Monday, October 11, 2010
Happy Birthday Stretch
Today is my oldest son's 18th's birthday. There is so much more to write about then this letter to him includes...how he knows how to clean up after himself, can cook and shop for himself, will take the initiative to get meals on the table when I am not around.
Son - You are 18 years old today. I can hardly believe it. It doesn’t seem that long ago that your dad and I were bringing you home from the hospital as a newborn (not so tiny though). I remember being terrified that you were getting dehydrated because every time I fed you it seemed you messed your diaper only to learn that that was normal for an infant.
I remember seeing you in the operating room – wrapped in a towel just fresh born and thinking “he looks like a wise old man”. That impression has stayed with me – now you have grown into a very wise young man – mature in many ways beyond your physical age. You have survived and grown through the loss of your dad, moves to a new state and new schools….making new friends and becoming involved in a new church. You are still more comfortable with people older than yourself – I think that’s to be expected as a result of your experiences.
You accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior at the age of 4. I remember sitting with you at the dining room table explaining what that meant and leading you in prayer. You were sitting in your booster seat at that time still and we lived in an apartment in Tulsa, OK on the south side. You have always loved going to church – from that very young age on. I am thankful for that love and desire to spend time in God’s house – and for the growth I’ve seen in your life since. You and your brother were the reason that I “stayed in church” after your dad died – I knew in my heart that you needed to be there and you wanted to be there as well. In fact the day he died you went to church because it was a Sunday morning and that’s where you felt like you needed to be. You were baptized at the age of 7 I believe – the date was January 11 but I forget the year.
I could go on…but it will make this way too long. In the past years I have watched you grow spiritually. You had the exciting experience of leading a friend to the Lord this past summer. You are involved in worship team at church now as well as Gospel Choir at school. You are always willing and ready to share your faith with someone or to pray with someone. This past summer it was announced that you were called to be a pastor – you stepped up to pray in service without hesitation.
You have persevered with cross country even though you felt like the team did not care about you or need you. I know it was tough at times – and even tougher to do it cheerfully. I am proud of you for learning that you run for yourself and for God. As long as you are doing your personal best that is what counts. You never gave up even when you were at the tail end of a race and most everyone had walked away from the finish line – you still crossed that line running as fast as you could. I really honestly hope that you continue to run – for fun and fitness even though you may never run in competition again.
I am proud of you for standing up for the underdog…when you were in 8th grade and Jon joined the cross country team you stood up for him and encouraged him when he was being picked on. That pattern has continued – you still care for those who are hurting. If one of your friends has a need you do your best to be there to help and encourage them – counseling on Facebook, through IM, the phone, texting or face to face.
You have exciting things to look forward to this year. One of them is waiting for the official acceptance letter from the college of your dreams. You fell in love with IWU when you were there for a 3 week course over the summer and now you can’t wait to attend there. You have faith that God will work out the details.
High school graduation is coming up and a new chapter in your life will be beginning. You have a fairly heavy course load this school year – something that is unusual for most seniors. Continue to work hard and do your absolute best throughout this year and into the future. Continue to seek God and His will first – as you have learned He will guide you and provide.
I love you – “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always. As long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be”. (Quoted from the book Love You Forever by Robert Munsch) While you are no longer a baby – you are a young man, this is still true – I will love you forever and you will always be my firstborn.