W-2, I Noticed…

Dear Son,

I noticed the first time I “fell in love” with you.  It was the day you were born, and the first time I held you in my arms.

I noticed what a contented baby you were and so calm.

I noticed how you loved people and began to “knowingly” smile at people at only two weeks old.

I noticed how you loved to laugh and to make others laugh at a very young age.

I noticed your long eyelashes and knew you were going to be a “heart-stopper.”

I noticed your determination to finally conquer the skill of walking, after months of challenges.

I noticed how you love our neighbor’s dog that is three-times-your-size and how he loves you.

I noticed how you have a great imagination and love to make your animals kiss each other and talk to each other.

I noticed how affectionate you are with your kisses.

I noticed how you love to greet strangers and to make them smile.

I noticed how you brought tears to a young man’s eyes due to your friendly greeting.

I noticed how you like to help clean up your toys and then dump them out again.

I noticed how you have learned to sit at the top of the stairs and wait for someone to get you.

I noticed how you have a quick temper but also an eager willingness to love people.

I noticed how loved you are by everyone in this family, and how they all love to play with you and to hold you.

I noticed how you love to look at books.

I noticed how you absolutely love music, to dance to it, and have great rhythm.

I noticed how you call me, “Momma,” and I absolutely love it!

I noticed the time you sang to me, “I love you,” and it melted my heart.

Son, I noticed that you were an unexpected but absolutely wonderful blessing from God, for which I am completely and unashamedly thankful!

I love you.

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L-Son, I Noticed…

 

Dear L-Son,

I noticed all of the times you would pick dandelions and other flowers and give them to your sister or myself.

I noticed the times you shared your only gift cards to buy me a special treat.

I noticed all the times you made special bracelets and gave them away.

I noticed the times you defended the “under-dog” and comforted the hurting.

I noticed how you play with your younger siblings and share your special toys with them.

I noticed how athletic you are and how you won the first place award for top boy athlete in your class of 21 students.

I noticed how passionate you are about life and how you put your whole heart into whatever you do.

I noticed how you wanted to be baptized, along with your brothers, last Sunday.

I noticed how you love to read books and read well.

I noticed how willing you are to work hard to help others, including moving in new neighbors and shoveling the neighbors’ sidewalks.

I noticed how you looked out for your great grandmother and held the door for her and made sure she was okay getting in and out of the car.

I noticed how you love to fix your sister’s hair and love to see her wear pretty things.

I noticed how you love people and make friends easily.

I noticed how you love back-rubs and talking time.

I noticed how give great hugs and sloppy kisses.

I noticed how you get scared easily but will courageously stand up for someone in need.

I noticed how spiritually-sensitive and aware you are.

I noticed the time when you had been hurt by someone, and I encouraged you to picture putting all the hurts in a garbage bag and then handing them to Jesus.  I noticed how I asked you then what that made you, and you said “free!”

I noticed the time you were so upset because of forgetfulness on your part and as a result, your little brother had gotten hurt.  I noticed how when I asked you why you wouldn’t let me comfort you and what the lie was you were believing, you said, “That I am not to accept love… because I didn’t deserve it.”

I noticed how much better you seemed after I explained to you that was a lie and told you the truth: that you are forgiven, precious, and loved by God.

I noticed that you are an excellent student and received the highest award for top grades.

Son, I noticed that you are sensitive, caring, a fighter for good causes, enthusiastic, energetic, and affectionate.

Son, most of all, I noticed how thankful I am that you are my son — my sweet “light-bringer.”  I love you!

D-Son, I Noticed…

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Dear D-Son,

I noticed all the times you sat W-2 brother down beside you and practiced piano while he banged on the keys.

I noticed all the times when you unselfishly played with and entertained your younger siblings.

I noticed all the times you gave your special toys and trinkets away to family and friends.

I noticed all the times you curled up against me at church.

I noticed the time you took my hand to walk with me at the field trip because you were so happy to have me present.

I noticed how eagerly you introduced me to your friends at school.

I noticed how hard you tried to run, throw, and jump at your school’s Field Day.

I noticed how you worked to learn the rest of the 24 memory verses in order to earn a week at boys’ camp and learned them weeks before they were due.

