Like others with letters in this collection, I have found that writing a physical letter to God has helped me through difficult, yet wonderfully beneficial times. I hope you are inspired to write your own letters in times of trouble and sorrow, joy and celebration, fear and pain. Our loving Father can be trusted for nothing less than the perfect response to our situation.
At a pivotal moment in my life, I was touched beyond measure by God our Savior after pouring out my heart in a letter to Him. His answer revealed to me that He is our compassionate friend, our provider, our healer and our confidant. He is our help in time of trouble, our hero in the darkest hour.
Just before Christmas, 1993, we were in a tough financial spot, even after graduating college three years earlier. We had made three moves in two years and our fourth child had just arrived. The new home was a cracker-box rental in a small town where my husband landed a job in a convenience store. I homeschooled the kids—something I felt God called me to do. Our car had just died, so we were searching for a replacement. We found a jalopy at the right price—$400—and the guy selling it offered to drive it to our house so we could look it over. Sold!
We always seemed to have more faith than money, but that year was especially challenging. Car troubles and other costly trials were mounting, casting a shadow over Christmas. Still, we had no room to complain. God had been ever faithful and we never went hungry, relying solely on His provision. We valued every tablespoon of flour and drop of milk.
But giving up hope of providing Christmas gifts for our kids was not in our nature. We decided to sow some money out of our measly budget—earmarked for food and bills—and pray for a quick harvest. The seed? White sweatshirts, fabric paints and embellishments that I worked day and night to design and fabricate into holiday sweatshirts. (Yes, they were in style at that time and mine were pretty cool.)
I finagled a last-minute spot at the local outlet mall's holiday craft show, but with one difficult condition. I had to pay the required entry fee plus something extra—a percentage of my sales to the show's organizer for sharing her booth. I agreed.
On Saturday, the first of the two-day show, the car didn't start. While my husband rummaged under the hood, I unloaded my heavy stack of shirts, hung on hangers and individually covered in plastic dry cleaning bags, and started walking. It was almost 2 miles to the mall and, wouldn't you know it, heavy sleet started to pelting me. I slip-slided along the side of the highway carrying my load of sweatshirts. By the time I got to Bob's Big Boy, two blocks shy of the mall, my husband pulled up to give me a ride the rest of the way. I was wet and freezing. Driving was nearly impossible, but we made it.
I set up my area of the booth but the mall was empty. I didn't sell anything and none of the other sellers seemed to be doing any better. Everyone seemed stressed, including me. At the end of the day the show's organizer left in a huff—she'd gotten into a fight with the mall manager and wouldn't be back. She said I could have the booth on Sunday at no cost. All profits were mine, if anything sold.
Most of the next day was equally slow and the mall was only open noon to 5 p.m. I prayed silently and looked for customers. Nothing. I waited. Nothing. Finally, in frustration, I pulled out a yellow legal pad and started to write a letter to God. This wasn't a gracious letter. It was more like: "Dear God, Help!" I was a woman hanging from a ledge. Writing furiously, I filled up one page, then another about our needs. At first, I didn't notice the people at my booth looking at shirts. But when they came up to pay I stopped writing, politely managed the sale and then returned to my letter. I was communing with God. Line by line I wrote; one by one the shirts sold. By the end of the day I'd sold all but one shirt—it fit my daughter so she got it for Christmas. Without doubt, He answers.
I am still blown away when I think about how You saved me. In a completely unbelieving family, You brought me out of darkness. I am so thankful for the ways that You used brokenness in my childhood and teens to draw me to You—the Provider, Healer and Father that I was (and still am) desperate for. I pray that the weight of Your salvation and love for the world will never grow old to me but that I will be more amazed and empowered to spread the Gospel with every year.
Father, thank You that Your Son never told the little children to be like the disciples, but He told the disciples to become like the little children.
Ruth Bell Graham
From Prayers From A Mother's Heart ©1999
The Ruth Bell Graham Literary Trust, used by permission, all rights reserved.
Jesus, You loved me 2,000 years ago.
You love me today.
You will love me for an eternity.
This is wonderful news.
Are you sure you have the right person?
Me? Even though we both know me so well?
The songwriter said, "You're an amazing God!"
He sure got that right!
This has been the most difficult day of my life. Saying farewell—even if for only a time—tears my heart asunder and leaves me hollow. I will never fully recover from this loss until I see her again on that Golden Shore.
