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Love Letters

Posted by Bethanny Lawson on December 21, 2017 at 11:55 AM Comments comments (0)



I'm not allowed to read my parent's love letters.


There have been a few times, when we're rearranging furniture or moving to a new home, when my mom will pull the letters out. All of us kids know what they are. We tend to flock when she gets them out, like our chickens do when they hear us shake their food bag. She'll read them, and we'll read the envelopes, because that's all we're allowed to read. They're quite hilarious. My parents rarely used their real names on the envelopes, it was always nicknames, some so outlandish the post office rejected them.


It's incredible to me that my parents still have those letters. They lived in an age where love letters were a primary form of communication. As a kid, it made me upset that I wasn't allowed to read them. Now though, I understand that love letters are surely deeply personal, a treasure that will hold value, that someone cherishes and takes care of, no matter how yellow or faded the paper and ink become.


I've always said, despite the ability to communicate instantly these days, I want to find a guy who will write love letters back and forth with me. I mean, c'mon, you know it sounds adorable.


I know exactly what I'd do with those letters, too.


I'd keep every last one of them. I'd probably read over them every day. I'd leave tear stains on the heart-wrenchingly sweet parts, blush over the areas that talk about how they see me, I'd giggle over our pet names. I'd cherish them, keep them where they're easily accessible. In fact, I might leave them open all the time. After all, what if I see them in passing on the table and just have to pick them up to read a few lines and be renewed by my love?


I'd read and re-read my favorite sections, especially the parts that would say things like “I miss you, and I can't wait to come back and see you.” I'd hold them to my chest when I finished reading and think “I can't believe someone like this thinks all these wonderful things about me.”


I'm getting butterflies just thinking about it.


Oh, the significance of a love letter. How I hope to experience that joy someday. How I long for the time I get to have the delight I've described above.


But wait... I already have.


That's right, mom. I have a collection of love letters sitting on my desk. And they are precious. And they do give me goosebumps. And they do give me a thousand emotions I'll never be able to describe because they're too beautiful.


You can come ground me now.


You could say I'm head over heels for the guy. And the best thing is, I think he's even more head over heels for me.


I'm not kidding. This is not a joke. I just thought it was confession time. How can I contain something this good? I don't even mind if my mom does panic and goes to my desk to read this collection of mine for herself. I'm in love. I can't write so authentically about something I've never experienced before.


I'm being treated like gold. I'm being called perfect, beautiful, wanted, and so many more things. And believe me, I've got some amazing things to call him, too. Things like wonderful, mighty, everlasting, and Abba Father.


I hope I've succeeded in at least mildly freaking some people out, even if most of you probably know me well enough to have been suspicious this whole time. But think about it. We call the Bible God's love letter to us, but do we treat it like it really is? What if we did?


Let me repeat some of the things I said earlier, but apply it to the Bible this time and let it sink in deep.


What if we read over it every single day? What if we left tear stains on the heart-wrenchingly sweet parts, blush over the areas God talks about how He sees us, giggle over the things He calls us? What if we cherished it, kept it where it's easily accessible? What if we left it open all the time, so we can read it when we pass by and be renewed by God's love? What if we read and re-read our favorite sections, especially the part that says He misses us, and He's coming back for us?


What if we held it to our chest when we finish reading it and think “I can't believe someone like this thinks all these wonderful things about me?”


Are you getting the butterflies yet?


It's a beautiful thing when people write love letters to each other. They say and feel all these things about each other in their letters. It touches the heart on a level unattainable by any others. So how much deeper it is to be that loved by the creator of the heavens.


I am guilty of looking at the Bible as nothing more than a book. I've thought it boring, long, hard to understand. But today I'm seeing it through new eyes.


That book sitting on my desk is full of incredible promises and praises and love notes and encouragement and belief and power I will never deserve. I am unfathomably loved. It's an unnatural love, one that makes me laugh, blush, cry, gasp, sing, and re-read every single day.


And it's a love you can have, too.

Dear Mom...

Posted by Bethanny Lawson on May 5, 2016 at 1:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Dear Mommy,

 

     Mother's Day comes only once a year. It seems odd and insignificant to spend only one day out of the year celebrating the people who brought us into existence and shaped who we are. Once every year we do what small things we can to show you our appreciation for all that you do 24/7/365. You deserve to be celebrated every day. There's never enough that I can do or say, nothing I can give you that measures up to all that you've given me. It's one of those days of the year where I am forced to pretend like "thank you" and "I love you" is enough. But those things never seem to say what I want them to say. And the amount of times I say it doesn't add up to the amount it should. Those words touch the fringes of what I feel, but they don't go deep enough.

