2: To My People

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31 Days of Open Letters: A Blog Series at SarahSandel.com // An Open Letter to My People These are my people. Excepting immediate family members, who can look forward to their own open letter in this series, because let’s be honest: Cam Sandel is in his own category, people. As is my mother.

But these girls above? They are my people. They are grace gifts, sharpening irons, givers, lovers, encouragers and they buoy me with their vast love for Jesus and their pursuits of righteousness. I thought an open letter would be a PERFECT way to holla that these women mean the world to me. Which means, of course, that much of this might not make sense to you and you're welcome to skip it. :) But if you're one of the twelve I'm listing...oh, keep reading! Keep reading and know I could hardly say it all in a few sentences, but it's YOU, sister - it's YOU who makes this walk a little lighter and my way a little easier. Thank you...

Absolutely I am writing this in the order they appear…top left to top right, middle left to middle right, and bottom left to bottom right. And then a few extras, of whom I had no photo (PROBLEM).

Akenia, my heart sister and mercy queen – thank you for being merciful when I am graceless, for creating space in your life for my mess, and for demonstrating a remarkable passion for knowing Christ’s heart for you and for radically serving others. Thanks for that first night of sweet potato hot chocolate, for the giant burrito the day we found out Cora was born, and for weeping in prayer on our knees time and again.

Ashley – for holding my hair back when I was sick, for actually shouting at me to remember the faithfulness of God, and for getting in my bubble & sitting closer than I normally would like to on the couch. You are teaching me much about the tenderness and intimacy of the Father, the comfort of good friends, and the patient grace required to wait on the Lord. And for all those other things I said in the kitchen at Naomi’s.

Jessica, you are the one who bravely showed me what it looks like to rebuke with grace, to tell things like they are, and to still allow space for ALL THE FEELINGS. I’m grateful for your honesty and the straightforward way you approach family and faith. I’m grateful for your parenting example, for being able to share in mourning & rejoicing our angel babies, and for comparing notes on being sorta crunchy. #wearallthebabies forever!

Caroline, for heaven’s sake, I’m not sure if I’d creatively pursue anything without your example. Thank you for your unapologetic approach to art and life, for your enthusiasm for creativity, and for your tender honesty in all things family. I am so glad God paired us together for these artistic endeavors…and even more that I get to learn from you as you grow in grace and knowledge, even in great loss. Feel all the feels, friend.

No-Nonsense Emily…let us not mince words. You are a precious gift. Your approach to teaching, to mentoring, and to Jesus challenges me and compels me. I’m grateful for these nearly-six years of studying the Word, Girls Trips, craft projects, and you laughing at me because of my stellar syntactical choices. Please enjoy one really good “hot and bothered” moment on me.

Cait…for being witness to the foolishness and the redemption and loving me through all of it, for years of theatrics and musicality, and for choosing to be friends, not just family. I love what our moms have and hope we can stick it out the way they’ve done, to challenge each other, to question and encourage, to spur one another on to love and good deeds. I’m so grateful to have you in my circle and to draw nearer as we grow up.

Oh, sweet AC! I marvel that we, too, get to be friends. That you helped to mother me during a few really painful years and for the great grace you extended. I’m so thankful to have your wisdom, your tender affection, your quirkiness, and your malapropisms (!) in my world. I’m grateful for the example of your marriage to that grumpy man we love and for the example of parental love with your three wildly diverse kids. Thanks for always making me feel welcome, for always speaking truth, and for making the best spaghetti sauce ever. I love you.

Trina, you have modeled for me a radical generosity that I’ve never before encountered. It’s a blessed blend of hospitality and giving and I feel incredibly cherished by you, by your authenticity. Thank you for opening your heart and home to me, to my girl. For walking through infertility with me with grace and for baring your own heart before the Lord during your years of waiting for little C. Thanks for showing me how to give and give and give and how to listen for Father’s voice to do it well. There’s no other kitchen I’d rather eat organic, grass-fed, locally grown, non-GMO, gluten free, sugar free, every-bad-and-toxic-thing-free food in.

Kirty, I told you six or seven years ago that whatever happened, I intended to be your friend. I’m a woman of my word. And as I confessed mere weeks ago under a streetlamp, you are a woman whose attentiveness and gentle spirit I admire and long to emulate. Your understanding of the Word and the music He writes through you have blessed me along the road in powerful ways. I’m grateful for and humbled by our friendship and the ways God uses you to reveal Himself and to encourage my heart. Thanks for sticking around this wee town, for loving me with kindness, and for teaching me to celebrate and appreciate…

 

Not pictured…and more cryptic on purpose:

Koula – all the things we texted about last week? Yes, all of those. For almost a decade of friendship, for sharing the long road of loss and longing, for the genuine heart to honor the process and move along to hear God. Keep listening for Him.

Kate, just move here, okay? If I can’t have you and the girls in my living room, I can at least be grateful for time-difference-sensitive texts that tell me the truth about who God is and His faithful provision. Thanks for keeping it real and for always having an opinion. :D

Steph…all the things we texted about for nearly nine months? Is He not proving Himself? I’m grateful for the unapologetic way you confront hard things, for the clear work of God in your heart, and for the very thing that keeps you on your knees. I’ll be Aaron to your Moses – holding your arms up when you no longer can do it. Thanks for all the antique stores, for bikes, beans & Bordeaux, and for knowing when a Frappuccino solves everything.

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God's grace to me in these women - women I didn't even know I needed - astounds me. This do-it-herself introvert is learning through the hard work of relationship that sometimes, I just can't do it myself. I need community. I need godly women in my life who tell it like it is and who know when silence works best. My heart is full, because these sweet ladies each have a place in it.

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31 Days of Open Letters: A Blog Series at SarahSandel.com

click the image above to view the collective posts from this #write31days series