Hi! I’ve heard that you’ve been having a hard time lately so I thought you could use some encouragement. I know that between being sick and hating housework and wishing you could have just one full child free day and night every couple of years, you feel like you’re drowning and can’t hold things together. Heck, I hear that you even lost your purse last week after leaving it on the top of the car. What a bummer! But, you know, shit happens. Shake it off. No use crying over spilt milk and all that. I mean look at all the things you’re juggling. You’ve got 5 kids. Everyday you make sure people are wearing clean clothes and sleeping on clean sheets and some days your own clothes are even clean. You check backpacks and harass errant students and sometimes even remember girl scout meetings before they start. You play with the baby so she doesn’t watch videos all day, take her to the park a few times a week. You read to the girls each night, sing them to sleep and listen to their stories about school each and every day. You have long conversations with your teen boys, harass them to take showers and do their chores. And I hear you’ve gotten some serious yard work done lately. You ask for and listen to all your husband’s work stories, remember the names and roles of people you’ve never met and learn acronyms and jargon so he doesn’t have to stop and explain it to you each time. You remember when he has important meetings, take his glasses off the bed where he leaves them every night and remind him that it’s not good for him or the family if he works until 8 o’clock every night.You make sure there’s a homemade family meal for everyone to sit down to almost every night. And every day you try to tackle a project or at least a room that needs tending to. That’s a lot for a person who’s been sick and gone through hell in the last couple of years. Heck, that’s a lot for anyone to keep up with! Give yourself credit! Sure, some things are never quite right, but one day at a time. You’re better now than you were before and you’ll be better later than you are now.
I know that you’ve hit some roadblocks, your confidence is extra shaky and you’ve starting thinking that maybe you’ll never accomplish the things that you want to accomplish. Maybe you were an idiot for ever thinking that you could. But I’m here to tell you that’s horse-hockey. Look at you – when your husband left you with 5 kids last summer, and no money and not even an internet connection to work with did you crawl into bed for the next month and a half the way a lot of people do? No! A month after he left you had a book in print. Who does that? You’re amazing! You can do anything. And remember when you thought no one was reading your blog but you kept going day after day and week after week until you dug around and discovered that instead of the 30 subscribers you thought you had, there were over 800? Anyone else would have gotten discouraged and quit, but you didn’t – you just kept believing and pushing forward. Today everything you write is read by 2000-3000 people (that you know of). Sure it’s not best-seller territory yet, but that’s more people than the average church pastor preaches to each week. Not bad for a housewife in Wisconsin.
And it’s not just the numbers and the determination you’ve shown; the things you’ve been writing have helped people. Just the other day you wrote a post on salvation that people told you helped them understand their own salvation better. That’s no small thing! And remember that kid whose adoptive mom thought he had fetal alcohol syndrome? He read your essay on giftedness and showed it to his mom and she wrote you? It turns out the kid was just really smart and finally his mom understood that there wasn’t anything wrong with him. Think of what a difference that made in his life. All over your blog, you have comments from people all around the world thanking you because something you wrote inspired or encouraged or enlightened them. How many people can say that they’ve helped people from all corners of the earth with their ideas and stories? That’s a gift. Don’t let these temporary struggles or the fact that it’s been much harder or longer than you think that you can bear get you down. If you died tomorrow, you would know for a fact that the world is a better place because of you.Not everyone can say that.
Sure you have your doubters and your nay-sayers, but everyone who’s doing anything worthwhile does. And who cares if they don’t agree with you? Who cares if they think you’re arrogant or delusional or whatever? They don’t have to live your life – you do. You know, for the year before he left, I saw how your husband challenged everything you had ever done or even said over the last 20 years. And at the end of it, you could say honestly that you had very rarely been selfish, very rarely chose the easy way out, always done your best to act in love and when you were wrong, you worked through it and became better for it. How many people could have their whole life challenged and honestly say that? You’ve done the best you could and frankly, the best you could is pretty awesome. Yeah, things haven’t always worked out. OK, it feels like nothing’s worked out, but it’s like Samwise tells Frodo in The Lord of the Rings:
It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.
I mean sure you’re not a hobbit helping to carry the fate of Middle Earth against all odds, but you’re one human doing the best you can with the life you have. It’s your story. And it’s been a fantastic story so far. People would hardly believe you if you told them the whole thing. You know that. It’s up to you to keep your head and keep going. Not everyone is willing to live for what they believe the way you do. Not everyone is willing to bet it all that what they believe is true and right and good. If it’s this hard to get to where you’re going, you must be going somewhere really good, right? Just don’t give up. Not now. You’ve done amazing things. You’ve shown a lot of grit and courage and determination. Not everyone could go through all that you’ve gone through and still believe in themselves or their God. But you have. I know you’re going to make it through.
Lots of love,