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Letters from Mom, letters from God

In the fall of 2015, a routine trip to my dad’s Veterans Affairs clinic appointment in Saginaw turned into an extra special time with my parents.

As my mom got into the car, I noticed she carried a tattered shoe box in her hands. Once she got situated, her story unfolded: After my grandparent’s death, she was tasked with clearing her childhood home of a lifetime of accumulations. The process of sorting through closets and cupboards unearthed all sorts of keepsakes and mementoes.

It was as she cleaned her parents’ bedroom that she discovered an unknown treasure beneath their bed, concealed in the old shoebox. Upon removing the lid, she realized that it was filled with letters written by her own hand. My grandmother had saved every letter that mom had written while living in Peoria, Illinois, when my dad attended Bradley’s School of Horology (watchmaking).

As we drove along, mom began to read aloud — what a fascinating glimpse into family history that was either long forgotten or had simply never been told.

I heard about how our apartment complex had problems with cockroaches and Mom discovered me eating a dead one. And how, when she tried to buy Vernor’s pop at the corner store, no one had ever heard of it and they firmly informed her that the correct term was “sodie”, not pop.

I learned that, while my dad worked the evening shift at a dry cleaner’s, a man in a trenchcoat with a gun sticking out his pocket came in, aimed it at him, and demanded he hand over all the cash and then lay face down on the floor. At that moment, my dad figured this was “the end” for him, but then he heard the robber rush outside and a car loudly gun its engine as it rushed away.

After he reported the crime and was interrogated by the police, he thought he better let Mom know what had happened so she wouldn’t worry about the delay. Since they had no phone, he contacted the neighbor and asked him to let her know that he was late because he had been held up. She thanked their neighbor, simply thinking that the cleaners was unusually busy. It wasn’t until Dad finally got home that she learned he had literally been “held up”!

Letter-writing has almost become a thing of the past. With smartphones, texting messages is easy and doesn’t even require the use of actual words. By using textese, one can simply ask, “wubu2?” (What have you been up to)? Or reply “slap” (sounds like a plan). Or sign off with “b4n” (bye for now).

According to Pew Research Center, on average, Americans send and receive about 94 text messages per day. That is a significant amount of messages! In spite of the convenience, I feel some sadness over the diminishing art of letter writing.

Letters are so personal and meaningful, and they often record important history and other valuable information. Finding a handwritten letter or card in the mailbox is always a day-brightener for me — maybe it is for you, as well.

Have you ever considered that the Holy Bible is actually a book of letters from God to you? You are not simply a nameless, faceless human being. You have been created in God’s image, He knows you by name, and He wants you to know Him.

Though the Bible was recorded by approximately 40 people — Prophets of old, like Moses and Isaiah, and New Testament Apostles like Matthew, Luke, and Paul — it was God’s Holy Spirit who moved on these individuals, inspiring and empowering them to write. Christians believe that the Bible is God’s inerrant and infallible Word, which reveals God Himself and His plans, to His people.

The Apostle Paul explains, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 2:16-17).” And, “I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ (Galatians 1:11-12)”.

Letters from God!

Letters are intended to be opened and read — may I invite you to read God’s personal letters to you?

Though it would seem like one should begin in the beginning with Genesis, I suggest starting with one of the Gospels.

The Greek word Gospel literally means “good news”. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John have all recorded the good news which Jesus Christ came to declare to the world.

And that, my dear reader, is a very good place to begin.

Michelle Smith serves alongside her husband, Gary, as part of the leadership team of New Life Christian Fellowship. She founded Purely Women Ministries with the purpose of helping women of all ages discover their true identity as women of God. She can be reached at michelle@newlifealpena.org.

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