Building Blocks

A good bit of my time with W is spent playing with blocks. We count them, we identify their colors, and we build a “Super Truck” almost every day. Without question, the most popular game we play involves me building a tower as high as I can and allowing W to knock it all over. Sometimes he barely lets me stack two blocks before he pummels them to the ground, cackling in delight. On other occasions, he gives me a little time and keeps his distance, waiting for just the right moment to pounce on my creation. Every time he brings my tower to its ruin, I try to alter the design in order to make it a little stronger to withstand future blows. What starts as a flimsy edifice evolves into a fortress with a wide, strong foundation and thick walls. No matter the shape, when he drops the hammer a smile overtakes his entire face as he watches the colorful blocks tumble to the ground. To my delight, he has now added sound effects to our game, shouting “BOOM!” as they fall. Brilliant.

 

We got on a tremendous roll with this recently and I found myself building tower after tower after tower. I started wondering how many times I had rebuilt these broken structures when out of nowhere, God got my attention. I frequently feel His presence during my days with W because our life is so simple and focused on the “now.” As I stacked my millionth tower, I began thinking about how I could relate to this same kind of repetitive rebuilding in my own life.

 

I winced as I recalled such seasons of destruction…

 

carefully organized plans that crumbed before they became reality,

poor choices that led to instability and erosion,

seemingly random instances that knocked the foundation out from under me.

 

I thought back on…

 

the pain,

the desperation,

the sadness and anger,

the countless “Why” conversations with God, punctuated by groans and tears.

 

I became temporarily absorbed by the emotion of those memories and as I nursed the wounds freshly opened, He spoke to my heart.

 

He had always been there.

 

Through every trial, every devastation, every life-changing event, His Presence was not only evident, but was exactly what carried me through every difficult moment. In times when I was building something self-serving or destructive, He was the one who lovingly brought my tower down, but was always right there to help me pick up the pieces in the wake of my disaster. And just like my silly game with W, every time I rebuilt, He helped me put the pieces back differently, arranging them in a new way, each structure stronger than the one before. I used the lessons I learned to assemble the blocks of my life in such a way that reflected the wisdom of experience, the understanding of resilience, and the faithfulness of God. I look at who I am now, battle scars and all, and know that I am stronger, wiser, and more humble than I ever would have been without the intervention of God in my disasters. While I don’t necessarily want to go back and relive those moments, I am forever grateful for their impact on my life.

 

As I put the remaining blocks in place for another round, I prayed…that my little one will have the same awareness and appreciation for God’s presence in every season of building and inevitable rebuilding in his life.

Churching.

Now that we have found a rhythm in our life as a family of three, we decided to emerge from the world of online worship and put our feet back inside of a church.  Stepping through those doors two weeks ago was like a breath of fresh air.  To be back in the midst of the body of believers, to be surrounded by a community with a heartbeat and desire to serve God, to worship outside of my pajamas…I savored it all.

We brought William with us and he had his first experience at kid’s church.  At his current age, it is just nursery daycare, but it is still a big deal for him.  The first week was a little unnerving, since it was all completely new, but he survived.  When we returned the following Sunday, he knew what was going to happen and quickly became very unhappy.   It was heartbreaking to leave him, but the lovely ladies in the nursery assured us that we would be paged if he continued to be upset.  We never received a page, so were excited and proud to pick him up once the service was over.

When we rounded the corner and our little love came into view, I saw something that I will never forget for as long as I live.  There, on the floor surround by toys, was our boy sitting with a friend, babbling and sharing a bag of Puffs.  I know it sounds completely ordinary, but to me it was much more…it was our boy relaxed, happy, and at home in church.

I was immediately overcome with gratitude that we live in a country where we are able to worship freely in places with wonderful child care.  When William turns two he will officially start Sunday school and the thought of that is enough to do me in.  I am so incredibly humbled by the thought that there will be people week after week to love on my boy and to teach him about Christ, filling in the holes that we miss, and giving another voice to the faith that we treasure.  What an incredible gift.

As I thought about all of this, I found myself flooded by memories of my own experiences growing up in the church.  I thought about my time in Sunday school and then youth group…Wednesday night suppers, mission trips, flannel boards, weekend retreats, animal crackers, uncomfortable shoes, Bible studies, and unforgettable friends.  I thought about the lessons I learned, the Scriptures I memorized, the questions I asked, the trips I took, and the experiences that changed me forever.  I remembered the faces–the friends and the leaders, the old and the young–some who remain beside me today and those who are now only familiar in my memories.  Church helped grow me into the woman I have become.  It was there, through the commitment of so many faithful people, that I came to know the God who relentlessly pursued me and found a passion in His calling.  Thankful doesn’t even come close to capturing my gratitude–my life was permanently transformed by the time I spent there.