I noticed how you studied in school and got straight A’s all year.

I noticed how you tried so hard to pay attention and to get a good report on your behavior, and I noticed how tears filled your eyes whenever you were reprimanded.

I noticed how hard you worked to make your science poster turn out well and how delighted you were when you got first place.

I noticed how you have such patience and perseverance in making crafts, building stuff, and with everything you do.

I noticed how your eyes twinkle with a love for life.

I noticed how you giggle and how you protest vehemently against being tickled.

I noticed how you journal and love to write thoughtful notes to people.

I noticed how you love to read and are prolific at it.

I noticed how you are so much like your daddy and want to be an engineer just like him some day.  And I can see that happening.

I noticed how you surprised you were when you received the “Christian Character” Award at school this year for your class.

I noticed how you wanted to be baptized this year.

I noticed, Son, your heart for God, and nothing makes me happier!

I love you, Son, no matter where you go and what you do because you will always be my very own precious son!

W1 Son, I Noticed…

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W1, I noticed at just a few weeks of age how strong your will was.  I noticed that you would be determined to pursue your goals.

I knew then that God has special plans for your life!

W1, I saw how you held your little brother’s hand and patiently matched your steps to his to help him walk.

I noticed how you watched out for your sister when she played outside.

I noticed how you mopped my floors even when I didn’t ask.

I noticed how you wrote sweet notes of apology when you did wrong.

I noticed how you spent time, reading in your Bible.

I noticed how you said that you were proud of your faith.

I noticed how you practiced running and jumping so you could do well on Field Day at school.

I noticed how disappointed you were when you struggled with your grades this year.

I noticed how you studied for hours to try to learn your memory verses, states, math facts, and other school facts.

I noticed how you defended a friend on the playground who was being bullied.

I noticed how you cooked three suppers for me in a week so I could have a break.

I noticed how you mowed the grass on a hot, blistery day after a tiring day at school.

I noticed how you shoveled sidewalks for neighbors.

I noticed how you offered to help new neighbors move in and offered to mow their grass.

I noticed when you expressed interest in being baptized.

I noticed your look of embarrassment and disappointment for getting a merit award today because you had hoped instead to get the honor award for better grades.  No one else knew, but I did.  My heart broke just a bit when I knew how hard you had worked and how much you wanted to improve your grades.

I noticed when you hated yourself because you felt helpless to control your anger.  Oh, how I wanted to help you to see, precious one, that you are a winner.  And only the winners are those who learn that winning is when we get back up again and complete the race.

I noticed when tears spilled down your cheeks because of mean and hateful words that kids said to you on the bus, in the hallways, and on the playground at school.  How I ached to remove those lies from marring your soul.

Son, what you didn’t see, but what I noticed was how God is not finished with you.  How God uses those hurts and challenges in life to help you to look to Him as your Source of affirmation.

Son, I noticed that you are a winner!  God doesn’t make mistakes.  God doesn’t make weak men.  God doesn’t make inferior people.  God makes sons to reflect Himself.  He makes sons to run to Abba-Father (Daddy) so that they can become the men God created them to be.

Yes, son, I noticed that God is making you into a beautiful reflection of Himself.

How I Went From Seeing Red To Seeing Blue-Green

 

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(FreeImages.com/HavardKristoffersen)

That was my day today!  I “saw” a lot of “red” today. Oh, not the pretty kind, like in flowers, fruit, or something cheerful.  No, it was the kind of day where my blood pressure must have been like lava.

The day started with some disappointment — nothing unusual in the life of a mom.  A good friend had invited us to join her son and her for a birthday celebration.  It would have been fun, but instead I spent my morning cleaning up stomach contents from a sick son.  Not pretty at all.

The Mommy mode went into full gear, and soon the sick one was ensconced in a comfy chair with all possible means of comfort given.  The laundry was churning in the wash machine.  The kitchen was clean again.  Business phone calls were made — everything from prescriptions, to getting a broken window pane fixed (previous one), to VBS invitations, to summer party planning.

