Renae Vander Schaaf

There are some people who prefer to receive a check through the mail. There are others who get more excited over a handwritten letter or a card in the mail. I know which one puts a smile on my face. Well, to be honest, they both do.

Real letters from actual people are scarce. Thankfully, my birthday and Christmas happen in two different months so I receive letters at different times of the year. Since a letter is rarer than a check, therefore it obviously has more value.

It seems to me, when my children were younger, I wrote more letters through the year. Maybe it was the need to challenge my mind to think about something else besides dolls and tractors. And there was no lack of subject matter. Not bragging here by any means, but my children were so cute and smart — they take after their father, of course!

For whatever reasons, my letter writing was dwindling down to where our stamps were becoming outdated (that is, until they came out with the Forever stamp).

It was a struggle trying to remember how many pennies, or two cent stamps we needed to use up the random stamps which showed up in the oddest places. Or even to remember the legal rate for mailing a letter. By the way, what is the current postage for a letter?

But last winter I was inspired by a friend who told me she writes a letter every day because there are lonely people out there — especially when everyone was scared to leave their home. That prompted me to come up with a list of people who probably could use a letter. Because if I get excited over one, maybe they would too.

My letter writing never reached my goal, but it did get me a few telephone calls from people who were happy to get a letter. And I liked talking with them. It was nice to know my letter was read.

Sometimes my letters were a page or two long, written on notebook paper, or it was a short note sent in a fun hello card (there are many cute ones of those). Other times, a birthday card, get well card or a heartfelt sympathy card was sent.

This week I will be sending sympathy cards to a bereaved husband, his two young sons and his wife’s parents. A young woman was killed on her Nebraska ranch in one of those tragic accidents involving a UTV. She had attended college here and we got to know her because she came to our church and joined us for many Sunday dinners.

She was a sweet girl who excelled in all she undertook, actually inducted into the college Hall of Fame six years after graduation.

When she was in the third grade she was given a letter to read by her teacher. All the students were told to read and make notes. My young friend did, and it changed her life. She now lived to glorify God; because, you see, the letter she was given was the New Testament.

The Bible is God’s love letter to us. In it He reminds us that before we were even born, He knew us. He pays so much attention to us that even the very hairs on our heads are numbered.

God sees all that we do. When we ask, He will forgive us our sins and give us eternal life.

He watches over us, even holding us in the palm of His hands. We can trust Him because He will never forsake us.

She didn’t know she was only going to live 32 years before she would be called to her eternal home. I am so glad she read and mediated on the words in this letter from God. The Bible was her guide to living a life that pleased God.

Psalm 119:105 “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”

Renae B. Vander Schaaf is an independent writer, author and speaker. Contact her at (605) 530-0017 or

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