So while it seems inconsequential to note this image of my boy eating Puffs in Sunday school, to me it was the start of something…the start of something huge.  It marked the first chapter in what I pray will be a lifelong relationship between my boy, the body of believers, and the God who loves him more than he will ever comprehend.

So. Very. Thankful.

Called.

I once heard it said that the greatest difference you make in the world might not be what you do, but who you raise.

While I no longer remember the context or author of this idea, the weight behind the words has remained with me for years.  When I first heard it, I was not yet a mother and still the words stunned me with their profundity.  Now with a future man in my care, the idea has an even more sobering impact.

I thought that when we first had William, we had a complete understanding of the tremendous responsibility given to us as parents.  As we crept along I-4 after leaving the hospital, we were overcome by the reality that we. were. his. parents.  We would be responsible for making sure he was safe, fed, and cared for, every hour of every day.  It was daunting and inspiring, terrifying and empowering.  We weren’t sure how to go about it but minute by minute, day by day, that is exactly what we started doing.  We woke in the middle of the night to make sure he was still breathing.  We obsessed over how much he was eating.  We checked the temperature of his toes constantly to make sure he wasn’t too hot or too cold.  Every doctor’s appointment served to affirm that we were actually doing ok.  He was growing.  He was healthy.  And we were relieved.

16 months into this thing, my perspective has shifted a bit.  God has taught me so much in these 500+ days of motherhood and I can say without question that I am not the same person who welcomed William into the world…hopefully, I’m better.  I have grown and changed in countless ways and am now feeling at home in this identity of Mom.  While I am much more confident in my day-to-day responsibilities as William’s mama, one thing hasn’t changed…I remain humbled and awestruck by the responsibility of raising this little boy into a man.  While the general concerns regarding his well-being haven’t lessened, the scope of what it means to raise him in my mind has broadened considerably.

I must teach him the alphabet and also teach him how to give and receive love.

I must protect him from harm but also encourage him to take risks that will enable him to grow.

I must hold his hand to show him that he is safe and cherished, but let it go when he needs to experience new things apart from me.

I must help him read.  And dance.  And swim.  And compromise.

I must instruct him on how to eat with proper table manners and also how to live a life with integrity, honor, and passion.

I must provide a safe place for him to ask questions and also show him that it’s ok to not always have the answers.

I must help him learn to walk without assistance and navigate the path between right and wrong.

I must kiss his hurts and wipe away his tears, while affirming him and letting him know that it’s ok to cry.

I must show him how to put others first, all while the world is screaming at him to only look out for number one.

I must teach him the Gospel, but even more challenging, I must live the Gospel before his eyes in the way I love.

And on…and on…and on…

A person could get downright overwhelmed and desperate in the light of this awesome responsibility.  How thankful I am that I will never walk a day of this journey alone.  When I start to feel like I can’t do something, I am reminded that God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called.

God has called me to this position…chosen me not just to be a mama, but to be William’s mama.  With that knowledge, I can take a deep breath and rest in the fact that while I am caring for William, He will take care of me and meet all of my needs minute by minute…hour by hour…day by day.

 

Ephesians 1:18

Lovebug,

I know I have already told you this, but the verse I have selected to pray over your life is Ephesians 1:18-19a.  It is a verse that God absolutely placed in my lap with such perfect timing.  When I read it, I knew that it was for you…that I wanted it to be yours.  I want this verse to be reality for you.  I want it so embedded in the marrow of your bones that you live it every day almost effortlessly.

This is the version in my Bible:

“I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.”

Here is The Message translation, which I also really like:

“I ask—ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory—to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for his followers, oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him—endless energy, boundless strength!”

I pray it out loud to you every night when you are having your bath.  In the middle of our other regular prayers, I say the following:

“And Mama prays Ephesians 1:18 for you every night praying that the eyes of your heart would be enlightened, that you would know the hope to which God has called you, your glorious inheritance in the saints, and the incomparable power He has promised to those who believe…because if you have those 3 things…if you have hope in God, you know who you are as a child of God, and you have God’s power, there is nothing in the world that can take you down!”