The day felt productive and was going fairly smoothly.  Then, chaos erupted…

Seriously, sometimes I wonder what God was thinking (not in a disrespectful sense) when he gave me three very active boys and a fourth one on the way.  I grew up with three sisters and one very mild brother. I was the type of girl who liked reading books, drawing, playing with dolls, and pretty things.  I would play explorer at times, but I was a quiet girl.  I definitely had very little experience with busy, active boys.

Here I am now…  today…

My boys got into an argument.  One boy locked the other brothers outside.  One brother decided to take the handle to a paint roller (long kind for ceilings) from the garage and bang on the glass window of the door.  As glass from the broken window pane splintered on the floor, I saw red.  There was no blood.  I was simply furious! 

How many times have we talked to the boys again and again about consequences, controlling anger, responsibility, respecting property, and had to enact negative consequences for unwise decisions?  When would they get it?!! 

My son quickly sobered when he realized what he had done and how upset mommy was.  The rest of the evening, he was given lots of chores to do and knew not to complain or make a peep.

Too bad, the boys’ bank accounts aren’t big enough to pay for all of the stuff they break.  My husband and I decided that we would come up with an extensive list of jobs that would eventually total the amount he owes us for the glass pane.  Unfortunately, it’s not the same to us, but for him, it just might teach him something positive.

I saw even more red when I discovered that same son had also stolen chocolate candy bars from my room.

Before too many conclusions are drawn, let me assure you that we do try to address all negative behavior and enact consequences.  This kind of negative behavior is not tolerated.  The problem is changing the heart. 

It’s so easy to focus on outward behavior modification rather than the inner person.  It’s the goal of my husband and I to do both, particularly focusing on the latter.

I know we aren’t perfect parents, and there is always something more to learn.  But, I don’t know a single perfect parent and one who doesn’t have something to learn, including psychologists

Our children really aren’t “cookie cutters” who come with a complete list of personal instructions.  Each child is unique.  Each parent is unique. This means, as a parent, I must get to know the heart of my child and learn it so that I can apply the truths and principles that will successfully lead him/her to acknowledge and examine the state of his/her own heart.

So, how did my day go from “seeing red” to seeing “blue-green”? 

Blue and green are the colors of calm, peace, serenity.  They are considered soothing colors.  In fact, they are my favorite colors — perhaps because I need lots of calm in my life.  🙂

One thing I am learning is when I am upset, maybe I should say “really upset,” it’s best to not open my mouth.  So, I ignored a couple of phone calls, resisted getting on Facebook, and kept trying to remember to pray about the whole situation.

Thankfully, God was merciful and helped me to take some deep breaths and to calm down, after awhile.

By the end of the day, I was able to get all four kids ready for bed, dishes cleaned, laundry folded and put away, and then began the process of tucking the kids into their beds.  That’s when the real heart work began to occur and when I really began to see “blue-green.”

I came to the son who was the main character of these events (besides myself), and he said, “Mommy, I just can’t get it right and be good.”  Seeing his pain, I immediately felt the last remnants of my anger melt away and gently said the following,

“It is good to feel sad over sin.  The question is, ‘Now what are you going to do with that sadness and shame?’  Are you going to use that as a motivation to change your behavior and want to do better?  Or, are you going to say, ‘Well, I am bad so I might as well just be bad.’  The first choice will allow you to seek God’s help and have His forgiveness. The second choice would be believing a lie…  Have you talked with God about this, asking Him to forgive you and to help you to do better?”

My son then replied that he hadn’t.  I asked him then if he would like to pray.  He promptly began a simple prayer that went from discouragement to a very heart-felt prayer of repentance and desire for help.  As he finished, I quoted I John 1:9 to him, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

My son went to bed with a feeling of peace and the satisfaction of knowing he had been forgiven. I went to bed very thankful that God is working in my children’s lives, even when I don’t see it at the moment. I also was humbled to see how God is working in my own life. 

I too needed to learn to stay calm, even when circumstances are extremely frustrating.  The experience was a reminder to me again that “heart work” is really “God-work.” I am not in control of it, merely a vessel that God enjoys using for my own benefit.

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Are We Raising A Generation Of Heroes Or A Generation Of Villains?

 

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(FreeImages.com/DanColcer)

This morning, I read a recent article about another first-grader being suspended from school.  The 7-year-old boy was suspended because he pretended to launch a grenade while playing during recess.  Within the past two months, I have read about half a dozen reported cases of first-graders being suspended for similar play.

