A Letter For All the World’s Daughters

I wouldn’t have gone to the gold fields if it wasn’t for you.

If you hadn’t handed me Advil for my fever and sore throat, a glass of water for the Advil, a promise that it’d only be 10 minutes and I’d be sorry if I didn’t go to the fields.

We brought the food you’d made for the men.

One plate for your Dad in the combine and one plate for your little brother in the tractor, and you carry those dishes across the fields like a hymn to behold. The wind is all this hot smoldering.

How do you take the hard moments and dig for pure gold?






How does Aurora go from meaning a morning dawn to the city where a dark night rose and women and children and sacrificing men all fell?

How do you let one daughter keep walking out into a world where what glimmers in the black is all this wild-eyed disbelief — that one detonating moment can be minefield trying to sheer peace right off at the knees. How do you explain that living on your knees is best?

How do I come home from Haiti with its tattered mothers feeding babies water until they starve to death in the sun? How do I just arrange all the books by subjects on the shelves and place a vase of Queen Anne’s lace on the sill and make another bowl full of summer salad and watch the wagons go out to the gold yielding fields?

How do I love the daughter who came from somewhere inside of me, how do I love her into the fullness of a cross-shaped woman? And not shirk back when women are stolen in back seats and trafficked in side streets and debated in the church and objectified in the media and cut down by words and weapons and worry? It hasn’t rained here in weeks but I have wept.

Your hair blows across your face like a veil, daughter, and you never stop tucking it back, this brave revealing and still standing.

I see you.

How your mother has to learn to love you better.


I have to whisper to you — that all the other stories of how the world began has these warring gods and big bangs, but that is only the world right now.

In the beginning, our God spoke beauty because He is Beauty and the God of the Bible is an artist and what you must never forget is that you are His art. Touch your face right now and feel what you really are, what His Son whispers, “My masterpiece worth dying for, my beauty worth redeeming.”

I am sorry for all the ways I have ever made you feel less than what His love proves you are worth.

Did you know that your laugh has always sounded like a waterfall of grace to me?

I have to tell you that that He paints you pure loveliness in Christ, that He made you for here and now, to be a gift to the world, to the broken and needy and little and least, right today, right where you are, and there’s no other way to see anything.

Did I ever tell you that Terry Eagleton, a literary critic, critiqued the atheist Richard Dawkins with just this one deft stroke,

The difference between science and theology is whether you see the world as a gift or not.

Did I ever tell you that the only difference between a good day and a bad day is whether you see everything as a gift or not?

Did I ever tell you that hell is all about not embracing the Gift — and when we don’t embrace the gift that is in every moment, we invite the anguish to begin right now?

Did you know what one of the young women cut down by a bullet in Aurora, had only weeks prior just missed a bullet by another gunman? (Yes, though the world is that fallen splayed and ugly, He is always beautiful and you do have a choice to hold on to that — to Him.)

And her last entry in her journal, just after dodging that one bullet and just before her heart took the next ripping evil, she wrote what she realized in the face of death, what it all comes down to in the very end:

Every moment we have to live our life is a blessing.

So often I have found myself taking it for granted.

Every hug from a family member. Every laugh we share with friends. Even the times of solitude are all blessings.

Every second of every day is a gift…

I can’t help but be thankful…

That’s what the beautiful young woman, Jessica Ghawi, said in the end, the words she left behind to echo long after heart grew stiff and cold. Every second of every day is a gift — and I can’t help but be thankful. If you can’t help but be thankful —  then talk thankful and think thankful and act thankful because this is how you help your one blessed life.

There is no real thankfulness unless it is to Someone and thankfulness only helps your life because who you are thanking is the One who is all your Help.

How did you grow so tall and lovely when I was somehow turned around?


They say that time does this, grows you up and beautiful and away.

But today just didn’t automatically birth from yesterday, a scientific materialization of more time. Time can’t beget more time. Each day comes from somewhere — from SomeOne.

When the sun comes up, you can right see it — each day is another gift birthed straight from the grace of God. Only God can beget more time.

It’s His Grace that made you lovely. Grace manifest, day after gift after day. How can I look at you and not just — get out of bed everyday startled at the gift of the day and make the day a startling gift back to Him. There isn’t success apart from giving your life away and who can’t do this right where they are?

