all you), you will get creative with your consequences when faced with a stubborn, hard-headed child and teen, and someday you will come to cherish every minute spent waiting, transporting and worrying (more in retrospect than in the moment, because in the moment it kind of sucks). Because all of that – and so, so much more – adds up to parenthood.

It is a gift to be a parent, a gift that doesn’t always feel like a blessing. You can go through life without being a parent and I think that your life would be fine because that was the plan God laid out for you – but once you are a parent, that’s it – you are always a parent. No matter how old your child is or what happens to them – you are always a parent. Parenthood is forever. It starts in an instant but it is no tiny thing.

Know this: I may love God and your father more than both of you – as it should be – but you are the only two beings I ever loved from the very instant I knew of you. And you will feel the same way about your own kids… it so makes all the rest of it not really matter, because you would do it all again, in a heartbeat to know your children and love them. But knowing you’d do it all over again doesn’t mean you’ll always enjoy it, just as something being hard doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it. You guys are so worth it and your kids are so worth it.

May you go on the journey full of grace and peace and the knowledge that God prepared you for this. And don’t forget the secret weapon that is known as Grandparents Camp – the magical place you can ship your kids off to in order to get a much-needed break from your little cherubs. Your dad and I will welcome them with open arms – we love them nearly as much as we love you both!

Tuesday Grace Letters: Dear Rooks Girls

Mundane Faithfulness

The assignment: Write a letter of love and gratitude to someone who has made a difference in your story. A letter of thanks to someone from your past that has changed your tomorrows. Someone who has loved you well and taught you about life. Write them a letter of love and grace.

I wrote this letter in response to the assignment from Kara at Mundane Faithfulness… click the image or the link to read more letters from other bloggers and to learn more about Kara and her heartbreakingly amazing story.

Trying to figure out who to write that letter to… so very many people come to mind. My parents; my youth group leaders; my middle school teacher, Mr. Small; my high school teacher, Mr. Sanders; my husband; my children and other members of my family… those are all people who without a doubt have had an impact on my life and my story but then it came to me and I knew who it was going to be. My Rooks girls… my college friends who all landed, along with me, on the first floor of our dorm (Rooks-VanDellen) our freshman year at Calvin out of sheer luck (and a little divine intervention). Ladies… I’m already crying.

There were ten of us: Michelle, Kara, Julie, Jenny, Lisa, Sarah, Jonna, Pauline, Amy and Tracey – all strangers (for the most part – Julie I have known my entire life and while she wasn’t on our floor the first year, she joined us there sophomore year), all from different backgrounds and geographic locations and not one of us from Grand Rapids. We came to Calvin for different reasons: it was engrained in our CRC (Christian Reformed Church) blood, we wanted a Christian education, someone we knew went to Calvin and loved it, whatever the reason, however the decision was made, I know we ended up there because God knew we needed each other.

I have mentioned my First Rooks girls in multiples posts as people I am thankful for and about things/people I love. I have said they are my heart (and they are) and I have expressed my love for one gal in particular during a very scary time in her life but I can never say enough how much I love these women and express adequately in words how much they have meant to me in my life. Since the fall of 1996, not one week has gone by that I don’t see, talk to or communicate with in some way at least one of these women – I almost could say not a single day has gone by but I did go to Kazakhstan for 6 weeks during one summer and then I didn’t have the best communication opportunities. I have other wonderful, awesome friends (many of whom are reading this and I hope they know that I love, love, love them, too) and this in no way demeans those friendships that I have with my non-Rooks girls, but something about this group and the time in my life when we became friends means they are precious and sacred to me and beyond blessings in my life – no matter where they are now or how long it has been since we talked – because of them, I am who I am today.

They have seen my worst, pettiest self and still love me. They have stood by me through sadness and tragedy. They have made bad choices right alongside me and laughed with me at life’s absurdities. We have had dance parties in the hallway, endless evenings filled with conversation, desserts and Diet Coke, bridal and baby showers galore and inside jokes that make our husbands roll their eyes. We have celebrated things big and small and cuddled each others’ babies. I refer to them as “Aunt so-and-so” to my kids and I think/hope that their children and my children will treat each other like family as they get older – we have family we are born into and when we are really lucky, we get family we choose as well. Our lives can never be overly filled with people who love us. I pray for friends like these for my own children.

But their impact goes beyond moments and memories; from my favorite people I’ve learned:

  • following God’s direction and calling doesn’t always make sense
  • sometimes keeping silent is a better choice than speaking your mind
  • sometimes you need to speak your mind, despite fearing how the other person will respond
  • asking for help is okay, it does not show weakness
  • asking others how you can help them is important because sometimes they can’t ask for themselves
  • a phone call or a card in the mail for no reason is often God at work and there is great reason for it
  •  friendships take time and investment but even the passage of time will not ruin true friendships
  • I am loved and lovable and have good things to offer the world – they more than cement this knowledge
  • you can be overjoyed with your own news and at the same time be totally heartbroken for a friend who is hurt by that news
  • it’s more than okay to be ridiculous and do dumb things, to let people see you in your cozies with your zit cream on or hear you sing (out of tune) at the top of your lungs and do stupid dances that make you look less than elegant
  • Double Stuff Oreo cookies are the best
  • television shows are better-enjoyed with friends
  • real friends will still love you when you watch the same clip from a made-for-tv movie over and over again because Mark-Paul Gosselaar’s back is/was hot and, in fact, will watch with you all of those times; they will also cry with you for more minutes than you care to recall after viewing Luke Perry’s movie, “Eight Seconds”
  • judgement and mean spirited-ness have no place in friendship

Because of you, I met my husband and have my little boys. From you ladies I’ve learned how to be a better person, a better wife, a better mother and a better friend. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for you if you needed me. Thanks for taking the high school version of myself and helping turn her into the person she is today. Love you, Michelle


Tuesday Grace Letters: Dear future self

I wrote this letter in response to the assignment from Kara at Mundane Faithfulness… click the image at the bottom of the post to read more letters from other bloggers and to learn more about Kara and her heartbreakingly amazing story.

