LETTERS TO AURELIA CLAIRE LOUVIER
Jean-Thomas and Brooke Louvier
That's how many odds you had to beat just be born... 9 billion!
Hello Aurelia my beautiful baby girl,
It's me your daddy.
This is one of the hardest letters for me to write... Not because I don't know you. Oh, on the contrary I know you oh so very well. I know you because I know myself and you are part of me. I know you because I know your mother and you are part of her... And I know you because I know my Heavenly Father and you are completely his. I know you are a great and perfect gift, not only to your mother and me, but also to this world, a world that cannot contain the greatness and love that is on the inside of you.
No, this letter is hard because I honestly don't know where I'll be at during all the most important moments of your life. So while other dads get to think of things to help their daughters through life bit-by-bit and moment-by-moment, I'm racing to try and place everything I could ever say during one of those moments right now, in this letter. So after many attempts at writing, re-writing, erasing, and writing again... Here we go.
I love you Aurelia Claire Louvier. The day I found out that your mother was pregnant I was speechless. The hour that I heard your heartbeat at the midwives, I was crying... And the minute I saw your sweet face on the sonogram, I was in love.
I am so honored to be your father. I still can't believe that God gave me a life so wonderful and precious as your's. Entrusting me with its care and protection, and until my last breath I will do just that.
But there will be days when I cannot be right there for you my baby girl. Days where the world will do everything to crash down on you.
They may tell you you can't be who you've been called to be. But there is a God who called you, protects you, redeems you, and created you to be just as you are. (Isaiah 43:1)
They will tell you that your dreams are impossible. You are bigger than impossible, You and your Heavenly Father are a team that can and will do things beyond what the world has imagined. (Philippians 4:13)
They will gather in numbers to bully you. They have no idea how strong you are. General George Patton once said "it's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog." (1 John 4:4)
They will blacken your blue skies with doubts and fears. They will try to rain and your parade. Just keep God as your umbrella and you can just sing your song in the rain. (2 Timothy 1:7)
And they will attempt to make this world seem void of love. But just remember my voice, the one that would say this before the day you were born. The voice you heard in the womb. I love you Aurelia Claire, I loved you before you were born. And God loved you before the creation of time itself. (Ephesians 1:4)
I hope to teach you so much more, I pray that I can always be there when you need me and call for me. But, in the moments where it's just you and your Heavenly Father, these five things prove you will always come out the winner. I know that you have what it takes to reach all your dreams and more. I know this because you beat 9 billion odds. Considering there are only 7.2 billion people in the world... I'd say you took on the world and won already.
I love you and I can't wait to meet you.
Dear Baby Girl,
I can’t wait to welcome you into the world.
You are brave to enter this place. It’s big and wide and complicated and dangerous.
But it’s beautiful too.
It’s filled with laughter and the smell of fresh-cut grass, and light shining on ocean waves and soon, you.
Your arrival will make this place better.
You and your perfect fingers, your smile, your eyes ready to capture all the color and light, to soak it all in and fill yourself up.
You are a brand new member of the human race. But it’s not a race in the sense of a competition where you shove everyone else out of the way to get first place.
To win at life is to ravenously live every moment, no fear, no regrets, nothing holding you back.
Right now, as you grow within this protected, temporary home, you are pure and perfect.
And my hope for you is that you will know that you can always stay that way.
Some people think that the excitement, wonder and awe we have when we first start out,inevitably fades.
They say loss of innocence is a right of passage into adulthood, that “real life,” filled with all its pain and disappointment will ultimately change you.
But as you grow up, do whatever you can to keep child-likeness.
Play. Giggle. Trust. Hug. Explore. Be silly. Look for the good.
Because the world will try to steal what matters right from under you.
Before you know it, heartbreak will come, and if you let it, it will lead to bitter cynicism.
But if you’re real careful not to shut yourself up to the pain, if you still see life as still good through it all, something shiny and new will come out.
And you’ll realize how beautiful all of this is. Your existence.
Baby girl, I want you to always know you’re beautiful.
Beyond the perfect skin I know you’ll have, the gorgeous hair and eyes, the sweet personality,
I want you to recognize that beauty that comes from loving life,
From loving the whole world so deeply you just have to drink in every moment.
From a love that comes from within you and surrounds you,
From a still small voice that defines you.
I want you to know that who you are is so much more than physical beauty.
Beyond beautiful, I want you to know you are brave.
There are a lot of things in life that will try to bring fear into your heart.
Fear will paralyze you, steal your joy and passion.
I want you to know, you have the strength in you to defeat every monster.
You have the light in you to shine through every dark place.
You are a fighter, and you have the kindness and wisdom to know what is worth fighting for.
Beyond beautiful, I want you to be your brilliant self.
Don’t ever let anyone box you in.
Don’t be afraid to question the things you are told that make you feel less than amazing.
Don’t be afraid to make up your own dance, to your own rhythm.
Think outside of what the majority is doing.
Create something extraordinary.
I know you have it in you.
Beyond beautiful, I want you to live a life of conviction and compassion.
To love the loveless and see the potential in every fellow human, no matter how “dirty” or far gone.
To really care for the “least of these” not just as another popular cause or spiritual duty,
But with a deep, aching sense that speaking life into another soul, fighting injustice, freeing someone from bondage, that giving a single glass of water or piece of bread away is the most important thing you can do.
Beyond beautiful, I want you to know Jesus, for who He really is.
Your friend, who will always be with you.
