This post is from a letter that I gave to my parents with their Christmas gift this year. I with the help of Savannah from Dream Big Photography made a book with pictures from every season and then the blog posts from this past year. Since my parents live in Washington State and I live in New Hampshire, literally one side of the country to the other, I wanted to give them a gift that brought me just a little closer. Almost all of the gifts that I gave this Christmas had to do with photos. Enjoy!
Dear Mom and Dad,
I can’t believe that it’s been a year since I’ve been home. A year since last Christmas. I know, I know. That’s usually what happens, a year passes between each reoccurring holiday. But you know what I mean :) A lot has happened in the past year for all of us. Changes in jobs, new adventures, new hardships and new experiences. The good, the bad, the ugly and you were “there” for it all. I know that my deciding to listen to God and move to New Hampshire was, is and will continue to be hard. I don’t understand and I won’t until I have kids just how hard it is for you. I know that you wish that you were a part of my life in a more tangible way, trust me I wish that too… so maybe you’ll move to New Hampshire? Okay… maybe not.
I think for me the thing that I feel like I’m missing out on with not having you here with me is the opportunity for people to see where I come from. I don’t think you guys truly know just how special you are to me. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t thank God for you two, both of you, because without you as you are I wouldn’t be who I am.
You are the parents who allowed me to ask question after never ending question at the dinner table. Who never told me to stop talking and asking questions but instead took the time to explain words and ideas to me. You taught me that questions weren’t bad and I didn’t have to be okay with not understanding.
You are the parents who shared your past with me. No mater how jaded. You weren’t ashamed because you lived in the forgiveness of the Savior. But you shared it with me in humility so that I would learn from your mistakes. You gave me first hand knowledge that I didn’t have to suffer to gain.
You are the parents who taught me rules and structure. Who taught me to think through the steps and think about the consequences before I acted.
You are the parents who never told me that I couldn’t do something. Instead you told me that I could. When God called me to be a pastor I never once heard a question of if I had heard God correctly. But instead you saw what God was doing and who God had created me to be before God ever told me.
You are the parents who taught me how to trust in God. Over the past 5 years God has asked us all to trust Him, a lot. And it’s scary, hard and seemingly impossible. Because I see you seek Him and trust Him it was a natural response for me to do the same. And just as I am learning and growing I have witnessed you both grow too.
You were my first best friend. The person that I could tell anything and everything to. I remember those conversations in the car when I would break down in tears. I was searching for wisdom and answers and you always knew what to say. You have always been a woman of wisdom but I’m not sure that you see it. You have wisdom because you have and always have sought after God. God has asked you to trust Him in radical ways over the years but with every yes that you have said I have witnessed strength grow within you.
You are the person whose voice calms me. I know that it’s hard when you answer the phone and your youngest daughter is hysterical on the other end. I know that you want to be there and fix what is wrong. But the truth is that I didn’t call you for you to fix it, I called you because I just needed to hear your voice. There is something about the voice of a father be it you or God that calms a daughters whole being. You are the man who sees what I don’t want to admit. You are my sounding board, where my thoughts get ordered and I can see clearly what God is saying. Watching you walk through life, face challenges and seek God constantly has given me courage to keep going because even when it doesn’t make sense doesn’t mean it isn’t right where we are supposed to be.
Thank you from the depth of who I am for being exactly who God has made you both to be. Thank you for loving each other, for being committed and being more in love today than the day that you were married. Thank you for allowing me to see you both journey through finding what marriage means with God as your center. Thank you for allowing me to make my own mistakes but still being there when I was wallowing in the pain. Thank you for your support even when your flesh wanted anything but what God was asking of me.
I’ve heard you both express time and time again how much you wish you could be with me each step of the way. How you feel as though you miss out on my life. And so for the past year I’ve been working on this gift because I wanted to be able to give to you my year and what you will find as you open this up is the closest that I could do. I hope that 1) you cry and 2) you feel as though you are walking through my year with me.
I can not wait to see what God has in store for 2014 for all of us because, right now, I feel like we are all up for some rather large changes! Here we go!