The assignment: I want to you write a letter of grace to yourself 10 years from today. Include pictures of your life now, but hopes and dreams and fears you have for yourself, your loves, your life in ten years.

Dear 2024,
Ten years into the future doesn’t seem like a long time until I consider the ten years that have just passed – 2004 seems like a lifetime ago. So I think it is safe to say that another ten years will seem like another lifetime. Wow.
IMG_20140224_161740I will be fast-approaching 50 – likely more than halfway through life (Lord willing). I don’t know the heartaches that will have been felt and lived through, though I can imagine what they might be, I pray they don’t seem like too much to handle and that you remember to turn to God for strength – He will always carry you, especially when taking another step just doesn’t seem doable. He will also give you the best blessings and gifts you will ever know, be thankful for each and every thing. I pray you grow closer to Him, putting him ever first. I pray you love your family above all other people and serve them well. I pray that you are content with life – in spite of any challenges and that any area that feels like it is lacking is simply a blip on the screen, or an opportunity for growth and learning. May you be blessed with friendships to sustain you and love to surround you and a confidence in yourself and your abilities that allows you to let go of anxiety.
My dear husband… you’ll be hitting 50 just before me. And we’ll be approaching almost 20 years of marriage – in fact,  I will have known you a greater part of my life than the part that came before I knew you. I often forget that you don’t know all the details of the time before you were around – not that I’ve kept anything from you, just simply that you weren’t already a part of it, you are so much a part of my life now, you fit perfectly and know me so well. I pray the years of working opposite shifts and single-parenting our kids are long behind us, that we will look to this current stage of our lives and know we are stronger for it, having made it through to the other side of this seemingly endless stretch that is having two younger BOYS and parenting in mostly single-shifts. I pray for good health and no knee replacements (darn rugby). I pray that you become the man that God wants you to be and grow in your faith and step into leading our family spiritually – setting the very best example of what a godly man can and should be for our two young men. I pray you feel loved most by God, then me and then our boys – that you know you are cherished, even when we humans fail at showing you that.
IMG_20130919_183317Liam – you will be turning 18 this year – practical adulthood by legal standards. You’ll be completing high school and heading out onto college (I sure hope) – leaving our home to launch into the real world (or as real as college gets). I am so excited to see the person you’re going to become – I get glimpses from time to time with the things you tell me and how you treat your friends. You have the potential to be so kind and generous, I pray that you lean in that direction and turn away from your impulses toward anger and frustration, that you train your heart to respond in love and empathy. You are a sponge for learning – about the world, about music, about God, about anything and everything – I pray you always absorb what the world has to offer you, discerning what is good and worth keeping and discarding the things that will hold you back. I pray you have someone to look to for guidance (whether myself, your dad or someone else), someone who is your voice of reason and sounding board. That you have built friendships that will last a lifetime and that make you a better man. I pray that you learn from your mistakes and never have to repeat them. I hope that you and Jack will be best friends, he’s the brother God gave you and you two will have each other no matter where you go in life. I’m excited for you to be starting a new stage in your life… heading out into the first step in adulthood, hopefully we have prepared you and you look to God first.
wpid-IMG_20130911_144247.jpgJack, Jack, Jack – you will be 15 and no doubt itching to be heading off the college like your brother but you’ll still have a few more years. At five, you’ve long felt that your life is just one long, unfair game of catch-up with your older brother – I hope that at 15, you’ve discovered the precious truth that playing catch-up is not the way to go and that there is a path set out just for you that has nothing to do with following along behind your brother. God put you second in the birth order for a reason, He has plans for you. You are on the cusp of adulthood, still dependent on us for rides to get you from place to place, straining to be just that little bit older. I pray for contentment for you, the same as with me, that you find happiness where you are, not where/who/what you think you ought to be. I pray that God safeguards your heart against frustration when it comes to your hand and gives you friends who make anyone who can’t see past that difference just not matter. I pray that just as you need strength, that you will also be given a gentleness that will allow you to love and let others in… your independence is a good thing but it should not keep you from needing others in your life.

I pray that both of my boys, nearly men, look to God for guidance, comfort and wisdom. That they are beacons of light in the world. That they will love us as parents and friends, and always delight in coming home.
wpid-IMG_20130821_172705.jpgGeorge (I’m not going to pretend he’ll be reading this but he is a part of our family)… our first “practice” child, born the day before we got married. Just the other day Jack started crying because Liam was talking about the dog we theoretically will get when George dies and my sweet youngest didn’t “want Georgie to die.” Me neither. But that heartache will come, through hopefully not for many more years. Our lives are better for having loved and cared for our neurotic little pet.

No matter what has happened, I pray we have no regrets, no worries that cannot be handled and lives warmed by friendships, laughter and faith.

We are never promised easy, but we are promised heaven and all the rest is part of the journey.
wpid-IMG_20130713_225343.jpgIMG_20140202_064647IMG_20131224_175358 IMG_20131226_082031

Mundane Faithfulness