Letter written by Deni Harden for Common Grace's Season of Creation 2023 'Letters to our Future Children' series
To my wonderful children and delightful grandchildren,
As I think about how precious you are to me, my heart is bursting with joy! I feel so blessed to call you family, and so proud that I also delight in regarding you as friends. I have so many hopes and dreams for your futures. None of them are about prestige or power or worldly wealth.
I pray that you will be people of honour, people of faith, people of kindness, compassion and integrity, people who influence through gentleness and good character. May you always be surrounded by family and friends who nurture and respect you and may you always have the strength to stay true to yourselves when your values are out of sync with societal trends.
I also pray that you, and all our future generations, may always see God through His magnificent creation. Slow down, breathe deeply, spend time observing closely the changing of the seasons, knowing that each season has its purpose. Each season in your life has a purpose too. As Winter draws to a close we watch in hopeful anticipation for the renewal of life each Spring. God tells us in Psalms 46:10 ‘’Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth’’.
When we make time to appreciate God’s handiwork, we cannot help but be in awe of His power and perfection – and marvel at the fact that he cares about each of us too. The chance of YOU being YOU is so miniscule – yet YOU were in His plan since before the world was created.
Look for God’s mighty power not through storms, floods, and bushfires but through the tender green shoots of hope that appear when all seems lost. Look for the little miracles each day – the dragonfly hovering by the river, the bee defying aerodynamics as it pollinates flowers and crops, a joey wriggling in a pouch, the whiskers on a wombat, the hilariously perfect design of a platypus and the healing power of a hug. It is only the things we value that we will work to save.
In our haste to conquer, acquire, and compete we have ignored the wisdom of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. We have dismissed and disregarded their ways of knowing and caring.
I lament the loss of wisdom through ignorance, disrespect, and unjustified fears. I pray that you will be blessed by their wisdom and rich culture, and be a part of the healing and restoration of relationships and dignity.
My generation has been afforded a most luxurious lifestyle and I am truly sorry for the legacy that this leaves for you and future generations. It is a lesson in greed, self-interest and the love of power and money.
I pray that the tide will turn, that you will see peace and justice flow and that the next generation of leaders will be shepherds who truly care and advocate relentlessly for the dignity and worth of all creation.
When the inevitable tough times come, I pray that your resilience will stem from truly knowing who you are ‘’How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!’’ (1 John 3:1a)
With love and prayers,
Mardi (grandma), Deni xxx
Deni Harden and husband Matt live on Gundangurra Country in the Southern Highlands of NSW. She loves bush walks, long chatty cuppas and cherishes time with family and friends. Deni is actively involved with Kairos Outside Ministry, which provides hope and support for women impacted by the imprisonment of a friend or family member and has been involved in calling for urgent climate action through Common Grace’s Knit for Climate Action. She is privileged to work at a local village school as a Kitchen Garden and Bush School Teacher.
We invite you to take time this week, as Deni encourages in her letter, to slow down, breathe deeply and spend time in prayer as you reflect on all the ways you can see God through His magnificent creation.
This Thursday, 7 September, marks National Threatened Species Day. Across urban and rural areas in Australia, there are over 1,700 species and ecological communities are known to be threatened and at risk of extinction.
Take action this week by learning about the traditional Aboriginal lands you live on - the unique places, and native plants and animals that share your home. Research special ecosystems or species threatened in your area by environmental impacts of biodiversity loss or climate change. Explore actions happening in your local area to help advocate for and protect these threatened native species, or precious ecosystems. Write to your local MP about what you’ve learned and how they should help take action.
Would you like to join knitters like Deni Harden who have mixed their creativity and passion for climate action with Common Grace’s Knit for Climate Action? Find out how you can get involved in knitting a climate stripe scarf and calling for urgent climate action here.