Have you ever shot an arrow from a bow? Maybe at summer camp you once had the opportunity to shoot at a target with one? My husband is an archery hunter and spends one month each year trying to kill an elk with one of these weapons. He enjoys the sport, but also does this to provide delicious, organic meat for our family.
There is an enormous amount of skill involved in a successful archery hunt. You must prepare in advance by practicing shooting at a target. The sight must be aligned exactly. You need to have the right timing as far as drawing back the bow so your arm does not get too tired or shaky. The animal you are shooting at must be positioned at just the right angle so you get a clean shot so as not to cause unnecessary suffering. Timing, alignment, position, knowledge, wisdom- these are all necessary skills to have before releasing that arrow into the air at your intended target.
Now, in the case of archery hunting, the goal is to kill an animal. I have arrows I attempt to shoot at a target as well, but the intention is to release life and destiny into the future of my children’s lives.
Ever since my oldest child turned one, I have written each of them a two-page letter on their birthdays. The letters contain a lot of favorite memories from the year- things I don’t want to forget, major milestones. I also include words of encouragement and affirmation, and sometimes things I am praying for them. Each letter is specific to that child and I try to include things they are currently interested in, as well as their unique gifts. I always let them know, in one way or another, that I don’t love them for their accomplishments or achievements. While I am proud of these things and want to celebrate them, I make sure they know I love them because they are mine.
How do these letters relate to archery? Well, for years my children couldn’t have cared less about these letters. They couldn’t understand, it was boring to sit and listen to them being read, they didn’t want to attempt to read them on their own once they could read, etc. I felt as though these letters were being shot from my quiver of motherhood and deep love for them not bound for a target a few yards in front of me, but rather into the future. They are flying through the air meant for some unknown time, when they will be deeply meaningful and helpful to my children. I know these letters are important and while I write, and write, and write with seemingly no “reward,” some day they will hit the target and each child will receive a word of encouragement they need at just the right moment, or a touch of love to lift them out of a dark place.
Of course as they have grown older, they have showered me with thank-you’s, hugs, and kisses when I read their letter to them each year. But I recognize that just like some of the prayers I pray for my kids, the clean shot through the heart may not materialize until a later date. In the mean time, I wait and trust because I know God is working and moving through my words and prayers as He shapes my children’s lives.
I am a child of God, a wife to Seth, and a mother to James, Luke, and Eva. The Apostle Paul writes in his letter to the Corinthians, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). I became a “new creation” at the age of 23 when I surrendered my life to Jesus and was delivered from a decade of depression. Read more...