To Momma:

It is important to know the ways that God makes himself known in our lives. When we’re told how we reflect the nature of Jesus, we are less prone to doubt that he is with us. I give praise to God for how he continues to shape you more and more into his image, and I want to point you to the ways that God’s character is evident in you.

First, you are gracious. You do not let the sin of others cause you to seek justice. Like Jesus, “where sin increases, grace increases all the more” (Romans 5:20). Though we are guilty before God for all of our heinous sins, Jesus gave us more grace than we could ever imagine. The gracious way that you act towards others has taught me to choose forgiveness over anger or condemnation.

You also have endurance. The Christian life is one of difficulty. The writer of Hebrews calls it “a race.” Instead of choosing to be lazy or to quit when things get difficult, you have endured. You have “laid aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles, and ran with endurance the race that is set before you, fixing your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith” (Hebrews 12:1-2). Jesus is our perfect example of endurance, and you emulate him in your life.

Another quality of God within you is the way that you give boundless love. You love others deeply, fully, and richly. There is this amazing word in the Old Testament used to describe God. It’s called “hessed” and it is usually translated just as “love” but it means much more than that. It’s the kind of love that is pure, the love that produces kindness towards others, the love that is better than life itself (Psalm 63:3), and the love that is only able to come from God. The Lord has given you the ability to show this kind of love to others.

Finally, you feel things deeply. This may not seem like a quality of God at first, but God is the creator of emotions. He is the one that made them, and they are good. They have a purpose, and that purpose is to draw you closer to the One who created emotion. You have taught me how to feel, and how to not be ashamed of those emotions, but to let them draw you closer to God.

(I wrote this letter to my mother for part of her Christmas gift. It was appropriate to share again today.)