20 Truths for My Children in 2020
There were 20 truths I wanted to tell my children in 2020.
And while I promised to make it a habit to tell them every single one, the proposal changed at 8:45 pm, on December 31st, 2019. As the world boasted promises, hopes, and dreams, my babies were dealt a heavy blow. One that would make the passing of 2019 all too memorable. And the 20 Truths seem more important, more clear than ever before.
We lost a beloved friend. The call was brief, our Hippie-baby’s best friend since they were five was murdered. Luke and David met in 2005. We were building our house on our ranch. David’s father owned the brick company that would do the mason work on our new home. Joe, David’s dad, and my husband’s good friend brought his little boy with him to work. Luke was playing in a pile of fill dirt. David toddled over and the rest was history.
The nostalgia is vibrant.
And my children’s bond with David grew, when David’s dad was comatose and later died in the summer of 2014. My children and David roamed hospital halls, ate Taco Bell, laughed, cried, and comforted each other. A cherished summer of love and loss. Embedded in their depths, the gift of friendship.
I hate this for all of us. And the raw burns of life are definites we cannot predict.
And the 20 truths must be told. It is an honor to hold secrets that I can share, ones that have carried me through the fire, comforted and sustained me. But one of the truths changed in an instant and the rest became most obvious to me.
I can tell you the 20 truths, but I can’t make them your truths. You will have to do that on your own.
The whole truth is, as much as I pour into you, you are my children, but you are not me. Granted it feels that way. It feels like our hearts beat in unison and your hurts feel quite personal. But you are wholly a part of me… and wholly apart from me.
I believe that grief is the celebration of a loss, but I do not want to send you to this party. I want to ground you, tell you to stay in your room, pick a better party, this one is too much for you. You are not old enough, and this gala is going to be harder to attend. Please, wear clean underwear.
Aside from that, all I can do if offer you the truth as you head out the door.
Here you go.
Truth #1, in this life you will face pain, suffering, loss, and injustice. Jesus overcame the world, I know, I know, I have told you this. But it doesn’t mean that when your friend is gunned down, while watching a football game, for no obvious reason, that you will find instant comfort in this thing I told you.
And Truth #2 is, I can’t make you believe that this sacrifice was the answer to pain, suffering, loss, and injustice. If I could make you believe, it might make it easier. But then, you would just be a puppet, and Truth #3 would mean nothing.
Truth #3 is this, you are fully apart from me and wholly a part of He who created you. Nothing can separate you from His love, nothing. And you get to decide if He is who your strength comes from.
Truth #4 is He will never leave or forsake you. This is the truth, and I cannot make you look up.
And Truth #5 is looking up seems inevitable. The blanket of stars that seemed impossible to comprehend will only get more vast and insurmountable.
So Truth #6 is this, it is vast and insurmountable, and you are seen and known. The keeper of the stars holds a record of every hair on your head and every tear that is shed. As mindfully as I have tended to you each, I am not capable of tending to this number. Y’all have a lot of hair.
Truth #7, faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of that not seen. Please don’t close your eyes. I used to tell you that if something scary came on the screen. And I would warn you not to look. But you have to look. If you are to grow in wisdom, you have to look forward. If you are to be the change, you must see the need. Hope for a better world, a future, plans made for you in secret, cannot be made real if you don’t know what to hope for.
This brings me to Truth #8 sometimes hopes will be dashed and hope deferred will make you most weary.
Rest. There is more hope on the horizon, new passions, and a reason to trudge on.
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And Truth #9 is truding on doesn’t mean that you cannot break. If I commented on what a trouper you were, it was to carry you through the moment. But it is okay to drop your bags and be broken. I would rather you didn’t have to, but it is okay if you need to. Refer to #6, you are seen and known. You aren’t in trouble or lacking if it is too much.
Truth #10 is on the other side of #9, you will get back up. I know you and I know He who knows you. And whether you know it or not, He is drawing you to Him so that He might be glorified.