In response to recent tragic circumstances, our society is over-reacting and in the process creating an injustice — especially to young boys.

In the early elementary years, children are developing their ideas of what heroes are and enjoy imitating those concepts of heroes.  Most imaginative play, involving imaginary weapons, is a boy’s way of practicing and imagining what it means to be a hero — to be willing to protect and defend.  They are rehearsing what it means to be courageous and to be willing to fight a good fight.

In our attempts at removing any signs of potential violence, we not only demoralize and humiliate these boys, but we have now called their “hero-play” bad and in the process “villainized” our boys.  Rather than associating them with the “good guys”, we are associating them as the “bad guy.”  That is a social injustice!

These boys are simply being boys. Boys are created with a desire to protect and to defend.  They are more aggressive in nature in order to be courageous enough to face dangers.  

Do we want to raise boys who grow up to fear facing evil?  If so, then we merely need to discourage their efforts to imagine heroes, demoralize their character, and denigrate their name.

Most of what these boys are imitating is similar to what our military does.  Do we accuse our military of being villains instead of heroes when they fight to defend and protect our freedoms?  My young son wants to be a police officer or to be in the military when he is older.  I believe both are worthy callings.  I just hope that some day, if I am called to give the ultimate sacrifice (my son’s life) in order to protect the freedoms of others, that my son is not considered a villain for sacrificing his life so that we can keep ours.

Having “Hero Days” in school is an appropriate proactive approach.  Schools are wise to invite many different types of modern-day heroes to visit their schools.  Today’s heroes are medical personnel, EMT’s, firefighters, police officers, military veterans, volunteers for service organizations, the Coast Guard, service animals, community volunteers who help clean highways, etc…  If we want our boys to identify with heroes, then we must provide them with positive examples of heroes.

There are boys who become violent, but it’s not because they played imaginary heroes. In fact, the boys who become violent are often the boys who were made to feel insignificant, helpless, weak, and “villainized” as the bad guy.

The boys who become violent are often boys who are raised in broken families, a missing positive role model (his father), and/or spend too much time playing the evil guy in video games.  Boys need to be raised to associate with the good guys — not the bad guys.  (A rule in our house is that my boys are never to imitate evil or the bad guy; I want them to associate with good.)

We empower the bad guys by weakening the good guys.  When we tell our boys that imaginary “hero-play” is bad, we are damaging their associations with good heroes and affiliating them with the bad guys.

Boys must be taught that chivalry is not extinct but is honorable.  Chivalry means protecting and honoring those whom we esteem.  It means treating others with esteem.

If we want to raise men who will defend the honor of others, then we must encourage them that protecting and defending is honorable.

So many women feel they have to be tough and be the protectors of their families.  Why is this?  It takes grit and courage to live life well, no matter the gender.  But are some of these women so “tough” because they don’t feel protected and don’t trust the men in their lives to defend their honor?

Boys can be taught discipline and courage through positive activities, such as wrestling and karate, that hone their defensive skills but also teach them how to honor their opponent and how to maintain self-control.

Boys who have the tendency to become the “villain” are often desperate and angry, wanting to be heard and to feel significant.  In seeking to find “significance”, they will take the road of the villain if they feel they can be better heard and recognized that way then by being the hero.

If we want a generation of heroes, then we must encourage our sons to associate with and emulate heroes, to be honorable, to be courageous, and to feel heard.

If we want a generation of men who are spineless, of weak character, and full of anger, then we must squash their heroic ambitions and treat them as imbeciles and crooks.

That’s a sure method to turn our boys from heroes into villains.

A Letter To Drew

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(Picture By Becca Davis Photography.)

Dear Drew,

I almost wanted to include all of your funny nicknames your daddy has given to you at one time or another.  How we love our “Drew-Buster”!

Well, Drew, it is your turn to have a blog written specifically for you.  I didn’t want to wait ’til your birthday so I thought I would take the time right now to write a blog that is just for you.  This blog is part of the legacy I want to leave with you.  I want to make sure that I say the things I should say to you while I have the gift of time.