 

     The question is, how does one tell another person that they love them to the extent beyond what words can say? Is it even possible to express as much love as I want to? As much love as you deserve?

 

     And the answer is, you've shown me how. You've been saying "I love you" to me, to our whole family, your entire life. You've been saying it from the time you were a girl who wanted twelve kids when she grew up. Your dream has always been to be a wife and mom, and I've been told we are your dream come true. It's one thing to have your own dreams come true, but to be told that you are another person's dream come true? Especially when that person is the one you most look up to, admire, and love? That is an unmatchable honor.

 

     When you prayed over each one of us from the moment you knew we existed, that was you saying "I love you." From the time you first held each of us in your arms to coaching us through our early accomplishments and friendships, you've been saying "I love you." When helping us during those awkward in between years when everything is changing, from the way we think and perceive the world to the way our skin behaves, you were saying "I love you." When I started to pursue the things I've wanted my whole life, when I've started to fulfill what you've raised me up to do and become... you've believed in me the whole time, and you've been saying "I love you" through all of that.

 

     Most importantly, you've taught me that Jesus loves me. I was already His in the womb, because you dedicated my life to Him, and it was the best thing you could have done for me. And now you, along with my father, help me to see the very tiniest bit of what my heavenly father must be like through your example. I think I understand Him better because I have you.

 

     You've been a mother for sixteen years, and you're still saying "I love you" in everything you do every single day. It's in how you let me follow you around the house and talk until I have said everything that needs to be said and then some. It's how you hold me when I need to cry. It's in our hugs before I go to work or to bed each night. It's in how we text each other back and forth when we're apart because I just can't stand being away from you. It's in how after long days, I just need to be with you in silence, because you mean peace, acceptance, comfort, and love. It's in how you encourage me to live my dreams passionately every single day. It's in the fact that you are my best friend, and I can tell when I'm with you that it's not forced. You truly enjoy your children, and that means the world to us.

 

     It also means everything that you listen to us and take us seriously, even when we're not making any sense. Even when we're very young, you listen and discuss things with us in mature ways. You take our opinions seriously, and treat us like people who matter. You believe in us when we don't believe in ourselves. If I come to you and say "this may sound crazy and stupid, but..." you listen and then say "That sounds amazing." You're the mom who has her kids with her everywhere she goes, and there's a massive hole any time we're apart.

 

     I know I will never have a friend as valuable as you are to me. There is no one who understands my heart and very being like you do. The only other people who have sacrificed as much are the other people in our family, and the only one who has sacrificed more for me is Jesus. I'd say if the only other being in existence beating you at these things is Him, you're doing a pretty amazing job.

 

     I have done nothing to deserve you. I am so incredibly blessed that God chose to put me into your life. I've been growing up for sixteen years, and you've been patiently training me all that time, when I was selfish, didn't understand, wanted things my way, fought with you, struggled through petty problems, made messes that didn't need to be made. You loved me through it all, and it's because of all of that that I am the person I am today. Not perfect, but a whole lot better than I was and a whole lot better than I could have been. Still growing, but grateful. Even now I know that I can't quite understand, but someday I hope to have my own children, and I hope to be half the mom you have been. If I can ever achieve your level of love in motherhood, I will count my life a massive success.

 

     Your motherhood is not just something you turn on every day when you get out of bed and turn off when you're away from us. You are a mom. It's part of your being and you can't change it. And you couldn't be anything more important.

 

     God knew that this crazy family was going to need someone who could hold them all together and love them all equally despite the fact that not a single one of them was anything alike. And we all know we're difficult. But you've perservered spectacularly. The hand the rocks the cradle rules the world, and you, my dearest mother, are one of the greatest rulers of them all.

 

 

     Mommy, I love you. With all of my heart, I love you. I will always need my Mommy. I will always be your little girl. You've always been there for me, and I will always be there for you. Other people come and go, but a mother is forever. And the family that you've created is forever. And I will always be grateful for the love you have demonstrated, the full measure of it that you have lived out every day of your life for as long as I've known you.

 

I love you.

 

Your daughter,

 

~Bethanny

Dear Little Brother

Posted by Bethanny Lawson on February 12, 2016 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Dear Little Brother,


     I read a post the other day that I found on Facebook about why being the older sister to a brother is the best thing in the world. I was going to share it with you, but it wasn't good enough for you, so I wrote my own. Here goes.


     Since the day you were born, I have absolutely adored you as my prince charming, my knight in shining armor, my partner in crime, and most importantly, one of my very best friends. You know who my other best friends are, and they're all related to us, too. But you, bro... you were the first. My first new best friend to welcome into the world, to be excited about living life with. For a while it was just us two, sharing that bunk bed, jumping on pillow trails that led across the living room, putting on puppet shows, and carrying our baby blankets with us everywhere we went. We held onto those for a while, kind of like we've held on to each other.


