Bear with me as I meander down “memory lane”… I wanted to share a few thoughts for you as I think of the type of men I pray and eagerly await that you will become. Today, you are boys, but in just a few more “tomorrows,” you will be men.
It seems like just a decade or so ago (more like three), I was the girl with the paper dolls, the piles of books stacked on top of my summer hammock, and the dreams of meeting and marrying her Prince Charming and having lots of his charming mini-mes to raise.
I grew up mostly with sisters and one younger brother. I knew a lot about the feminine world, but the masculine world enchanted me.
Seeing these magnificent “creatures” of such broad shoulders, strong arms, tall forms, deep voices was captivating. I was fascinated with the world of men: so much physical strength and leadership.
My dad was such a great example of the willingness to physically labor for his family. He came from hardy German-stock and knew what it meant to work hard. Monday through Friday, he worked at his job, and on Saturdays, he worked all day on household projects.
Those same hands though that could wield an ax and split logs, wider than my hips, also knew how to gently cradle my face and tell me that I was special.
It’s a beautiful thing to see that such strength can also yield such gentleness.
As a girl, my daddy’s hands symbolized his protection and provision but also his benevolence.
Even when I wasn’t aware of it, as a woman, I “looked” for a husband who knew how to lead like a shepherd: with kind leadership that protects and provides.
I remember the first time I noticed your own daddy’s hands. It was the weekend he came to meet my parents for the first time. Your daddy and I were sitting at the table talking, and I looked down and noticed those hands of his. They were lean, long, clean, and strong. I could tell they were capable of demonstrating both strength and gentleness. They were hands that were capable of wrestling the rotor-tiller and also of tenderly cradling a newborn babe.
I’ll never forget your daddy’s vows on our wedding day. In part of his vows, he said, “…A knight must also both lead and follow. I promise to be head of our marriage relationship as we both follow our Lord’s will… Unclear leading is fruitless. I will engage in daily prayer, seeking the Lord’s will for our lives. …My sword will slay many foes out in the world, but I will lay it down on our doorstep, reserving only gentleness and tenderness for you. A knight fights first for his king. Likewise, as high as I esteem you, I will place our king and Lord first in my life. Secondly, but with equal vigor, a knight protects his princess, his wife…”
Your daddy has lived out his vows faithfully to you kids and I. He hasn’t been perfect, but your daddy has with heart-felt conviction, lived out the sweaty, messy, soul-aching commitment to the promises he made to me those 13 years ago. He has sought to lead us with humility, gentleness, and conviction. This weight of responsibility can either drive you to despair or drive you to your knees in prayer. Your daddy has been resolutely steadfast in looking to his Heavenly Father in prayer for an example on how to lead.
Sons, we live in a world of such conflicting opinions. On one side, men are exhibited with primal grunts of raw, brute strength. On the other side, men are portrayed as weak, imbeciles, insensitive, and inferior to women. Neither is correct.
It is a fact that God has made men to be strong, but what does true strength look like?
Strength is learning how to yield your physical muscles to serve your family and to protect your family against harm. Sometimes, protection means using physical attributes, but it should always involve spiritual strength and wisdom to guide around or guide through the dangers.
Strength is also learning how to restrain your “fleshly” reactions and desires. It means sometimes you do that which is inconvenient and uncomfortable in order to listen and meet the needs of the hearts of your family.
Sons, we live in a big world, full of many pit-falls, but we also have a Big and Good and Loving God who will guide you around those snares, if you yield to Him.
Your daddy got it so right when he said that a “knight must also both lead and follow.”
Sons, perhaps the biggest challenge you have to conquer is not enemies or temptations “out there” but the “enemy” within. You see, Sons, if you can learn to yield to your Heavenly Father and in Him to conquer your own pride, anger, lust, greed, fears, etc…, you will have fought the greatest battles.
Learn to conquer your own selfish desires, and you will know how to cherish the princesses God has in store for you.
Learn to control the unbridled “passions of your youth”, as the Bible calls them, and you will know how to treat others and yourself with respect and kindness.
See yourself as God sees you, and you will be able to view others as God sees them.
Replace the lies with truth, and you will be able to stand courageously for that which is good and right.
Sons, be men of honor who do the right thing — rather than the popular thing.
Be leaders who guide, rather than brutes who dominate.
Sons, never objectify women. See them as beloved and created by God for His unique and special purposes. Treat them with respect. They are your complement, and they are to add balance to your life with their own contributions.
Sons, guard your hearts, your eyes, your tongues, your emotions, your bodies.
You are loved by God, created by Him for a uniquely, special purpose. God has made you in His image. Don’t let anything or anyone cause you to believe otherwise.
Stand firm in the Lord, in the power of His might. Fight His battles — not your own.
Sons, know that no matter how many times you fall, and sadly enough, you will fall at times, there is a God who stands waiting and longing to forgive you and to enable you to live the victorious life He created for you! Don’t ever give up. Get back up. Stand.
Sons, above all else, know that I love you and even more so, God loves you. If you don’t feel it or recognize it, cry out to Him. He loves you with “an everlasting love, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” You are His beloved, forgiven and created to bring glory to His name — the name of the One who died to save you.
From the woman who will always be your Mom/Momma