The Lessons of Heartache.

Lovebug,

You taught me something this week. Actually, to be fair, you and God worked together to teach me something and I’m pretty sure the lesson was harder on me than it was on you.

You and mama are thick as thieves. We spend the majority of every day together and much to my delight, have formed a bond that is rock solid. We know each other…well. You are comfortable to show me every side of who you truly are because you trust that I will love you in all of it…and you’re right.

Well, inevitably there are times when I have to run out and you are left in the hands of someone we love and trust, who adores you. This week I had a haircut and E was set to watch you, when you announced several days prior that you weren’t interested. Your anxiety about me leaving appeared on Monday, when you brought it up, before I had even mentioned the haircut on Friday. Your introspection never ceases to amaze me and you had already been assuming that since it had been awhile since you had been left in the hands of a babysitter, it was probably coming to that time again. When I explained the plan, you erupted into tears. “No thank you Mama leave, no thank you E play with you.” Heart. Broken.

I did what I assumed I should do…reassured you that it would be fun, that you would be fine, and that it wasn’t going to happen for four more days. For the rest of the day, you double checked that it wasn’t today and you continued to make your opinions known on what was to come. This happened again on Tuesday, then on Wednesday, and on Thursday. You were so sad that my heart wanted to cancel that appointment and just stay with you and love on you all day on Friday. Luckily, my head (and your daddy) said, “No.” Sparing you this sadness would only perpetuate your separation anxiety and would not solve the problem. Still, it hurt. There is this part of the mama bear in me that wants to protect you from all hurts, keep you from being sad at all costs, and make every day of your life filled with nothing but joy. And yet, I know if I do that, I will ruin you. I will rob you of every opportunity for you to see God’s faithfulness in our struggles and deceive you into believing that life is perfect. So we pressed on.

I prayed in the days leading up, arriving at a “Please God” crescendo on Thursday night. I wanted you to feel better about it in the morning and not have any anxiety about what was happening. As is often the case, God had other plans. My prayers were answered, but not in the way I requested.

Friday morning brought anxiety and more pleading for me not to go. In your uncertainty, I saw so much of myself. Longing to be in control, fearing the unknown, desperately grasping for security. I realized then that if you turn out anything like me, this will not be the last time you fear and want to avoid an uncomfortable and uncontrollable situation. So I listened to the God voice in my heart that told me to teach you what I have learned when I feel the same way…pray. Go to Him. Take all of your irrational fear, your mess, your anxiety and lay it at God’s feet asking Him to help you through each moment and guide you through each step.

I sat you on the edge of the bed and said, “Oh buddy…I hate that you are so sad and scared about this. Do you know what Mama does when she is scared and sad about something? I talk to God. I tell Him exactly how I am feeling and ask Him to make me feel brave and strong. I ask Him to give me everything I need to make it through what I am dreading. And you know what? God listens and God helps us.” We prayed together with your little two year old legs dangling and tears filling your eyes and we ventured out to greet E. Your tears continued and you clung to me, but I showed you that I trusted God enough to answer our prayer by giving you a big hug, telling you I loved you BIG MUCH, and walking out the door. Ouch.

I prayed for you as I left. In the grand scheme of life, this is such a small, small problem, but I knew it didn’t feel small for you. I know those feelings so well and really wanted to just make them go away for you, but I knew I couldn’t. This was just the beginning of God’s work with you—just has He has shown me, He will use every fear, every anxiety, every bit of trepidation to show that He is faithful in our trials, that He can be trusted, and that even when you feel alone, you are NOT. Not EVER.

My haircut took longer than it was supposed to, but when I walked back into the house I heard the soundtrack of a happy boy. Your feet slapped the floor as you raced around the corner and proudly proclaimed, “Mama!! I was brave and I was STRONG!” showing me your muscles. Triumph. Some might say that the victory was that you were able to be happy with the babysitter while I was away. Sure. But for me, the victory was so much greater. It was one tiny example, set in your brain and rooted in your heart that when we are scared, we go to God. That doesn’t mean that He takes the scary away, but that He is faithful to give us everything we need to walk through it and that we never have to take a step without Him by our side.

As I soaked in the BIG hug you gave me, I asked God to forgive me for almost robbing you of such a HUGE lesson. I asked Him to keep me from getting in the way as He molds you and shapes you into the man He has called you to be, because one thing I know for sure…He has BIG plans for you, little one.

I love you, buddy. BIG much.

Mama

What does the angel say?

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Lovebug,

Today we had a great conversation and I just had to save it here so you could read about it later. We were having dinner together and you kept wanting to play with mama’s angel. I have a sweet little Willow Tree angel who sits on our table and you just love her. You always want to hold her and play with her, and I have to remind you frequently that you have to be gentle with her—you typically oblige.

Tonight you were sharing your dinner with the angel and letting her sip from your cup. At one point, you were making her “talk” and she was making a “Ribbit!” sound. I chuckled and said, “Buddy, that’s not what an angel says! An angel says…” Pause. I really had to think here. What DOES an angel say? Given the circumstance, there are a wide variety of possibilities…how could I narrow it down to one sound byte? I had to think about what an angel could always say, in any situation, and then it occurred to me. “Buddy, an angel says ‘God loves you!’” You smiled and said, “Angel says…God love ooo!” From there, our conversation went on.

