I had gone to visit my grandmother the first Saturday in January, with the hope to visit with my older brother while I was there also. Ever since he could drive, it has been our yearly tradition to go visit my grandparents together during Thanksgiving. Things changed after my grandfather passed away the February before I was married, plus the fact that once I was married things changed quite a bit too. I moved four and a half hours away from my family and I could not just up and go whenever I felt like it, yet Joe has been very good about letting me go visit my grandmother, encouraging me to go as often as I can lately because my time with her is precious.
I reached my grandma's house and walked in to find my brother greatly disturbed by circumstances back at home in Vermont. It has not been easy for my family during the last few months. My dad has been battling an aggressive skin cancer for the past year or so and my older brother has been doing a lot for my mom and dad, making sure they have enough wood for their wood stove, taking out the garbage, shoveling the piles of snow that keep coming down this year...normal winter things that Vermonters do. He has also been taking care of his wife who is battling MS, and I saw how weary he looked that morning. He ended up leaving after fifteen minutes, due to frozen pipes back at his house and other things he had to deal with, but not before I gave him his birthday cake and presents I had brought. I was disappointed we did not get to visit more. We always enjoy laughing and talking with my grandma, talking about old times and funny things that happened in our lives. It was not to be that day, though I did enjoy a wonderful time with my grandmother. But my heart was heavy that entire day as I thought about Ryan driving those five hours back home. My two hour trip home that night was spent in prayer for my loved ones. I kept praying and asking the Lord what I could do being so far away. I do not like being so far from my family, but this is where God has placed me and He wants me to be content here and do His will. It was then that the Lord impressed on my heart that since I love to write, I needed to do something with that. I began thinking about how many people there are out there who are struggling with family issues, sickness, financial hardship, job insecurities, you name it and there is someone having a hard time. The idea came to me that I should write a letter a week, mailing it out every Monday morning to someone who needed encouragement and a Scripture verse to keep them going. The more I thought about it, the more excited I became. With 52 weeks in a year, that would mean 52 letters going out to 52 different people. That seemed doable. And so I went home and wrote my first letter to my brother that Sunday afternoon. A week later the mother of a little boy in my class collapsed at work and was sent to the ER when she was not responsive for a few minutes. I felt the Lord leading me to send them my second letter. I do not know if they are Christians. They do not go to our church, or any other church that I know of, but seeing that they are sending their son to a Christian school I figured they would be open to hearing some Scripture. It was Tuesday morning when the father came in and thanked me for my letter. He said his wife cried as she read it and was greatly encouraged. I know I was encouraged to hear that God had used my words to help them in their trials. It was also that same night that my brother wrote to me and thanked me for encouraging him and helping him realize that the things on this earth are minor compared to the things of the Lord. It made my heart sing to hear my brother say those words. It was less than a year ago that he got saved and his life has changed completely. What joy it is to see him grow and become a new person in Jesus!
So my resolution has become my 2014 mission: to write 52 letters (or more!) to different people who the Lord lays on my heart. I have so many names that I wonder if I should write more letters a week. Are you struggling today? Maybe the Lord will lay your name on my mind and you will find a letter in your box this week. Are you going through a time with minor struggles in your life? Maybe it is your turn to send someone a letter to encourage and build them up. Let's fill the mail with lots of letters and keep on building each other in the Lord.