Oh goodness, Truth #11, in the midst of that beckoning, know this above all, He is not the author of brokeness. He is the author of restoration. And He didn’t take your friend to teach you something. He is of one character, good. Those you lose are not the sacrificial lambs who will lead you through the narrow gate.
The harsh truth of #12 is the world will try and explain your pain. It wants you to glean from its wisdom and look lofty. Even I have an opinion about the whys, but you can’t trust the world’s answers. You will journey this life, draw your own conclusions, and be better for them.
This is why #13 is this, you are part of the world, but you don’t have to conform to it. Don’t forget that your truth, your pain and loss might help others, but you are no more the answer than I am. Let Jesus be Jesus.
There is only room for one God.
Truth #14 is this, although it may seem like time is running out, the God of the universe has no beginning and no end. There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal. And there will be time to tear down and a time to build up, a time to weep and a time to laugh.
I am so sorry, by now you know, there is a time to mourn and a time to dance. And a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing. Yes, there is a time to search and a time to give up. And a time to keep and a time to throw away, tear and a time to mend. As you look back over the truths you will see a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, and a time for war and a time for peace.
Which brings me to Truth #15, it is okay to be mad. This God, whose ways are perfect, breathed into life the emotions you embody.
He knew what you would feel and He is big enough for your questions, rage, rebellion, and fury. Just call me before you do anything stupid.
So Truth #16 is most relevant. He designed you to prosper. For if He didn’t, the sacrifice was for not. He intended for you to produce all the fruits of the spirit. And an apple tree doesn’t try to produce apples, it just does. Prosperity isn’t bad, it is only toxic when it becomes your god. Do not run from progress, achievement or wealth. Your success will bless the nations. This season will manifest bread for the next.
And so Truth #17 is He wants you to expect better.
He died so that you might live. Ask for more, believe He will provide so that you might tell of His greatness. Just as I your earthly parent would not give you a snake if you ask for a fish, please do not believe that He doesn’t want to provide for you all the abundance He promised.
Yes, #18 is this, as you grow in wisdom and riches, there will be resentment and hate. This is not your burden. Do not be less to make others feel better about themselves. Certainly, I hope you are humble. Definitely the first shall be last, and the last will be first. But you do not have to contrive brokenness to prove to anyone that you are not son or daughter of the King. You are exactly who He says you are, Beloved.
Which is this huge number, Truth #19. You are royalty.
Bought and paid for with the most precious and priceless sacrifice, the blood of the Son of man. You are of noble birth. Walk through the valley of the shadow of death dressed in the finest of robes and jewels. The flesh might be broken, but you are armed with the Truth. You walk in the favor of the Lord.
Truth #20 all that is asked of you is belief. Believe that even when the body is destroyed, you will live eternally because of this loving and perfect God. Believe Him. Again, I wish I could make you, it would make the other 19 Truths easier to comprehend. When all else is lost, my prayer is that you hold onto belief. Even when you doubt, let the stars of the sky, a pine tree, an eagle, a butterfly, or really good watermelon be the reminder, this life is no accident. There has to be a master Creator. Anything else is nonsense.
It is too perfect. And yes, it is also a purple hot wreck.
But there is rhythm. There are seasons. And it is choreographed by a Master. You don’t have to understand, but please don’t ever stop believing in a Grand Design.
I could say I raised you better, but I don’t want credit for your wisdom or your folly. I want you to be your own person. Cope as you must, be wholly you. My Truth is the comfort I will rest in. He is who I will pray to, asking that you are forever reminded He is near. When I am of no solace, when you must stand between here and eternity, I will take comfort in two Truths: I told you of His greatness. And I made you the best grilled cheese sandwiches on the planet.
Of this, there is no argument.
Happy New Year my loves… rage on. Love, Mom
Rest now, sweet David. Thank you for loving well… you made the world a better place. We will chase peace in your memory. Love, Mrs. A