Sometimes it seems the world is all black and gray and harsh. Sort of like this windy West Texas day we had today - dirt blows in your eyes and you can't see clearly. It stings when it hits your skin. But you laughed, didn't you? You laughed when the wind nearly knocked you over. You squinted your eyes to block out the grime, and you smiled wide and laughed at its blustery gall.
That's what I always want for you. When the world is black and gray and blowing dirt and grime into your face, I want to see your brave, beautiful smile. I want to see you square your shoulders and walk head-on into the wind, trusting in the power of Love to root you down.
Sometimes I listen to the stories on the news and my heart sinks as I think about the world you are inheriting. Violence as entertainment, death in every leading news story, guns in elementary schools, debt that boggles the mind, people selling their babies, women trafficked into unspeakable horror, wars and rumors of war... I look at you and wonder how can I help you navigate this troubled world? How can I help you become a ferociously wild lover of people? An unstoppable bearer of grace? Am I really willing to tell you that you should risk all for the sake of Love?
There's not much I know for sure. In fact, the older I get, the less I think I'm truly certain of. Life is too complex. There are no easy answers to the hardest of questions, and I don't want to give easy answers to you. "You get what you deserve." (Except when you are born a woman in most of the world, then you get endless sorrows.) "Jesus has a beautiful plan for our futures." (Except for the Somalian baby who dies tonight of hunger.) No, these answers don't hold water in a world as broken as ours. The only thing I know for sure -- really the only thing you need to ever know -- is that God loves you fiercely, ferociously, wildly. Just like He loves all His children all over the world, including the ones in Syrian refugee camps and Afghani women's prisons.
There is a lot of blackness and harshness. A lot of evil. But that's where we come in, little one. We are Kingdom-Bearers. We are Love Warriors. We are Peace Spreaders. We are the hands and the feet; the bringers of Good News. Some might say we have bleeding-hearts, but child, those are the strongest hearts of all. Someday you'll probably hear that God leaves some of his creation to destruction, a rightful fate for a rebellious and stiff-necked people. Sweetheart, that is not the God that I know. I know a Father who seeks out each of his children, from every tribe and every nation... When they weep, he weeps. When they rejoice, he rejoices. He loves them as fiercely, ferociously, and wildly as he loves you. And he's given us a singular task: to spread the good news with our love.
It's going to require bravery, little one. More bravery of you than I think I can bear. I'm a mama, so of course I want you to be safe and comfortable. But really, I just want you to love with abandon, even if that might mean that your life takes you down a dangerous, dirty road. When that wind starts blowing and the dust starts flying, lean in to your Abba. His arms - like your Daddy's - are strong and able to carry you through the storm. When you aren't sure of anything else, just hug him. It's enough, I promise.
Just follow him, sweet girl. He only asks us to follow.