We have some friends whom we have known for years. Jason’s mom and my mom were good friends in high school and we ended up going to school together (with Travis) for all of junior high and high school. In fact, Jason’s older sister, Angela, and my older sister, Carrie, have been close friends all these years as well. Jason was a very dear friend and I remember doing all kinds of fun things on the weekends together. Jason was the best man in our wedding twenty years ago and Travis was then a groomsman in his and Kara’s wedding several years later. While time and miles have separated us, some people will always hold a special place in our hearts and the Tippetts are some of those people. Kara, Jason’s wife, has been battling metastatic breast cancer for a few years now and has kept a great attitude reflecting her faith in Jesus Christ. On Tuesday, she started something new – a link up of blogs (the link to her blog is at the bottom of this post) and while I wrote a post for it, I didn’t publish it. I don’t really have a reason why, but I just wasn’t ready to put it on here. But here it is today. A letter to the future me.
Dear Me….in 2024,
Some days I can barely imagine the passing of the next ten minutes so to think ten years ahead is a long shot my mind doesn’t want to wrap around. Oh I certainly dream big dreams and fight big fears all in the same breath. I dream of easy days, laughter, worry free finances, happy healthy kids, the squeals and coos of grandchildren, lazy Saturday mornings with my sweet husband and unlimited time and money to spend baking whatever I want. But I also know perspective. It’s something I’ve learned well in the hard days behind me and I’m certain perspective is going to carry me to you in 2024.
My today means I get to love my Travis. God has been so faithful to keep us strong, to bind us together in Him. Oh we have days when we want to wring each other’s necks and I’m certain that will never change. But most of the time, he is my strength and comfort, my greatest accomplishment and biggest gain. It’s a privilege to be his wife and I can only hope you do a better job than I do now of reminding him how much he means to my heart. And I also get to love on our four beauties every day. I cherish their smells, the way their bodies uniquely crump and cross as they relax on the couch, the familiar looks that speak a thousand silent thoughts, knowing who will go to bed last, who will leave crumbs on the kitchen table, how tight and how long their hugs will be, which child will have the messiest room and the one who uses the most shampoo. I know their tender hearts and desires to reach lost souls. I relish the laughter, the silliness they all inherited from their dad, the ability to never take life too seriously and always turn any conversation into a pile of laughter and jokes. It’s those little intricacies that make life fun because with my teenagers sharing my space, life is never boring. And I wouldn’t change a thing because every day of joy and laughter and conversation is a complete gift.
The littlest of them all is the quiet one, but only because his brain is incapable of the spoken word. He is the glue. The thread that sews us all together. But you know this. You remember the pain of medical failure. Your heart longed for easier days. Your mind couldn’t wrap around the idea of him not being here someday. And maybe that day has come to you in 2024. Maybe our sweet Ryan has met Jesus. Today, in my finite, anxious mind, I imagine he is already gone from you. I imagine you visiting his grave, cherishing the pictures and videos every single day, giving tears to the pain and the loss, missing all the cuddles. Oh how that makes my heart ache. My mind simply can’t hold on to the hope that Ryan will still be with me in ten years. I don’t know if that is my failure to believe God will let me hold onto him for so long, or if it is my awareness that He only intends for Ryan to be here for a short time. And what does it matter really? He is here to do God’s work, to fulfill all the things our Heavenly Father has for him, to make his mark for Jesus in the way only he can. I just get the enormous privilege of being his mommy. Remember the shock, the strike to the heart, the inability to take a breath when that doctor told us Ryan shouldn’t be alive? That he expected him to be a vegetable by now? And here we are two years later. It just goes to show the future isn’t ours to tell. It isn’t ours to guess, to dictate, to predict, to assume. Only my Jesus knows all these answers to what is coming. Only He can calm the anxious, fearful heart that longs for peace, for easy, for clarity. The days ahead are unknown, and I have come to believe He holds our tomorrows so that we have no choice but to hold onto Him. It’s faith in weakness. It’s trust in unknowns. It’s grace in worry. It’s love in daily tasks.
I know for today, my heart begs to believe you are living at Ellisbrook right now. Are there trees and a brook running through the acreage? Is there a pond? Those are my prayers. Do you remember them? My pleadings with God to provide the means to let us love on disabled adults in our home. The dream born out of our love and care for Ryan. To be surrounded by the love of several mentally disabled adult males who need safety and love and security and routine and family. To be chasing chickens, gathering eggs, fishing in the pond, teaching manners and cooking basics and how to tend the garden. Showering them with grace and God’s truths. Memorizing scripture together and teaching forgiveness. Planning details and throwing the grandest parties. I pray that when I arrive where you are, God has given Travis and me the desires of our hearts to fulfill our dream of Ellisbrook and to expand in His timing. I pray our older kids are involved too in some way. Today they want so badly to be in the country caring for these men before they all leave for college. But I have learned God moves in His timing not mine. He provides the means though His creative gifts. And while we are not there yet as our hearts desire to be, I am holding firm to my faith believing that God’s dream in our hearts will soon be God’s fulfillment of His promise. I pray that in the ten years to pass from now til you, God moves in mighty ways to fulfill our desire to serve Him by caring for these precious souls.
May grace find you, Kim. May you never forget the mercy so freely lavished on you every day. May you always remember the love, the smiles, the answered prayers, the good, the legacy of God’s faithfulness to provide at all times, the testimony He calls you to live. The truth is this….I have no clue what the next ten years will hold before I reach you. I don’t know who will be traveling the journey at my side. I can’t imagine how I will get there or what the path will look like. But I am certain God will never leave me. My job is quite simple. To glorify God at all times. When it’s easy. During stress. On days when I can barely get out of bed and find the strength to fight. While celebrating the little victories. In fear of the future. Through tears of loss. Even when I want to choose selfishness. I simply want to be joyful in the years to come. Whatever my life looks like, whatever defines my circumstances, I simply want to be filled with joy and reflect Christ’s love, the truth of salvation and the hope of eternity.
Promise me, Kim, no matter what comes, no matter how easy or hard life gets, no matter who is at your side, you will stay faithful to the calling God has placed on your life. Remember the hard so you can relish the blessings. There is so much good. Don’t ever stop finding it.