It’s typically background noise for you as you splash and play in the water, but it’s no matter.  I’m praying those words so that you will hear them, but I am praying those words more importantly so God will hear them.  I cannot tell you how desperate I am for you to know the freedom, peace, and utter joy I have found through faith in God and a relationship with Christ.  It has, without question, radically transformed my life…and I don’t ever want you to know life without it.

Several times recently you have stopped playing and looked into my eyes with great intensity as I recited the words that you hear every single night.  You looked like you were really trying to soak in what I was saying and it brought such delight to my heart!!  While I know you were more likely noticing my hair looking affright or taking in the sing-song rhythm in my voice, it got me thinking.  Oh how I hope and pray that you will have an interest in and a passion for God’s Word.  It is such an incredible gift.  One that can bring comfort to your grief, wisdom to your uncertainty, and hope to your despair.  It will guide you, it will encourage you, it will transform you.

Oh my precious boy, I love you so.  There aren’t enough hours in the day for me to show you just how much.  I’m grateful for every moment I have the privilege of spending with you.  Every. Single. One.

All my love,

Mama

 

It isn’t lost on me.

It goes without saying that I spend quite a bit of time in W’s room.  From sun up to sun down, we are in and out of that precious space reading books, playing games, and simply spending time together.  I love that room.  There is something about the space and all of the memories it holds that just warms my heart.

Before those four walls housed W’s room, that little bedroom was my office.  I spent hours, days, weeks, months, even years there working, crafting, and dreaming.  My office was where my computer was located, along with all of my journals, books, and treasures.  With all of the time I spent in that room, I naturally found myself praying and having my quiet time with God.  It was my corner of the world to do whatever I needed to do and I loved it.

Tonight as I was rocking W to sleep, I was caught up in the thought of all that room has seen in nearly a decade.  I thought of the many emotions brought through the door–incomparable elation when Gilbert asked me to be his bride, stress over FCAT scores, anxiousness in the days leading up to our wedding, hilarity over the dogs’ latest antics.  I thought of the giddiness of honeymoon planning, the anticipation of holidays, the freedom of summer vacations.  I thought of all of the changes I have seen and the transformations I have experienced since I first claimed this space as mine all those years ago.

While there was so much to reflect on, the emotions of the time leading up to and including motherhood, dominated my thoughts more than any other season.  With my precious boy nestled peacefully in my arms, I vividly recalled the tears and desperate prayers cried aloud countless times for just such a privilege.  I remembered the fear…the disappointment…the uncertainty.  I remembered all of the moments spent wondering if, when, and who God would give us.  I thought of the research…the confusion…the hope…the devastation.  Sitting there tonight, I looked at the floor and in an instant, was back to the moment when I was face down before God, begging Him for a baby or if it wasn’t in His plan for me, for freedom from the longing for one.  I remembered it all and while I was still reeling with the memories, I read the scripture painted above the door in his room,

“For this child, I prayed” 1 Samuel 1:27

It isn’t lost on me.

It isn’t lost on me that the same room in which I cried out to God for a child is the one that catches my precious boy’s whimpers when he rouses from sleep.

That the same floor that caught my tears, now catches bubbles blown in play time when they float beyond his eager grasp.

That the same walls that gave me a quiet place to pray, now give him a quiet place to rest.

It isn’t lost on me.

God did something HUGE in my world by giving me this little boy and there is not a single moment I take it for granted.  I know it isn’t coincidence that while the outside of this room remains the same, the inside has been completely transformed.  That’s just so quintessentially God…it’s what He does…and I am so. very. thankful.

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A Grieving Heart.

My girl is gone.

 

After 12 years of plodding along by my side, she has suddenly journeyed on ahead of me to a place I cannot reach and my heart hurts more than I can say.

She saw me through so many seasons…it’s a wonder she could still recognize me as mom after all of the transformations I underwent before her eyes. When she was first placed into my arms, I was a newly graduated 22-year-old, one month shy of my first date with Gilbert and without any clear idea of what my immediate future involved. She left me last week, a married 34-year-old mother with a 10-year teaching career on my resume. She faithfully walked beside me as God molded me into this current version of myself and I feel adrift knowing that I don’t have her to look forward to tomorrow.

 

I can’t fully articulate how much life she shared with me in 12 years. Far more “people” than dog, she loved me well through the highest highs and lowest lows I have ever seen. She celebrated my victories, comforted me in my sadness, and brought me healing in my brokenness. She licked away my tears, showed me understanding through her eyes, and brought me peace in her presence. For 12 years she was my constant companion, cheerleader, instigator, co-conspirator, and love.  I know I should be smiling about all of the time we had together, but in the midst of her absence it all seems woefully short. I miss her so much.