Complete love and grace.
Truth that sets you free.
The giver of all good gifts in life.
And if anyone ever tries to tell you anything different, you will know deep in your heart they are wrong.
You will know what is good and right and true because you will know Him.
And you won’t need a soapbox or pedestal because people will see your life and know what is real.
And beyond everything, I want you to know you are loved.
So, so loved.
That love is what makes you grow, what gets you through life’s challenges, what shows you a billion possibilities.
That love will be your choice. Above being right, being smart, being cool, successful or tough.
That love will be your story.
And your story, my dear, will be a great adventure.
I can’t wait to start at the beginning and watch as you turn the pages.
See you real soon.
1 CORINTHIANS 9
Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord?
If I be not an apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you: for the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord.
Mine answer to them that do examine me is this:
Have we not power to eat and to drink?
Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?
Or I only and Barnabas, have not we power to forbear working?
Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock?
Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also?
For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen?
Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope.
If we have sown unto you spiritual things, it is a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?
If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ.
Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar?
Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.
But I have used none of these thing: neither have I written these things, that it should be so done unto me: for it were better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void.
For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!
For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.
What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel.
For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.
And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law;
To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.
To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.
And this I do for the the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.
Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.
And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; be we an incorruptible.
I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:
But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
Kristi Vorland Wilson
My heart is filled with gratitude this morning. God's amazing love is overwhelming. His peace passes all understanding (that means I can't figure out how I can have so much peace when things seem anything but peaceful) and His grace (giving me what I don't deserve) is so marvelous!
Each one of these wonderful gifts are waiting under the tree wrapped in gold wrapping (the color of my kingly inheritance) and topped with bright red bows (the color of the blood He shed for me). Each day I have the opportunity to receive these gifts anew; each day I have the opportunity to share these gifts with other; each day I have the joy of saying thank you to my wonderful Father who has given these gifts to me!
"But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ." Ephesians 4:7
"Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord. According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises; that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." 2 Peter 1:2-4
Cliff Notes for Christians
As many of you reading this may know (or at least have formed an educated guess there of) I am a christian. I enjoy my personal relationship with Jesus, and I truly find this walk of faith, being a christian, a wonderful thing. Like many wonderful things, such as Key Lime pie, people manage to muck up perfectly simple concepts. (It's not green, people. And the right topping is whipped cream, not meringue! Find some other use for those egg whites.) Lately I have been challenged on not only my beliefs but also my simplistic view there of. So consider this my "cliff notes" to simplistic Christ Following.
Chapter 1: Why I believe in Jesus
1. It is reasonable that God might exist. (While there may not be any scientific and mathematical evidence to prove this, there is also no similar evidence to disprove this)
2. Further, it is reasonable (based on the evidence) that this God who might exist might be personal and therefore have communicated with human beings.
3. The worldís religions are a reasonable place to look for evidence of such communication.
4. Among those representing the world religions, Jesus of Nazareth seems to hold the consensus as the person most likely to provide convincing evidence of the God who might exist. (Since Jesus is- in some way- incorporated into allmajor world religions. )
5. The resurrection of Jesus is a reasonable explanation for the existence of Christianity as a distinct belief system from Judaism.
6. An examination of the various alternatives and existing evidence convinces me that the Resurrection is, in fact, true.
7. If the Resurrection is true, then Jesusí statements about himself, God, Truth, Sin, etc. (The Christian worldview) are true by deduction.
8. Based on this conclusion, I relate to the God who I now believe exists through Jesus.
9. My experience matches what Jesus describes, providing personal verification of the truth of Christianity.
Chapter 2: Why I Am A Christian
1. It is not because I find a life of sin disdainful. (even the bible admits that sin is pleasurable in many many ways)
2. It is not because it makes life easier. (The further I travel on this walk of faith the less paved the road becomes)
3. It is not because I believe it's the only way to be happy. (This is a common erroneous claim made by some misguided Christians)
4. It's because I love God (After my searching into Jesus and why I believe in him I discover how much he loves me and just as the Bible says in 1 John 4:19 "We love Him because He first loved us."
5. It's because there is a gap between who I am and who I want to be. (Just as ever person similarly aspires, I want to leave behind a legacy. I want to leave something for my children and my children's children to be proud of. I realize I can not do this on my own)
Chapter 3: Why I Read the Gospel
1. To learn more about God's plan for this world
2. To learn more about God's plan for humanity
3. To learn more about God's plan for my life
4. To increase my faith
5. To seek guidance
6. To find hope and comfort
7. To discover LOVE
Chapter 4: Why I Share the Gospel
1. A desire to obey God and submit to something greater than myself
2. A love for people ( The more time I spend with God and in his word, the more my view on life and the people in change... I can no longer look at people and only see them in passing.)
3. A humble honor (The fact that I remember where I came from and realize that I am just one person nothing more and nothing less, I realize that it's not a duty to spread this message but the greatest honor any human being can be given.)
4. A chance for a legacy (I realize that in sharing this message I have the chance to become a part of something so much greater than myself. Something that I can hand to not only my children but many generations to follow. I stop an realize that the possibility of me taking just a few precious moments with one person might possible have an effect on the lives of an endless number, this is not unfathomable)
5. A chance to live (Yes as a believer I do look forward to the glories of heavenly life, but I realize that my moments here on earth are for a purpose larger than counting down days till my burial. I want to live in the greatest adventure ever promised to a single soul. And I want to share that adventure with each person I meet.)