Dear Daughter,

I was recently asked, “If your daughter had to say one thing about you, what would you want it to be? If she had to describe you as a mother in just one word, what would you want her to say?” My initial response… “awesome”… but in all actuality, it wasn’t that easy to sum up. A simple question, so I thought, however, its very essence provoked a much deeper internal dialogue.

Days later I found myself still reflecting on the legacy I wish to leave with you as you navigate through your journey. What can be learned gleaning from the experiences we have faced together and those you may have witnessed as an innocent bystander in my whirlwind of life? After contemplating this question for quite some time, I’m not exactly sure I have come to a concrete answer. So many things that could be said, but as you envision the woman I have grown to be thus far, my greatest desire is for you to see the love that I have shared.

Love. So much meaning wrapped up in just 4 letters. Throughout this journey, we carry scars and wounds imprinted on our hearts making the task of freely giving and receiving love all the more challenging. Life happens. We live and we learn. We get hurt and we hurt others. Many spend an entire lifetime in hopes of discovering the true meaning of love. Most have no idea what to look for when attempting to grasp the all-consuming desire for which each of us long.

Naturally, I tend to do unto others as they have done unto me. Yes, I will undoubtedly show an abundance of love… as long as you are following my stipulations and demands and doing exactly what I want you to do. If you deceive me, I will deceive you. If you hurt me, I am going to hurt you. If you lie to me, I will lie to you. If you do not support me, I most definitely will not support you. If you are not loyal to me, why should I be loyal to you? What an immature “tit-for-tat” mindset, right? Consequently, some of the most meaningful relationships have been collateral damage due to my actions. In some instances, I have forfeited relationships with people who may have potentially been a key component in helping me flourish. MAJOR. PROBLEM. I had to examine my innermost being and discover the root of the problem. The root of the problem was me! I lied to myself. I deceived myself. I didn’t support myself. I didn’t think highly of myself. I wasn’t happy with myself. I didn’t love myself. Sound familiar? Join the club! First things first, you can’t truly love someone else if you don’t first love yourself. Understand, self-love is a process. Embrace who you are and continually work to improve the woman you are growing to be.

Truth be told, sometimes it can be exceedingly difficult to show others the same love that Christ has afforded us. A love that is insurmountably unconditional. My challenge to you, learn to love unconditionally just as Christ has loved us. With all the great accomplishments you may achieve, it means nothing if you do not have love. So be kind. Be patient. Be satisfied. Be modest. Be humble. Be meek. Be polite. Be thoughtful. Be forgiving. Be confident. When we look at the very essence of love through the example Christ has given us, selflessness is at its authentic core. Beloved, never forget love always prospers… ALWAYS!

Respect the Process,

Ana J.