This is my second letter to you, my precious daughters. It comes straight from my heart to yours and is all about choosing love.
To my gorgeous girls,
When your granny found out she was pregnant with me, she was not overwhelmed with joy. Granny and grandad had never wanted children. Mum was a career woman through and through. She worked up in London for one of the big international banks and had worked her way up through the ranks. Even now she will talk about her years with the ‘bank gang’. She played hockey for them for years after she had left, and still meets up once or twice a year with all her old friends. No. I was a mistake.
For God so loved the world,that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.John 3:16
Married to an alcoholic, and trapped in a marriage that was neither happy nor supportive, my thirty year old mother made an appointment to have me aborted. Taking her sister with her for support, she went to the appointment, signed all the forms and was taken in for an anaesthetic.
Obviously, given I am here writing this, she was unable to go through with it. Very reluctantly, she left the hospital as pregnant as she went in.
My mum worked up in London, travelling up and back each day, until she was nine months pregnant and ready to pop. She was forced to leave. According to mum, she was in complete denial that she was even pregnant. Not really wanting to be a mum, and knowing she had to give up her beloved work, was almost too much for her to bear.
Somehow, against every bone in her body, she gave birth to me. It was a long, horrendous (her words) birth. She was in active labour, trying to push me out for almost 24 hours. I was apparently inside out and upside down and in every way the wrong way round. She was alone, terrified and in a great deal of pain. It wasn’t until a doctor came to see her, and managed to turn me around that she was able to give birth. I came out and was placed in her arms.
A Love Like No Other
In that moment, without anyone to love her, support her or encourage her, she took one look at me and fell completely and utterly in love.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
In that moment, her whole life changed. She had never known the love she felt for me. From that day on, every part of her life was given in sacrifice to a daughter she never thought she wanted. Granny was and is an incredible mum to me, and a wonderful granny to all of you. I have been blessed to have had such a strong, selfless, loving woman in my life. She taught me what love looked like.
I grew up. A demanding baby, I became an even more demanding child. Yet mum loved me so much, she chose to have another child 18 months later. Again she fell in love with my brother, just as she had with me. I did not. My brother was everything I wasn’t. He was a chubby, happy, wonderful baby and child. Unlike me, he was obedient and loving and snuggly. I was not any of these things. Mum often said she wished she could leave me on a church door step and walk away. But she never did. She kept on keeping on.
Around about thirteen, I changed. Mum became my very best friend in the whole world. At about the same time, my brother changed also. He became sullen, moody and very difficult. He looked ill, wouldn’t or couldn’t eat, and grew his hair long and wore black everything. By the age of sixteen, it became clear that he was on a journey of self destruction. His room was painted black, he had Chinese throwing knives sticking out of his wall, and he was taking drugs of some sort.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.1 Corinthians 13:13
My incredible mum, your granny, never gave up on him. She did everything in her power to support her son. I know it broke her heart over and over again to see her beloved second child struggling so much. I remember her sitting and plaiting his long, straggly hair for hours because he wanted the dreadlocks look. When he decided to go vegan, she did her best to support him, and cooked different food for him. She did everything she knew to do and more.
My mum gave me a truly blessed picture of what sacrificial love looked like.
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.Ephesians 4:2
I always, even as a little girl, knew what I wanted in the man I would marry. It wasn’t good looks, it wasn’t money, it wasn’t intelligence and it certainly wasn’t flattery.
No, I wanted a man who would love me, even when I was unloveable. I wanted someone strong, faithful and courageous enough to choose Love, even when it was hard. See, I had learnt something in my younger years: love conquers all. Not money. Not beauty. Not brains.
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.1 Peter 4:8
And Love is always a choice.
God, right from the start, showed us how important family was to Him. He created Eve for Adam and a means to reproduce to make mini humans to love and nurture. He made man so that He could commune, walk, talk, and build a relationship with them. He knew that people needed a place to belong and he called that place family. And it is within your family that sacrificial Love is needed, because it is within those four walls of home that you let your guard down.
It is not okay to present to the world with a smiling face, only to become grumpy the moment you are with the people you know will love you, no matter what. It is always worth it to choose to love the people closest to you.
Prioritise discovering new ways to love the people you live with, and when you are married your husband, your children and all those who come to be under your roof. Be the best version of yourself at home, with those you love and who love you back.
We love because he first loved us.1 John 4:19
Girls, it is very important that you understand what Jesus did for you that day He was hung on a cross. Jesus chose Love. He chose to die, so that you could live. He loved you so much, He put his own feelings to one side and allowed Himself to be led to the cross to endure the most painful of deaths. Painful not just in the physical sense, but also in the Spiritual and the familial, as He endured time separated from His Father’s love so that we would never have to experience that same separation.
This is Love.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.Romans 8:38-39
Jesus sacrificed everything so that we could understand what Love really looks like. Jesus sacrificed everything for His family, us, so that we could understand the nature of true Love. This is a Love that does not depend on natural affection, it does not depend on good deeds, it does not depend on feelings, it does not depend on ease. Jesus showed us a different kind of Love. And He showed us that Love is a choice. It is a verb – it is something one does – it is not, as the world might try to convince you, something one feels.
My next letter to you will be examining what this type of sacrificial love looks like in a family setting because a family is a heritage worth fighting for. Until then, remember this: you are loved more than you can possibly know. Daddy and I love you so much. We are here for you, no matter what and you will always have a soft place to land, a place to call home ❤️