When it comes time at some future moment to say a good bye on this side of life, I want you and your siblings to know without a shadow of a doubt that you are loved and to know the heritage that you have been given.

Drew-Buckles, I still remember the first time I held you.  You were so alert and so calm.  What a cutie too!  Once we posted pictures of you, we had people telling us you were one of the prettiest babies they had ever seen.  You were a cutie, and I am not just saying that because I am your mommy.

You loved to be held.  What a cuddler!  You were also a very happy baby.  I have lots of pictures of you smiling and laughing.  You still have that special twinkle in your eye — that look of mischievousness.  🙂

You have a tender personality.  You play very well with your sister and love to hold her hand and take her places to show her things.  She is only 18 months old but already loves you.

You are also artistic and creative.  You love to draw, build things, and make crafts.  You are also good at math, and you are really taking off with your reading.  You say you want to be an engineer like your daddy, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that is exactly what you will be some day.

Physically, you have great upper body strength and are good at rock climbing and playing on Monkey Bars.  (Even as a toddler you seemed to climb everything.)

Drew, you are our sunshine!  You still love to be cuddled, and we so love your hugs!

It is so special to see you developing into a nice boy who is thoughtful, creative, and well-behaved.  You have your moments, but so do we all.   We are so thankful to see you growing into a fine, young man!

Drew, you have the same middle name as your daddy.  The meaning is also the same as your mommy’s first name.  As it implies, you are very loved!

Your first name is also special.  It means “Manly, Strong, Handsome”.

God made you for a special purpose.  He has unique plans for your life, Son, and they are good and excellent plans!  He made you to be a leader, to use your strength of character and physical strength for helping and serving God and others. 

Your sense of humor will be helpful in relating to those whom you are called to serve and lead.  Your sensitivity will help you to have the heart that is needed to truly be an effective leader.  Your creativity will help you to be flexible and to inspire a new generation of leaders.  Your physical strength will help you to have the endurance needed to selflessly serve those whom God has called you to serve.

Precious Son, you are such an amazing and special little boy!  You make me smile when I think of you.  Just thinking of you makes me picture your gorgeous blue eyes with their special twinkle and that adorable giggle and delightful smile of yours!  You are a joy and treasure to our hearts!

I can’t wait to see the man you will become.  Your daddy and I pray for you regularly to become a godly, young man and that you would be fully confident in your identity in Christ.  You are God’s son!  He loves you and says that you are marvelous!  He has beautiful plans for your life.

Son, when life looks drab and uninspiring, never forget that you are a testament to a God of life, of love, and creativity!  You were made in His image! 

Precious Son, when you find yourself completely depleted of all energy and creativity (and you will at some point), remember that you are not the source of your true life, energy, and inspiration.  God is.  So long as you hold onto Him and look to Him, He will fill you up. 

God’s Word says that He will do exceeding, abundantly above all that you can ask or think.  This speaks of an overflowing and continuing supply of sustenance and His grace.  Just as a spring continually pours forth its refreshing liquid supply may your life be a continual channel of God’s grace to a thirsty world.  May you be an inspiration to this world through the energy, creativity, sensitivity with which you pursue God and serve others!

Precious Son, just as you meticulously work to create a lovely piece of art, your Heavenly Father is working to create a beautiful piece of art from your life.  He uses the “dark” times as well as the “bright” times to produce a beautiful masterpiece with our lives.  As you allow God to work in your life, your life will be a source of inspiration, encouragement, and testimony to the hand of the One who guided you, creating the Masterpiece of you!  You are a Masterpiece, Son, and will be even more so when your work is completed!

My Precious Drew, take up your creative tools and create and inspire, but in the process allow God to use you as his canvas, upon which He will create an amazing Masterpiece whose purpose is to glorify God and bring hope and healing to a world!

Son, I love you!  You are precious to me!  Never forget that.  Never doubt that.  Always know it! 

Love,

Mommy

P.S. Kisses and hugs…

A Letter To Luke

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(Picture taken by courtesy of Becca Davis Photography.)

