The first love letter…..

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Dear the amazing people I am blessed to share this space with,

Over the past year, one of my best kept secrets has been a girl named Hannah Brencher. Her and I have never met, but there are days I feel like no one but Jesus knows me better. She is someone who can find the words to say everything I wish I knew how to say. She is bravely honest and a lover of the world. Hannah is truly a game changer.

One of the greatest changes finding Hannah’s blog has brought into my life, is an intoxicating desire to be part of her movement to revive the art of love letter writing. No, not the sappy ones you write to the love of your life, but love letters to strangers. Strangers who aren’t really strangers because we are all united by the desire inside every one of us to be loved; a desire to have someone tell us everything is going to be okay. The people on the other end of these letters are just like you and I; people searching for beauty, strength, hope, purpose, courage, acceptance, or simply to have someone say “hey, you matter.” It is a revival aimed at pouring out love in a world where fear often keeps us from being selflessly loving; where we miss out on building people up because of our own trepidation towards vulnerability.

I’ll let you read for yourself about how the movement started but writing these love letters to people who submit requests to Hannah’s organization, More Love Letters, has been a life changing experience. As I pour out encouragement and love for these people I have never met, I remind myself of all the things beautiful and triumphant about life. I am reminded of the commonality of brokenness and the human aching to be in relationship with one another. I am reminded that sometimes we need to take a quiet moment and be thankful for the blessings we have been given. I am reminded that encouraging one another should never be something we fear. I am reminded that feeling compassion and love for someone should never be something we are embarrassed about. And I am reminded that living a life overflowing with love for our fellow humans should never be discouraged. Because, after all, love always wins.

I love writing these letters so much that I was not about to let being in Somaliland stop me from pouring out my love on the world in this way. So I have decided to post my letters here. Some will be to the people with requests on More Love Letters but others will be letters I have written to someone I love, someone I loved, and someone I hope to love.

The dream is that you will read these letters and be encouraged. Maybe some of you will even join me in pouring out a little love on the world.

Always and Forever

Me.

 

There is never going to be anybody else in this world just like you….

Dear Jessie:

I can never say that I understand what it is like to be inside your body; inside your head. I don’t know the thoughts you battle or the pain you endure. But I do know what it feels like to lose someone to that battle, and I can promise you that life would never be better without you. You are more loved than you can imagine; and more important than you will ever know. No one can ever take your place. You hold a special spot in the hearts of everyone lucky enough to know you.

I know that the road ahead will sometimes seem impassable but you are equipped to win this war. It is a day by day thing and it is okay to ask for help. Sharing your story with your friends and family shows your incredible strength. I admire you for your courage. Don’t be too hard on yourself, but be honest with yourself. Take refuge in the smallest delights and simplest beauty.

And Jessie, more than anything else I have written here, I want you to remember this:

There is never going to be anybody else in this world just like you; there will be nobody else to fill your role. You are a unique puzzle piece in this world. You are the only one with your smile. You are the only one with your laugh. You were uniquely made for the life you were meant to live. You were equipped with a perfect mixture of strengths and weaknesses that allow you to feed into others’ lives like no one else. There can never be another Jessie, and I promise the world is much better with you in it.

So take heart my friend. I’ll be praying for you and cheering you on from thousands of miles away.

Always and Forever

Me.

 

Jessie’s story from her sister: “My darkest hours came recently after my sister divulged that she had been on the brink of committing suicide a few months earlier. Anyone who meets her sees a brilliant, beautiful, and funny young woman. Only God knows why she cannot see that in herself.  My family worked to get her help and she is on the road to better mental health, but it is a long, difficult journey.  There are still times when I see her withdraw from friends and family.  She is in desperate need of uplifting letters that would touch her heart during times of isolation and anxiety. I sincerely believe she would be thrilled knowing that complete strangers cared enough for her well-being to take the time to send her a love letter.”