 

She taught me more about motherhood than I could have ever imagined and I considered myself a mom long before William’s first breath, because of who she was to me. She was high maintenance, endearing, lovable, stubborn, and in my eyes, perfect.

 

She never lost her “puppy” which is maybe why the house is so quiet without her. Although she got older, she remained quintessentially Mo—swimming the day before she died and stubbornly testing the boundaries at her last meal in the same ways she had since she was 4 months old. She filled our home with her personality and has left us with a palpable emptiness.

 

My girl is gone.

 

I type it again now days since her passing because there is a part of me that still can’t believe it. I have stared into our backyard countless times, willing my eyes to see her nosing through the grass once more. My heart aches for just one more day with her. One more day to spoil her with every kind of food she could ever desire, wrap my arms around her neck, and tell her how much I love her. She holds a place in my heart that few people have access to and has seen me in the truest sense of myself. She takes with her moments of mine witnessed by no one else, and I just feel incomplete without her here.

I have spent the better part of a week trying to put into words who she was, what she meant, and why I hurt so much in the wake of her passing and have failed miserably every time.

 

My girl is gone.

 

I know that in coming weeks I will want to share stories of my memories of her, but that time is not here. For now, I want only to hold them close and selfishly keep every one for myself.

 

My girl is gone. And while she knows greater happiness now than she ever realized here on earth, I look at the void she has left behind and I am heartbroken.

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His mercies are new every morning.

How thankful I am for days.

It’s an odd thought, but it hit me today with such power and relevance that I couldn’t help but express it here.  W and I had a bit of a rocky day together.  His sleep schedule was thrown off last night, which trickled into today, which wrought havoc from sun up to sunset.

We limped through this day and fought for moments of joy.   I was exhausted, he was exhausted, and frustrations loomed around every corner.  My sleepy baby is prone to falls and he had many.  Trying to keep a hand on him at all times was futile, since he is now a “walker” and “doesn’t need my help.”  When a much-needed nap turned into an hour long rebellion, my patience wore thin.  It had been a day and I was over it.  I wanted to show him the grace and love of Christ, but what he got when I lifted him from his crib was a grumpy mama.  I prayed out loud, for his sake and for mine, that God would redeem a day that had clearly derailed.

We made it.  Minute by minute, hour by hour, we trudged through our challenges and made the most of our moments.   Near the end of the day, we took a walk to the pond and chatted together while he chased the ducks.  Just before we started the journey for home, he plopped down in the grass and excitedly squealed “DOH!!” which is his word for flowers.  I laughed.

He was sitting in a patch of weeds.

I was just before redirecting him to a beautiful azalea bush just a few steps away when I saw it.  Sure enough, out of the hideous tangle of overgrown and unwanted plants, a darling little flower emerged, its petals reaching for the sun.  We sat there, my boy and I, for several minutes enjoying the flowers amid the weeds and I was reminded that while beauty is always present, sometimes we have to work a bit harder to find it.

Grateful that God had redeemed the day, I enjoyed the second half much more than the first.  Our evening wasn’t without incident–there was still a toe to be stubbed, a bath meltdown to be had, and a tumble to be taken while feeding the puppers–but I found comfort in the awareness that this too shall pass.  How incredible…an idea that is a bitter pill to swallow in moments of joy, had the capability to make my frustrating moments palatable.

Once my little lion was sleeping soundly, I plopped on the couch and exhaled.  I thought about how it wasn’t my best day, nor was it William’s, and asked God to forgive me for all of the ways I blew it.  With those thoughts buzzing in my brain, I was reminded of this scripture:

22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23

I was so thankful that we would be able to turn the page from this day…go to sleep and wake up with a whole new opportunity to love and live the abundant life God offers.  Certain I had used up all of my allotted “mercies” for the day, I was thankful to get a whole new batch in the morning.  ;0)

Thank You God for days…for the ones that make us smile and the ones that make us cringe.  Thank you for loving us through our messes and giving us a chance every 24 hours to start again.  Thank You for days…and for the grace You pour out according to our many needs on every. single. one of them.

 

 

Swimming.