Dear Luke,

You asked me a month ago if I would write a blog just for you.  I told you I would around your birthday.  Well, it’s a few weeks after, but I have not forgotten your request. So, here’s my blog just for you:

I remember the first time I held you in my arms.  You had the largest eyes.  They were so alert and seemed to be wise beyond their years.  You had this way of just looking at someone and seeming to take it all in.

You were one of the easiest babies!  You were content to sit wherever I put you.  You never fussed when riding in your stroller and would just sit and observe the action around you.  With two older brothers, there was always lots of that.

Skip ahead five years, and we have a little boy who recently celebrated his fifth birthday!  You are no longer the quiet little boy you were for the first two years of life.  Now, you are full of energy and enthusiasm!  You love to play sports!  You are quick to defend someone whom you think is hurting or being hurt.  You’ll stand up to a kid much bigger than you if you think someone needs your help.  You are generous with your hugs and kisses, and we all benefit from them.  You are bold with your words — sometimes too bold.  We are working on helping you learn what is appropriate to say and what isn’t.

When we were deciding on what we were going to name you, we picked a name that means “Light Bringer” for your first name and “Warrior” for your middle name.  It seemed very appropriate since you were born three weeks before Christmas.  Your name is also where a lot of the Christmas passage is recorded in the Bible.

Precious Son, you have been a “bright light” to us with your bright smiles, engaging personality, endless chatter, boundless energy, and delightful hugs and kisses!  We are so thankful for you!

Before naming you, we prayed about what we were to name you.  We believe that a person’s name should have a positive meaning.  We wanted you to have a name that would be significant and would even give you a sense of purpose.

The combination of the meaning of both names is: “One who strives or puts forth effort to bring light to the world.”  The light referred to in the Christmas passage was what the star that rested in Heaven’s curtains signified.  It was a greater light than the star.  It referred to a light that could permeate into the darkest of places and darkest of nights and darkest of hearts to bring light.  Is there really a light so powerful?  Yes!  That light came in the form of Jesus, the Babe who would become a man.  He would be a man who would change thousands of lives while He walked on Earth and would change countless lives throughout thousands of years since his tenure on Earth.  And He still continues to change lives!

Jesus came to bring a message of redemption to lives ruined by the havoc created by sin.  He came to bring hope to a world full of hurt and hate.  He came to bring love to those who only knew lust and loathing.  He came to bring peace to a world bent on achieving power by crushing all opponents.  He came to bring significance to the simplest.  Into a world full of darkness and despair, Jesus brought a message of deliverance and destiny.  He offered salvation in exchange for the rags of sin.  He gave His all so that we might know the full measure of the gift of His grace. 

He was born in a stable to a poor peasant girl and first welcomed by Shepherds.  He demonstrated in this that His grace finds us not in our own ideas of perfection but reaches us in our chaos, our craziness, our imperfections.  He then reaches out His nail-scarred hands and lifts us.  He doesn’t condemn us.  He doesn’t condone us.  He comes to redeem us!  He desires to show us what our true destiny is as His sons and daughters!

Luke, precious son, my prayer is that you first grasp from where your light comes — Who is your LightMay you know your source and may you then understand your destiny!  You are given the privilege of being His “Light-bearer”!  May your life shine brightly with His light so that you will be a source of light in a world that is desperate for it, even if it doesn’t know it.

Son, open those precious, beautiful eyes of yours.  See a world that is hurting and hating.  They live in darkness but don’t even know it.  They seek hope but turn to mere mirages of it.  Son, you do know the One who can help and heal them.  They may reject you — just as they did your Savior.  Your life may not be easy.  It may be full of suffering, but may it be with a steadfast hope, faith, peace, and joy as you know that you have a greater eternal purpose than what this world has to offer.

Luke, I wish I could protect you from the hurt and hate that you will see and hear as you seek to bring “light” to a dark world.  Son, keep your heart pure and sweet and trusting as you walk in close fellowship with the One Who made you and gave Himself for you and loves you more infinitely and completely than any other.  If you have that kind of faith, I can be at peace.  I know that you may still suffer, but I know that you will be okay — truly okay.  When we have God at our side, He’ll walk with us through any horrific tragedy that may come our way.  He’ll give you the grace you’ll need for each moment. 

And Son, know that this is one Mommy who loves you, who is proud of you, and who knows that God has wonderful plans for your life!