Thankfully, You are still King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the Creator and Majesty of all. You are the Prince of Peace, Alpha, Omega and the Great I AM. I trust You with my life and, more important right now, I trust You with her precious life. As you invite my girl into Your presence, give her a hug for me and tell her I will be along as soon You call. Just say the word and I will be there. But then, You already said the word, didn't You?
Last night, I stood for a long time gazing at Your jewel in the night, the moon. This morning I rose early and watched as the sun came up.
Your Creation is as awe-inspiring. It makes me feel small and comforted and dazzled and fortunate to be alive. Yet, it pales in comparison to Your boundless love, Your never-ending Grace, Your patience with our failures, Your unspeakable Glory and Your overflowing charity. There's no god but You God! Wrap me in Your protective arms and hold me as we move toward forever.
Thank you for loving me.
Thank you for dying on a cross from me.
Thank you for forgiving me.
Time and time again. No matter what.
Thank you for never ever leaving my side.
I am especially thankful for my children.
Thank you for them.
Tiffany Arbuckle Lee, singer
Stage name, Plumb
Many things can change in 7 years. My hair has grown back and, golly, it's thicker than ever. My body is slowly returning to its "pre-poisoned and pre-steroid" shape. My eyebrows are growing—so I MUST pluck them. My skin is no longer grayish, sickly; my cheeks are rosy and full of life. My bones are gradually getting stronger. A doctor once told me I would never be able to run again, but You had other plans, Lord, and running has saved my bones. I love to run! Only the little port scar on my left side and my tattoo—the Roman numerals III XXIII—remain to remind me of all that has happened.
This past weekend at church, Pastor Mark put into words a very simple but powerful phrase about trust that I think perfectly describes my feelings. Whether I remember back to March 23, 2007, my diagnosis day; or August 1, 2009, my last day of chemo treatment; or December 15, 2013, the day I graduated college; or just yesterday when I woke up, June 2, 2014, three words remain true: I trust You. I trust You. I trust You.
I trust You with my job search, Lord. I trust You with my relationships. I trust You with my health. I trust You with my future, whatever plans You have for me. I trust You and will follow You. You are always working for my good, in pain and sorrow and in times of joy and peace. Thank You, Lord for these past 7 years of life.
I trust You. I love You.
Thank You for providing for us through a year of unemployment. Thank You for those who encouraged us, fed us and referred us to opportunities, and for those who gave love gifts to sustain us just when the car insurance payment was due or we were about to run out of laundry detergent or gas. Thank You for the many lessons You taught us this year—namely, the things we can live without, and the people we can’t. Thank You for keeping us from despair. Thank You for the new opportunity You have opened up to my husband and I. May we do our best to be fruitful in our new job.
Help me know that Your grace is sufficient for me. Sufficient for my dreams, affections and desires. I want nothing outside of Your will, though I am tempted daily to forget. More than marriage, family, and opportunities, I want You as the center of my life. And I know fully that You alone satisfy my heart. Help me remember this today, three months from now and in all the years to come.
Who but You would ever have known I needed a dog in my life to lead me into a closer relationship with You? Your wisdom is boundless!
(As is the dog's energy level, but I'm down two clothing sizes now, thanks to all the exercise. You always know exactly what I need, even when I don't!)
Jan Dunlap, author
Saved by Gracie: How a Rough-And-Tumble Rescue Dog Dragged Me Back to Health, Happiness and God
Thank You for working in the heart of a stubborn girl who wants to control her own plans. When I get caught up in the should of, could of, would of—and what’s to come—I am able to let it go because of You.
Danielle Burkleo, blogger
As I opened my laptop to write this little message to You, I couldn’t help notice the bright green sticky note waiting for me, gently laying on the keys. "I love you," it reads. Three little words—really oh such large words—in the handwriting I fondly recognize. He’s left me notes like this at various times in our 16 years of married life, usually because he’s left for a deployment, like today.
I want to tell You today, Lord, that I’m grateful for the man You put in my life when I was just 19 years old, and I’m thankful You’ve helped both of us grow in You as we’ve grown together. Because before that little green note got put on my laptop, there were some other words said by both of us that weren’t so nice. Yes, of all things to do before he left, we had a fight over minor things to cover up the hurt of being apart again. It’s not easy saying goodbye.
So thank You for this man who still insists on our 30-second hugs. Thank You for this man who prayed for his family with a catch in his throat before he left. Thank You for putting him in my life, Lord. Help me be the wife You called me to be when You put me in his.
Founder of Wives of Faith, a ministry for military wives