As we left her home Thanksgiving night, my mother-in-law wished us a happy Thanksgiving and a merry Christmas and promised, “It will be a beautiful and happy New Year.” Weary, worn, and thankful for the sweet cheer of the holidays, humanity signs off on each year with relief and looks forward, hopeful, to the coming one. I once read that humans have a tendency to believe the future will be better, even if present circumstances do not justify any expectations of improvement. To me, this is the beauty of the human spirit: soldiering forward, hopeful, resilient, determined to forge a path for ourselves and for those we love.
I’d like to honor some of the beautiful souls I love, those who have taught me courage and resilience and who give me a reason to keep pressing on.
To my mother: to begin motherhood at 18 years old, and do it twelve times over, takes such tremendous effort, courage, and love, and to do it as well as you did is a feat unmatched by anyone I know. You are selfless, beautiful, and you never stopped trying to improve yourself and your children, and never stopped loving and helping everyone around you: we were watching you, and you never failed us. To say you are my role model is an understatement-to me, you’ve reached a height of perfection and success as a mother and a human being that I can only aspire to match.
To my father: you are the most passionate person I have ever met. Your devotion to Jesus and to your family sets you apart and makes you a force of nature that affected each one of your children; your all-consuming love for Christ made him real to us, and that is a gift I’ll never thank you for enough. Seeing your father weeping, alone, while he prays is an image no child forgets. You never cared about material things. You were an amazing father and I don’t believe you will ever understand the impact you have had on those around you until you are in heaven.
To my husband: I love you. More than anything or anyone in the world, I love you. I have watched you transform from the boy I fell in love with to a man that I admire and whom I trust completely to help me in raising our children to be amazing people. You are kind, strong, compassionate, and loving; you love God and want to serve him with all of your heart; and you never stop challenging me without even saying a word to be a more thoughtful and sincere person. You have no idea how incredible you are, and I can’t wait to see what God does in your life in the coming years. I will be by your side no matter what comes our way.
And finally, to my daughter: my beautiful angel from Jesus, you opened my eyes and my heart and God used you to restore every little part of me that was broken. You are so small, yet so full of life and beauty; I promise you, every single day you’ve been alive has felt like Christmas to me. I find peace in the fact that Jesus loves you even more than I do, even though that feels impossible: if the God of the universe loves you even more than I do, I know that you are safe in His arms. I love you, my baby girl; everything I do is for you.
Merry Christmas and happy New Year to all. May we find peace, joy, and success in 2017, and hope in these words:
“And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.”