Lovebug,

We started swimming lessons this week.  You were so excited to put on your bathing suit–you were giggling and bouncing all around and it was just impossibly adorable.  We loaded you up in the car and drove you to meet your destiny, while you were clueless as to what was ahead.  Everything went well until you were placed in the instructor’s arms and in the water.  How could we explain to you why we were remaining dry while you were led into a scary place with a near-stranger?  We stayed right by the edge the entire time and cheered you on.  You didn’t care.  You screamed and cried and pleaded for rescue in every way you knew how.  Ten minutes passed and it was over…you survived.  I wrapped you in a fluffy towel and told you how proud I was of you and I could feel your relief as you melted into my arms.  It was all behind you…until the next day when we did it again.  And then again.  And then again…

Today was day four and you are still very unhappy about what happens to you at swim.  In my adult brain, I can only imagine how scary it must be for you.  You feel completely out of control and the water in your eyes, ears, and mouth must be terrifying.  I want to be able to explain to you what is happening and why I put you through this every day in a way that you will understand, but I know that’s not possible.  This is a battle you have to fight through without the benefit of understanding, emerging victorious only after you have conquered this challenge.

Watching you today reminded me of a famous quote by Nelson Mandela,

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
Growing up as a boy in America, you will no doubt feel pressure at some point to be “tough” in the face of fear.  I want you to know that the bravest people I know have feelings of doubt, of fear, of anxiety.  You aren’t brave because you don’t feel fear…that wouldn’t make you brave at all.  If you didn’t feel fear in the first place, bravery would never be necessary.  Bravery comes when you are gripped by fear and yet you are able to face it, pressing forward through the challenge.  You can always choose bravery, because you are a child of God and that thanks to Him, you NEVER walk (or swim) through anything alone.
Love you ALWAYS,
Mama

Rocks in the Garden

Now that William is mobile and the weather is delicious, our favorite activity is playing in the backyard.  We spend hours every day romping around in the grass, swinging in his swing, and chasing the puppers around.  William loves to explore and is fascinated by nature.  He wants to examine all of the plants up close and has the gentlest touch with even the most delicate of flowers.  He will often find leaves or petals on the ground that draw him in and he inevitably scoops them up and tucks them into his palm, treasuring them for as long as they can withstand his grasp.

While he has the run of most of the space, there are a few areas that are off limits, due to the danger factor.  I am always with him, of course, steering him in the right direction and away from peril.  With so many accessible areas, it is usually easy to distract him away from the areas I don’t want him to go near.

Usually.

The other day, he noticed the rocky terrain near the gate leading to the front yard.  Now, although he is technically mobile, he is far from “expert level.”  I still keep a hand on him when we are walking on hard surfaces and uneven ground often trips him up.  That said, the rocky area with the giant metal fence post was not a good spot for him to play.  Did I mention he was barefoot?  He kept pulling my hand in that direction and I repeatedly said, “No,” shaking my head and trying to entice him in another direction.  After multiple attempts and multiple refusals, he pitched. a. fit.  When it was clear that my mind was not going to be swayed, he dropped himself into the grass in a fit of desperation and wailed, looking over at the rocks while crocodile tears cascaded down his cheeks.  He couldn’t understand why I would rob him of the adventure he hungered for.  Why would I deny him such joy??  I told him that I understood how upsetting it is when we aren’t able to do what we want, but that I was only protecting him from harm.  I explained that I didn’t want him to get hurt and that really, the rocks weren’t that cool anyway.  In an effort to redirect his attention, I started pointing out all of the other areas brimming with adventure, but he would have none of it.  He continued to cry in the grass, lamenting the fun he was certain he was missing.

After a minute or two, I actually started to chuckle in my mind.  I glanced around and looked at everything surrounding us.  It was a gorgeous Florida day…there were butterflies fluttering about, flowers waving in the breeze, and puppy dogs chasing dragonflies.  There was a hammock beckoning for a lounger, sparkling pool water to splash in, and a shady oak tree providing the perfect respite from the sun’s rays.  All of this was accessible and my boy was pitching a fit over a handful of rocks and a metal post.  I was just about ready to roll my eyes, when it hit me like a ton of…well…rocks.

He was me.

This is exactly what God has to deal with from me and far more frequently than I would like to admit.

I started to think about how often I pout and stomp my feet when I don’t get my way.  How God has surrounded me with countless blessings and the opportunity for unending joy every day and still, I often choose not to see it.  I plead for His guidance and protection, but only really want it on my terms.  I get frustrated when opportunities pass me by, doors close, relationships end, and I don’t get to do what I want.  Rarely does it occur to me in the moment that the limitations I am facing are quite possibly the hand of God saying, “You really don’t want to go there.  Trust me.  I’m trying to keep you from getting hurt and really, it’s not that cool anyway.”  Instead of accepting His provision and giving thanks, I bemoan the unfairness of life.  While God is pointing out all of the other things around me that I could be focusing on and finding joy in, I choose instead to sit and cry.  God wants to give me the garden and I want the rocks.

