By Ann Mann
This letter has been on my heart even before you were born. Now that you are about to have your first child, I decided it is time to write down all the love in my heart. You are so very loved. Your precious husband James is loved so very much. And even before the baby is born, he or she is so very loved.
Ever since I met your daddy, I have prayed for you. I prayed for a family filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (these are the fruits of the Holy Spirit, listed in Galatians 5:22-23.) And while I have not always been a perfect example, I have done my best. Please know that is all you can ever do. Your best. Babies, and God, are very forgiving.
If there is one gift I could give you, it would be a deep and abiding faith in Christ. Your dad and I always loved the Lord. And when you were born, we committed to raising you to know and love God. We could not have done that on our own. We were blessed with loving parents (your grandparents), friends, and a church family that loves us still.
You have seen the power of that love in action in these last several months. First, with the loss of your father, and now with preparations for welcoming the new baby. I have been overwhelmed by the love and support we have received from friends and church family over the years. I pray you know that kind of blessing in your life.
As for being a mom, you will be amazing. I am so proud of the way you love and care for your friends, your family and your furry family! I am so proud of how hard you work. Whatever you want to achieve, you set out to do it, and you do it.
In life, and especially in families, there will be good days and bad days. View them both as the blessing they are. On the bad days, consider what you can learn through these trials. And on the good days, be grateful and celebrate.
Right after you were born, and daddy had gone to pull the car around, I found myself alone in the hospital room with you. I remember having a sense of panic. I did not feel ready or prepared. Everything I had read, been told, and learned in the birthing classes was insignificant when faced with the reality of being a mom to this helpless infant.
And so, I did the only thing I knew how to do. I took you in my arms, and I loved you. I have loved you your whole life. And I always will.
I loved the way you told me in no uncertain terms you would not be wearing pink, ever again. I loved how you were always trying new things. (I still can’t believe you talked your daddy and me into that pet rat!!! And as gross as that sounds, it was a good pet.) I love the way you have faced the trials of your young life, and have remained a loving, giving person.
You probably know that your daddy and I were never very concerned about money. What we treasured was time with you and your brother, and our extended family (especially those Drake family beach trips and Mann family reunions.) Those times are treasured memories. And now that your father is not with us on this earth, those memories mean even more.
Remember that you are only promised today, so choose well how you will spend it. Never take a single moment for granted. Never take your family for granted. Keep making time for yourself, and those you love. And someday, when the final pages of my life are written, I know you will be one of the most beautiful chapters.
So, I want to encourage you to be who God made you to be. It is enough. You are enough. Rely on God’s strength. And when the demands of this world seem too overwhelming, remember you are not alone. God is with you. And I will always be here for you, even when I am gone. Because just as your daddy’s love lives on in our hearts, so will mine. I will love you forever.
(Ann Mann is an Emmy Award winning journalist, now serving as pastor to Barnesville First United Methodist Church. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.)