     Time has passed, and there are six of us now, all the best of friends. As the only boy among five girls, you're pretty special. I no longer tower over you, but you have to lean down to hug me. (By the way, I LOVE it when you hug me.) I may be the older sister, but I'm not the “big” sister anymore, just like you're not the “little” brother anymore, although I'm still going to call you that because it's more endearing to me than “younger brother.”


     So even though some things have changed, a lot has stayed the same. The best part of us is that we have a relationship that doesn't change, no matter what happens to us. We change, our situations change, we mature, we don't play with matchbox cars and stuffed animals anymore. But our love stays the same, and the bond that is so close and unbreakable stands firm.


     There is nothing better than having a little brother for my best friend who I know always has my back. We both understand that we will ultimately do anything for each other. I hate having activities I do without you. Of course, I don't expect us to have all the same passions, but I'm used to traveling as a pair. I like to have you along with me. We're Sherlock and John. I even like to make new people think we're a couple, because I am not ready to share you with another girl, and because come on, it's really funny.


     We share “squads.” We stay up until three in the morning together having deep conversations along with making ourselves laugh until our stomachs hurt and trying to do backwards somersaults. We take each other to our favorite movies all the time. We'll go wander around in random places together just because and have a blast doing really nothing. We discover new things together (remember Doctor Who? Blink? Huddled in that big chair together, truly scared to death?) We steal each others food, and yes give each other plenty of food, too. We listen to music together and sing and dance. When we're excited about something, we want to tell each other. When we're down about something, or confused, we come to each other. I have gotten so much comfort from you just by sitting in your room watching you mess with Legos. If people disappoint us, if everything else fails, we come rant to each other and tell each other it's all gonna work out. You're there when nobody else is there. You're trustworthy when I can't trust anyone else. You have wisdom when I feel lost in insanity. I can sleep on your shoulder and read a book while you play Minecraft and it's one of the coziest, safest-feeling places in the world.


     And that's another thing. You never fail to protect and guide me even when I don't want you to or think I don't need it. You've had the opportunity to say “I told you so” and didn't. You loan me your tactical pen when I want to go across the street to get donuts. You'll go walk places with me when you don't want to go just to know I'm safe. And you'll always offer me advice (even if I don't ask for it) but in the end you support me in all my endeavors.


     In short, I love you. All those things I said you were in the beginning you still are now; my prince charming, my knight in shining armor, my partner in crime. My best friend. I hope I can be the same for you, because you've been so much for me ever since that magical, wonderful day you came into my world. And you will forever be that much and more to me.


     Your “big” sister,


~Bethanny

Dear Girls...

Posted by Bethanny Lawson on September 14, 2015 at 7:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Dear lovely ladies,


I wish I knew who to credit this quote to, but it seems the author is unknown. "A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms."


I've had so many different kind of friends. I've had friends who struggle with depression, eating disorders, anxiety, being made fun of because they have something about them a little different than the rest of society. I've seen extremely young girls think they have to dress or eat or act a certain way to be acceptable. They saw themselves in ways that were not positive, and thus they saw life in a way that wasn't as positive as it could be. They tried harder, for themselves or for other people. That only made things worse.


Guess what I saw in them?


I saw friends. Girls I love and cherish, who I could be myself around. People, just like me. I saw people to confide in, people who understood my deepest fears, people just waiting for someone to discover who they really are, beautiful people, who were most beautiful when it was just us, and they were themselves. We didn't have to try hard for each other, and it was then that they were most beautiful.So here's what I want you to know. The people you think you aren't good enough for think the same thing about you or other people. Everyone has someone they think they have to impress. That person may be themselves. But look... we're all just girls. Fellow human beings. We don't need to impress each other.


You may think you need to change something about yourself. Or maybe enhance it. But you're already beautiful because of who you are. Anyone who doesn't see that is blind. How do I know? Because people just like you are some of my dearest friends. Because what you're feeling, I've probably felt before myself.


And in the end, it's not about us. There are other people out there struggling with worse than you, there always are. There is beauty in this world, but there are also horrors, and people have to live in those horrors. So reach out to a sister in need. You could change their life, and you will definitely change yours. Imagine a world where we all stopped competing with each other, and instead started loving and supporting each other. This goes beyond just girls... this is how all humans, everywhere, should treat each other.


We all need to bloom where we are planted, as the flower we are. There's no reason to want to be a daisy if you're already a zinnia. After all, who wants a flower bed full of one type of flower? Diversity makes it even more beautiful. If every girl is a flower, and every single one of them stopped competing and just bloomed... the flower bed of the world would be an even more radiant and beautiful place.