So Son, hold your head high, open your eyes to this hurting world, and be a light to them, reflecting He Who is our eternal Light of love, peace, salvation, redemption, healing, and hope!

I love you, darling boy!  Kisses and hugs, Mommy…

A Letter To Oldest Son

 

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(FreeImages.com/ascom)

 

Dear Eldest Son,

You and Daddy are away this weekend.  I promised you that while you are gone, I would work on a blog just for you.

When I think of writing a blog to you, I wonder how I can summarize all that you mean to me and these past eight years we have shared as mother and son.  I don’t know if I am skilled enough for the challenge, but I know that all you care about is knowing how much you are loved and how special we see you as.  So, here it goes…

Precious Son, you have changed my life unequivocally.  A little over eight years ago, you redefined me by adding a new synonym to my list: that of “Mom,” “Mommy,” or “Mother.”  Before becoming a mom, I could only dream and imagine what it would be like to be a mother.  I always loved babies so I anticipated having one of my own.  I also had always enjoyed and worked well with children so I had dreams of having that same close relationship with my children.

Then, you came.  No dream could compare to the reality of holding my very own child for the first time in my arms.  I imagined crying when I would see you for the first time.  (I cry when I watch other new moms hold their babies for the first time.)  Your Daddy cried when he saw you for the first time.  Me?  I didn’t cry.  I didn’t cry at your Daddy’s and my wedding either — even though our wedding and your birth and the births of your siblings were my most precious earthly moments.  I think my emotions ran too deep to even express themselves in tears.  I think I was simply too overwhelmed and overjoyed.  The tears would come later…

Tears or no tears, I was amazed, overwhelmed, in awe!  There I held within my arms my very own baby, my very own flesh and blood!  You were so perfect, so beautiful!  Your Daddy and I just wanted to hold you and hold you.  We didn’t want you out of our sight for even a few minutes.

Within a few weeks, you were smiling and laughing.  That made it even more special!  You and I developed a very close bond.  I could tell that there was a special connection that you sensed too.  I remember dancing with you in the kitchen while special music was playing (a lullaby with your name in it) and looking into your eyes and seeing this look of recognition, this look of contentment and joy in your eyes.  You knew you were lovedI remember feeling so completely in love with you and thinking that I couldn’t imagine being happier.

The months passed, and you grew.  We played together, read together, cuddled together, and just simply adored being together.  Life as a mother was simply amazing!  I don’t remember you being unpleasant or me feeling remotely annoyed at you.

Life has a way of “shaking things up a bit,” and it did with the birth of your brother.  At first, you didn’t think you liked him much.  You liked him a little, except when Mommy had to feed him and you wanted Mommy’s attention.  Then, there was a lot of frustration and tears on both of our parts.  I didn’t know how to nurse your brother and keep you happy at the same time.  That was a difficult time for both of us.  Thankfully, it passed — especially once your brother started to crawl.  Once he started to crawl, you saw him as a play-mate.  You loved racing him around the dining room table (you would crawl with him).  We fit into a groove then, and I once again felt that life was absolutely wonderful and ideal.  I loved having two sons, and you guys mostly loved each other too.

At a young age, we began to see your personality emerge.  As a newborn, you were demanding.  I remember how you would get so angry when you were hungry that you couldn’t nurse at first.  I would have to calm you down, and then you could nurse.  Your personality seemed to mellow though, and you became a very pleasant and happy baby.

Those who knew you as a toddler would describe you as very personable, lively, and with natural leadership skills.  You were thought of as athletic also.  At two, you could kick the soccer ball quite well.  You were very confident as a little guy.  In the nursery, you could send everyone into fits of laughter by the funny things you would do.  You knew how to entertain.  You were also very conscious of what people thought of you — even as just a 12 1/2-month-old.  I remember how I had you dressed in this adorable outfit for Christmas (bow-tie and golfer hat with dress shirt and pants).  Two teen boys sat behind us and were laughing at you; they thought you were cute and funny.  You thought they were making fun of you so you glared at them and then slid down in the pew so they couldn’t see you.