Do you see this? How thankfulness to God for His grace — for another moment, for a Messiah, for a mission— is what in turn pours our live out as a grace?

ThankFULLness is the very thing that makes our lives run over to fill the empty ache of a hurting world.

I thought of that in Haiti. I thought of that after Aurora. Success is seeking God where others doubt He can be found. Go to those places and do that and what other response can there be but a thanksgiving that gives your life away, that is the gift back to Him? Could I want anything more for you?

That’s what you have to keep asking as you walk across this field, as you just keep on walking, and you can never stop asking: Why let one hurt fill your whole horizon — when right behind you God gives one thousand gifts to fill your whole life?

The thing is, girl — just turn around.

The tractor turns at the end of the field. The combine turns.

The heads of wheat all turned and ready.

And you turn.





And I want you to hear me — there will be days that pierce you.

Days that hurt and many of them: we all must lament — when you must cry but never deny the goodness of God.

But whenever you are about to howl to the heavens, “I don’t deserve this!”, close your eyes and remember Christ hanging on the cross and say it again aloud, “I don’t deserve this.”

Grace is the most revolutionary perspective of all and it will turn everything around.

The only real perspective to see anything by is grace.

And if you always turn toward His grace, the bullets and barbaric of this world cannot. touch. you. And you’ll only become more beautiful, and His grace alone will turn you around and carry you right out and beyond all the ugliness of this world. I promise you this.

Turn and lean into it, daughter, lean all into His love.

When you laugh again, beautiful girl we named Hope, that’s what I think: It may not be easy to be a woman in this world. But it is always perfect to be a woman in His hand.

Do you know how beautiful you are? A woman of Christ being made into a woman of grace.

It’s what you told me when we got home, when we stood in the kitchen with the plates and ran the water and filled the sink —  you said that there was all these flecks of wheat that had blown into your hair.

And I could see them when you turned —

How all these flecks were making you into pure gold.




…. and my own turning around and counting more of His endless, One Thousand Gifts … thanks be to God for all of these blessings:

Reading the book of Romans as a family {#4120}

an old  friend who stays close as I wrestle hard {#4121}

rain in the forecast ({#4122}

#8 on the NYTimes… thankfulness could change the world in Jesus’ name {#4123}

a son who willing travelled across the country this week to be a counsellor at Christian camp for at-risk kids {#4124}

a brother who drove him — and joins as a counsellor for the week {#4125}

this grace of serving at the Toronto event, Eucharisteo, a concert evening of symphony and praise, with 100% of proceeds to build a Compassion Child Development Center in the Philippines… I’d love to meet you there? {#4126}

The Retailer’s Choice Awards for 2102 — and the nearest I may ever be to Mr. Billy Graham? {#4127}

this year’s wheat harvest {#4128}

The way these firemen are real heros….  there’s always a ministry like this right around the corner? {#4129}

a daughter… the staggering grace of a daughter… {#4130}

all of His daughters… grateful for the gift of being a gift back to all of God’s daughters… {#4131}


Take July’s Joy Dare? Make it a month of Freedom from grumbling! 

Thanks is a word that takes us before God and into the joy of our true homeland…

Print it for the fridge and dare everyone in the family to find these 3 gifts from His hand each day:


Click here to print July’s Joy Dare! Put it on the fridge! Dare the Kids! And begin this week — this month-– right!

Count three gifts a day, 1000 gifts in 2012 (and be entered to win the NikonD90 camera?)

Thank-you is a word that can change you, your world — the whole world!


Each day of July, either share your gifts on on Twitter {label with #1000gifts #JoyDare so we can find you!}, or with us in the gratitude community at Facebook , or on Pinterest (#1000gifts).

Each day, 3 people will who share their gifts via Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest will be randomly selected & entered into a drawing for JOY BASKET: a gift card @ Amazon {100$} & {signed copies of One Thousand Gifts, the photographic gift book, the DayBrightner, and the family gratitude journal} Give thanks to Him in the assembly!

Join us? And happily change everything by keeping your own crazy list of One Thousand Gifts?

Please, jump in, make your life about giving thanks to God! — Just add the direct URL to your specific 1000 gift list post… and if you join us, we humbly ask that you please help us find each other in our refrain of thanks by sharing the community’s graphic within your post.

Give thanks to the Lord! His Love Endures Forever!

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