A Letter from an Older Sister
Dear Sister Abigail,
Greetings to you in the name of our dear Jesus, and also to your sister and parents. I was thrilled to receive your little paper and to see how the Lord is using you to work for Him. How dare you say I don’t know you, when I was one of the first to see you when you arrived on this earth! Your sister, Coquetta, stayed with us while you were born, and I got a peek at you when your mom and dad came to pick her up. But no doubt your memories of that are foggy….
Yes, my dear, there is something I would like to pass along to you and anyone else who is interested, that I wish I had known when I was your age. The secret to a successful Christian life, whether male of female, young or old, parent or single, is to learn for oneself, as early as possible, the great, pure, unfailing, unconditional love that God has for each one of us, and to be able to accept it for yourself. For many years I came to the Lord as “my parent’s child,” in a sense; I knew He loved them, and I sort of tried to shelter under that umbrella. Later I was close to an older sister with whom I prayed often, and I always felt my prayers were more effective when with her because I knew the Lord loved her. Then circumstances ended those opportunities for close fellowship, and I was left on my own to fight some serious battles with self.
One day I was thinking of Jesus and His love for mankind when I began to realize that He doesn’t love me with a general, one-size-fits-all love, as I had supposed, but with a personal, particular love for me, myself. Always when someone said, “I love you,” I had the secret thought, “If you really knew me, you wouldn’t.” Suddenly I realized that here was Someone who knew all about me; all my meanness and failings and secret shortcomings, and that it didn’t matter to Him! He loved me anyway—me, myself—not because I am my mother’s child, not tolerating me because I am the friend of someone He loves, but just for myself—asking nothing in return, not requiring that I earn His love or deserve it, just pouring it out on me because He is Love! This is not something I can really explain—you have to experience it for yourself to make it real—but this knowledge has changed my life. Because I have His free, unconditional love, I can love others freely. Because I feel myself so beloved by Him, I am able to talk to Him of all the secret things I could never tell anyone, without feeling scared or vulnerable or defensive. Because of this marvelous love, I can reach out to people who don’t love or even know me, and not feel hurt or rejected if they don’t respond. Being sure of God’s love brings the most wonderful freedom you can imagine. There’s no room for insecurity or inferiority or loneliness of any sort. His love feels every need and satisfies every longing, just as the song says. Here is how I saw Jesus’ love for me:
Once I was visiting with an older man, a friend, when his beloved young daughter walked in the room unexpectedly. I was moved to tears to see how his face lighted up when he saw her, how he got up quickly to welcome her, his surprise and delight at this visit. As I thought on this later, the Lord said to me, “That’s how I feel about you.” I almost felt that I was His favorite! But in truth, we are all His favorites. Did He not give the parable of the one lost sheep, and again the lost coin? How sad that we often fail to accept that love as a personal reality, as I did for so long. What a waste! As if someone had died and left me a rich inheritance, but I go through life a beggar simply because I don’t claim what was given to me. My advice to you and all who haven’t already found this love personally is to get on your knees and ask the Lord to reveal it to you. Why go through life without it when it’s there and it’s yours?! Why see God as a stern, reproving taskmaster, when He’s your Father, your Daddy, even and your best friend? Once as I poured out my love to Him, in my spirit I felt Him put His hand on my head and call me “Daughter.” If you don’t have that relationship with Him, don’t waste another minute of your life without it!
I’m praying for you and Coquetta that the Lord will bless you both, teach and nurture you and draw you closer to Him. It’s so encouraging to see young people eager to work for the Lord.
With much love in Christ,
Sister Patsy Cain
The Village, OK.