You talked well but then regressed when your brother came.  Finally at 2 1/2 years of age, your vocabulary really took off.  All of a sudden, you were talking 5 and 6-word sentences.

You were also very tall and still are.  You have been in the 96th percentile in height for several years now.  The doctors predict you’ll be at least 6+ feet tall once you are an adult.

You are now the big brother of two brothers and one sister.  Daddy and Mommy have more demands on our time, but we still try to make time for each of you and to let you know how special you are to us.

You love to draw, write stories, play outside, read books or to be read too.  You love to build with Legos, play make-believe games, play Wii, watch movies, be chased, play sword-fight, build things, and play soccer.  You are an active boy, but you can also be calm when you are doing a quieter activity.  You understand spiritual matters and can converse on deep subjects.  You do your best in school and get good grades.  You try to please your teachers and care about what others think of you.  You can be tough but also sensitive.  You dislike change but like adventures.  You love scary rides but still love to be hugged.

These eight years haven’t been easy for you or us.  It’s hard learning to obey and to do what is right.  It’s hard learning to be selfless and patient.  When you live in a larger family, our true natures come out more.  That can be good as it can cause those rough edges to hopefully be worn off sooner than they would be otherwise.  It does create more challenges within the home environment though.

Your Daddy and I aren’t perfect, and we have let you down at times.  We thank you for your patience in working with us as we learn how to become better parents and as we learn to grow in our obedience to God and in doing what is right.  You see, Will, life is all about learning and growing.  It’s all about learning that the best way is in obeying God.  It’s also seeing that God loves each of us individually.  He loves you personally and intimately.  He desires for you to have only the very best.  He wants you to experience the fullest measure of life, liberty, and love — found only in and through Him.

W1, we are so thankful that you made a profession of faith!  Your Daddy and I continue to pray for you to grow as a Child of God.

W1, if the one thing you learn (now that you are saved) is how much God loves you and you love Him in return, your Daddy and I are completely at peace and content.  We don’t need to worry about anything else.  Those two things will sustain you and preserve you through anything.  So, Will, that is what we pray for you — that you would know God and His love for you and that you would love him intimately in return.

W1, there are so many challenges in this life.  So much suffering!  I wish I could protect you from it all.  From my Mommy stand-point, I would choose a peaceable, pleasant, prosperous life for you.  I also recognize that an easy life can often produce an “easy” faith.  In other words, our faith grows, our character develops when we do have to suffer some difficulties.  Challenges work our “spiritual muscles.”  I know how much you love the story of Eric Liddell.  He was quite an amazing runner, but it was his faith that “ran” even better.

Precious Son of my heart, can I remind you that you win, when you choose to do the right thing and to do it wellYou are in a race — the race of lifeAny race that has a valuable reward at the end requires dedication, sacrifice, focus, perseverance, endurance.  No one wins a race by sitting on the side-lines.  No one wins a race by watching the other runners.  No one wins a race by giving up as soon as they break into a sweat.  No one wins a race by dropping out when their muscles begin to tire.  No one wins a race by living a life of comfort and ease.  No one wins a race by quitting when they lose their first practice.

W1, I have heard of a simple but profound speech by Winston Churchill.  He said, “Never give up.  Never give up.  Never give up!  Never give up!  NEVER GIVE UP!”  Son, life is going to be challenging.  You’ll produce tears and sweat by the buckets in this life.  You will feel your physical, spiritual, emotional, and mental muscles strain and cry out for relief.  You will feel yourself falling, and you won’t want to get back up.  Others will mock or criticize you.  You will be tempted to believe the lies that you are a failure and not special.  The truth is you are — not just because you are my son (and that makes you very special) — because you are God’s child and He has incredibly special plans for your life.

Precious Son, lift that head of yours, throw back those shoulders, open those beautiful eyes of yours and see what God has planned for you.  Breathe the life God has given to you.  Take hold of His plan for your life, and run, Son!  Run well.  When you fall, get up again.  When you fall again, get up again.  Son, don’t give up!  Never give up!  Never give up!  NEVER GIVE UP!  You have a legacy, a heritage that no one can take from you.  So, run your race, Son.  Run it well, and in the end, you will hear, “Well done thou, good and faithful servant.  Enter into the joy of the Lord!”

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