The most incredible part of all of this is how God responds to my tantrums.  Instead of rolling His eyes and wandering off, He stoops down with me and lets me cry.  He gives me unending grace to feel the depth of my frustrations and even comforts me in my sadness.  He waits patiently, loves me lavishly, and when I’ve gotten it all out, He ever so gently, brings me back to my feet and guides me back into the garden.

Grace.  I don’t deserve it, and yet He gives it.  Abundantly.

With that in mind, I viewed my sweet boy with a whole new set of lenses, and felt overwhelming compassion.  Instead of rolling my eyes, I sat down in the grass with him.  I wiped away his tears, told him that I understood, and let him have his moment.  Once his frustrations were fully vented, I offered him my hand and he took it.  The garden was waiting and he was now ready to take it all in.

So together we wandered off, hand in hand, and left the rocks behind.  He quickly forgot what had transpired, but I still have not.  As we moved forward I was humbled by God’s unending grace and thanked Him for the millionth time for loving me so well, that I might shower that same love on my precious baby boy.

Word.

So thanks to a dear friend, I have started a little project for W.  She recently learned of someone who keeps a Bible for her child, writing in it, underlining in it, and journaling little notes to her boy and her plan is to give it to him when he graduates from high school.  Beautiful.  Absolutely beautiful and naturally, I had to steal the idea.

I hemmed and hawed over what kind of Bible to get for William, but ultimately decided to get him the current version of the Bible I use in my study.  That way if there were notes at the bottom that I wanted to reference, I could be sure he had the same.  I also thought it might be neat for him to see the Bible that his mama used for her study for most of her adult life.

Well, I ordered the Bible and had his name inscribed on the front.  A friend of mine picked it up and brought it over to my house last night and I was absolutely giddy about it.  Since the idea was first planted in my mind, I have been so eager to get started.  After she left, I removed the Bible from its box and could not have predicted my reaction.

I wept.

Seeing his name on the front of a Bible that has been so incredibly dear to me was enough to do me in.  I sat with it on my lap and was overcome with a tidal wave of emotion.  As I cradled this Bible that had yet to be open, I glanced over to the dog-eared, battered, well-worn and well-loved Bible of my own.  Looking at my faithful friend, I was reminded of all of the times I was so broken and hurting that I couldn’t even open the cover, but was comforted by just clutching it to my chest.  I thought about all that God has taught me through the gift of His Word and how those pages are like life to me.  I thought about how I have been changed, one word at a time and how incredibly grateful I am.  I thought about the struggles…the victories…the battles fought…the lessons learned.  Moments of joy, of fear, of sadness, of anger, and of immense gratitude flooded my mind.  With all of those memories churning in my head and my heart, I was suddenly overcome with a burning desire for my sweet boy…that He would know the depth of God’s consuming love for him and that his faith would blow mine out of the water.

I wept and I prayed and I couldn’t thank God enough for loving my sweet little man more than I ever could.  I praised Him for being so faithful to me and for giving me the unbelievable opportunity to tell my boy all about it.  I prayed with the desperation only a mother could muster that I wouldn’t blow it.  That He would fill in all of my holes, provide everything that I lack, and repair every word that I speak that comes out wrong about who He is and what He has done.  I prayed that my boy would find fulfillment in his Father and that the Bible laying in my lap would be treasured by him throughout his life…not because it was from me, but because it was from Him.

I prayed.  I wept and I prayed and I sat for the longest time thinking about the journey that is ahead for my sweet boy.  When I composed myself enough to not soak the pages with my tears, I cracked the cover and made my first entry.  I turned to Ephesians 1:18 and underlined the verse I have been praying for him every day since he was 6 months old.

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.”

His adventure is just beginning.

As terrifying as it can be to think of all of the hurts likely ahead that I want him to avoid, I also couldn’t be more excited for him.  His adventure is just beginning and he belongs to God.  God will watch over him every moment of his life, guiding and growing him, just as He has for me and I couldn’t be more thankful.  With a profound sense of relief and overwhelming peace, I closed the Bible and put it on my nightstand, thanking God for such an incredible gift.