Dear Tori

Dear Tori,

I heard a song this morning that reminded me of you. After I woke up singing Strong Enough, I thought Matthew West would be the perfect soundtrack to my writing. After selecting his playlist on my iPod, I settled into my chair to get to work. It’s not new music to me. I don’t know how many times I have heard it before. But today, the words meant something different. One song in particular, a song called To Me, caught my attention. The moment I heard him sing the words, “Well it breaks my heart every time I see the world break yours in two,” the story I wanted to write flew out of my head. All I could think about was my beautiful niece and how rough life has been on you lately.

I kept listening to the song, paying very close attention to each word. Maybe all of it isn’t about you. OK, so I suppose it is fair to say Mr. West probably didn’t have you in mind at all when he wrote the lyrics to this song. But there is so much in it that is just so YOU. If I were to write something about just how special you are (which I suppose I am doing with this letter) I couldn’t do much better than he did.

Your laughter really is one of my favorite sounds. You were the first baby I got to live with and see every day. I used to love coming home from work or school to hear you laughing as you played with your parents or grandparents. No matter how bad my day was, it was hard to be sad or upset with such a happy little girl in the house.

Ever since you were tiny, you have had a beautiful smile. Your smile fills up your whole face. It adds a special sparkle to your eyes. It has always shown the joy in your heart, the joy you find in life. Do you remember when my Rylee went to Heaven? I didn’t think I would smile ever again. But you kept smiling when you said, “Aunt Lynn, don’t be sad. Your baby is with Jesus. And you will always have me to play with.” Your smile helped to bring my smile back.

Now you are 17. Playing with your crazy aunt isn’t nearly as important as hanging out with your friends or boyfriend. And that’s OK. I know you had to grow up sooner or later. (Later would have been better for me….) You have grown into an absolutely beautiful young lady, both inside and out. How can I not be proud of that?

I know you have had your heart broken recently. More than once. I’ve cried right along with you. You probably want to hear that it will never happen again, that the next time you give your heart away it will be to the boy who will protect and treasure it the way your heart deserves to be protected and treasured. Oh how I wish I could promise you that. But I can’t see the future. And I can’t protect you from the pain and heartbreak that it might bring. If I could, I would. I’d happily take all of those bumps and bruises for you—without complaint—if that would keep the smile on your face and the laughter in your heart.

Some day you will find the right special someone for you. I don’t know when or where it will happen, or who that someone might be. But I have faith that it will happen.

Until then, I hope you realize how wonderful and very special you are. The world is a much more beautiful place because you are in it. I can’t say it any better than Matthew West did, so I will close this letter with the words from his song:

            To me you are

Heaven’s finest invention by far

So much brighter

Than the brightest star

What I’d give to make you see

Who you are to me

I love you, Miss Tori.

All my love forever,

Aunt Lynn


Goosebump Faith

Your faith is so strong you give me goosebumps.

I read that on my Facebook page this morning and I wasn’t sure what to think.  I’m sure it was meant as a compliment.  As a matter of fact, I know it was.  The woman who wrote it isn’t just some random somebody.  She is a friend, and I am confident that she was trying to be uplifting in her words.

Problem is, reading the words made me feel sort of like a fake and a phony.

Strong faith…ME?  I sure don’t feel like I am very strong in my faith.  I feel SCARED, more scared than I want to admit.  First the back.  Then the stroke.  And now the doctors tell me there are two masses on my thyroid.  I found out about the masses on Monday, and was told on Tuesday that more tests need to be done to determine just what the masses are.  My doctor did say that he thinks it is very unlikely that either mass is cancer.  Thank you, Jesus, for that!

Back to the faith thing….  My friend posted the above comment because I’d something along the lines of being scared but trusting that God will get me through this.  I don’t know that it is really some deep seeded, strong faith that made me do that.  It’s the fear.

I can’t do anything about what is happening, so I have no choice but to let God handle it all.

On my own, I am too weak to handle this.  Trying to be strong—for my husband, for my kids, for everyone around me—is so tiring.  Sometimes I feel like I can’t even admit out loud that I am scared.

But I am.  My name is Lynn, and I am scared of what is happening inside of my body right now.

The way I see it, though, I have two choices.  I can give in to that fear and hide in my bed with a box of Girl Scout Cookies and a tub of butter pecan ice cream, avoiding anyone and everyone who loves me.  After all, if I don’t see them, I won’t have to pretend to be strong.

Or I can admit to the fear and hand it off to God.  Health issues aside, I have a great life.  My husband is the best I could ever have hoped for.   I swear, he makes Prince Charming look like an ogre.  My sons are full of life and full of love.  My parents are awesome.  And I have the most wonderful friends a girl could want.  And I have a ministry through my writing that I can feel God moving through.  If I give into the fear, I could never enjoy and appreciate any of that.

This song by Matthew West has been on my heart all week long.  It says just what I am feeling.

God, I can’t do this on my own—I don’t have the strength.  But I know that I can do ALL things through Your strength.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!