Ever since I was a little girl, I have always treasured letters. I kept every letter- from sticky notes of "Good job on your test today!" from Mommy, to letters filled with Scripture from my Daddy when I was a teenager struggling with doubts about my salvation, to pages and pages of love letters from my sweet Matt from the times distance kept us apart and then sweet notes we have shared throughout our years of marriage together. Words encourage my heart, and I especially treasure written words because I can read them over and over again- cherishing the memories each one brings.
This past month, I spent a weekend going through that "special box" (which actually had turned into three boxes I took with me after I got married). Holding all of those letters in my hands and reading through their precious words brought me so much encouragement, joy, happiness, and tears of thankfulness for the family and friends God has given me.
Because of this, I was inspired to begin a series of posts. I want to entitle this series "Little Bird" (see the parable below). It is my hope that this series will encourage fathers and mothers, and even children- young and grown.
God used these letters from my parents to mold me into who He wanted me to be. Their written words brought encouragement, confirmation of so much love, nuggets of Scriptural truth, and even sometimes loving chastisement- all of which shaped my thinking of myself, God, and the world around me. I hope that as I share these letters, parents will be encouraged on the bumpy journey of training their children in the instruction of the Lord. I hope it will bring encouragement to keep being faithful- even when your children struggle with issues like doubting salvation, wondering if the Bible really is true, struggling with body image, worrying about issues with friends, and any other number of things they may be facing. Keep loving them and praying for them, and most of all keep loving Jesus and seeking after Him, and your children will see Jesus in you, even if it may not seem like this to you. Jesus uses weak vessels! Now, after having two children of my own, I realize that nothing can make you feel more weak or unqualified than becoming a parent. We as parents feel very weak. But that is good, because that is when we are perfectly ready for Jesus to be strong through us.
This following parable is the inspiration for the title of this series. It is a letter my Daddy wrote to me when I was 16 and was leaving for the summer to work at a Christian camp.
Enjoy reading this letter, and the links to other letters will be posted at the bottom of this post as I add them to this series.
(a parable written by Daddy)
"Once upon a time, there were a mommy bird and a daddy bird that used to dream all the time about having their own little baby bird. They were good birds, and as far as birds go, they would make good mommy and daddy birds.
Well, one day mommy bird laid an egg. They were so excited!! They were finally going to have their own baby bird! They were so excited and talked (chirped) about what they would name the baby bird... they made room in their nest for the baby bird... they dreamed about life as a mommy and daddy of a brand new baby bird.
One day, when it was almost time for the baby bird to be born, mommy bird noticed a crack in the shell of the baby bird. After going to the bird doctor, they learned that baby bird went on to live in birdy heaven and they would never see baby bird grow up.
It was a very sad time for mommy and daddy bird. With no baby bird around, life seemed to lose hope and meaning. Their bird faces were always sad, their wings hung down, it was a really hard time for them.
Just when all hope seemed lost, mommy bird laid another egg! They were filled with emotion. Excited, nervous, scared, worried... what if our new baby bird doesn't make it either?
They decided to have hope and they were so careful of the egg. They began to get more and more excited as the hatch day drew near and at the thought of their very own baby bird they could love and take care of!
The day came and out came from the shell the most beautiful baby bird you would ever lay your eyes on. She had her mother's bright eyes, she was so tiny, she was gorgeous! Mommy bird and daddy bird's lives took on a whole new meaning. They were needed. They experienced love, and it was awesome.
They taught her how to stay in the nest, clean the next, care for the nest. Mommy bird had three more eggs throughout the next few years, and all of the baby birds filled the nest. They chirped together, played together- it was what mommy bird and daddy bird had always dreamed of.
Daddy bird and mommy bird spend a lot of time preparing the oldest bird for when she would fly the nest and enter into the big scary world all on her own.
Well, the big day came to finally practice flying. Baby bird... she was all ready to try flying on her own. She knew how to fly; she just never had a chance to do it on her own. Daddy bird was more nervous than mommy bird. He knows the dangers of the big scary world, and he was fraught with worry. But when he saw baby bird talk about her first flight, he realized she thought so much like a big bird. She assured daddy it was only temporary and that she really was ready.
Well, today is only a few days away from baby bird's return to the nest. Mommy and Daddy bird both saw baby bird trying to fly on her own. She was right! She really could fly! She was safe, careful, all the other birds really looked up to baby bird. Mommy bird and daddy bird were so proud of their oldest baby bird as they watched her fly!
Soon baby bird will return to the nest for a short time and take a few more solo flights to get her ready for the day when she will leave the nest to begin her own nest and will only return on visits.
Daddy bird and mommy bird can't wait to have her back in the nest, even if it is temporary. They love baby bird so much!
Someday there will be more to this story, but for now, that is the end..."
"Kali, my little baby bird, I have to tell you I have thought a lot about you this summer! I miss you so dearly. You have, over the past 16 1/2 years, transformed from a precious little baby bird into the most beautiful, awesome, gorgeous little bird I have ever seen. I have so much love and respect for you! You have taught me so much. I love you as my daughter, and I treasure the friends that we are becoming. I will be your earthly guide for a little while longer. I look forward with anticipation to every day of it. You are so special to me. I am so proud of you and who you are becoming in the Lord. You are a fit vessel useful for your Master. Keep following hard after Him! Know your hear's limitations and trust Him completely, even when it doesn't make any sense! Fly, Kali, fly!
To my precious baby bird, beautiful little Kali, my blue-eyed girl, I will love you forever!