“Yes, buddy! An angel says ‘God loves you,’ because He does! And you know what? No matter how you are feeling or what is going on in your world, God always loves you.” I explained that God loves you, even when you are having a really crummy day and it seems like He is miles away. I told you that He loves you even when things happen in your life that you don’t understand. That He loves you every day, whether you want Him to or not. I explained that even though sometimes your feelings will try to convince you otherwise, His love for you is unchanging and perfect.

This conversation was a great reminder for your mama, too. Your daddy and I have been surrounded by really sad stories lately. Stories of hurting friends, grieving families, and seemingly “hopeless” situations. We have been praying so hard for precious people in our lives, and we aren’t getting the answers we were hoping for. It’s times like these that we have to choose to believe and trust God and His love, even when He feels far away. We have to trust that His plan is BIG and perfect and ends in an eternity with no more tears, pain, or sadness, no matter how tough things get in the short term.

Life can be so hard, sweet boy. There will be times when you are hurting and you will feel like God doesn’t care. When you don’t feel God close to you, choose to believe Him and trust Him at His word:

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they will not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched,
Nor will the flame burn you.
“For I am the Lord your God” Isaiah 43:2-3

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
And saves those who are [a]crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

He loves you, sweet boy…BIG MUCH. Don’t you ever forget it.

AML,

Mama

On the eve of two…

Lovebug,

You turn two tomorrow. I have been saying that to myself all day so that I can wrap my mind around it and prepare myself for the reality that you will cease to be my little one year old babe in just a few short hours. Throughout my life I have been challenged by the ends of chapters/seasons. When change is imminent, I feel myself desperately trying to savor every last moment and cherish what I feel is slipping away. So today we did all of our “usual” activities—all of the things that you love to do. Reading books, playing trucks, and of course, going to visit the ducks and fish at the pond. You had a long, playful bath and once you were in your jammies, we curled up in the chair for bedtime. I gave you extra rocking and snuggling and told you how much I loved you. As I laid you in your crib and crept out of your room, I waited for a pang to enter my stomach as I acknowledged that I had my last day with you as a one year old.

 

Much to my surprise, it wasn’t there.

 

I felt happy…grateful…and totally at peace.

 

As I thought about why this was the case, it fell on me with unbelievable clarity. I wasn’t trying to hang on to this year because I knew without question that I had savored it and enjoyed it completely.

 

Unlike with other seasons, where I felt like I didn’t appreciate them enough or knew that I took them for granted, I could walk away from this year knowing that I had left nothing on the table. By the grace of God, I remained present with you during every day—not wishing a single moment to go faster or to be altered in any way. I loved you with every cell in my body. I gave you all of my energy. I withheld nothing.

 

Even on days that were less than perfect, I never wanted to be anywhere else. I was covered up in gratitude every single day that I could be right here with you and your daddy—I wanted for nothing.

 

I enjoyed the sights, the sounds, the touches. I relished in your new achievements and marveled at your growth. I laughed with you. Held you when you cried. Made messes and cleaned them up. Some moments were glamorous and others were cringe-worthy, but I remain thankful for them all.

 

So while it is in the nature of mamas to always wish for more time, I don’t regret any of the days of this year. I didn’t squander a single one. I haven’t been perfect—I have certainly made mistakes, but taking you for granted wasn’t one of them. What an incredible gift from God. My heart is full knowing that I have loved and savored every day I have been blessed to have with you. My prayer as we walk into 2 tomorrow morning is that this time next year I can say the same thing.

 

I love you BIG MUCH.

mama

Mama’s child

Oh Lovebug, in the scheme of letters and posts directed to you, this one is a little silly but I can’t help but write about it!!  My child, you LOVE to organize!!!!  As I write those words, I am literally grinning from ear to ear thinking of the countless moments that have led me to make such an assertion.  For months now, you have loved putting items back in their proper places.  The teacher in me beamed at the development of categorization in your brain, but now it has grown into so much more.  You close doors that are left open.  You rearrange items in our cabinets.  You pick up clothes you find around the house and carry them into the laundry room.  It’s enough to make me swoon!!

Last night, I was getting everything ready for bath/bedtime when I came across this scene on your toy shelf.  You had very meticulously arranged Dexter and one of your “guys” beneath the covered deck on Noah’s Ark.  I was so touched by the sweetness of it, I had to snap a picture.

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When I met you in the bathroom and told you that it was time to hop in the tub, you rushed past me.  I realized you had a random car in your hands and knew exactly what you were doing.  You wanted to be sure to put it away before bath time.  I followed you into your room and watched as you returned the car to its proper place.  Before racing back to the bath, you made sure to nestle Dexter back into the driver’s seat of his digger and put your “guy” away as well!!  I was covered up in joy over this little moment.  Your attention to detail and follow through is just exquisite!!

Another mom at My Gym yesterday laughed when her boy threw blocks across the room and you hurried over, scooped them up, and returned them to the block pile.  She said her oldest son was the same way and that he continues to love organizing things today at age 9.  That made me wonder…will you?

I am going to share one final example and then I will end this, as I am sure that you are rolling your eyes at what I find so impossibly endearing.  Last week we spent time in St Simons and had guests staying at the beach house.  One of the gentlemen used the restroom and after returning to the group, you walked into the bathroom and promptly put down the seat he had left up!!  My boy!!!

I know it probably seems so silly that I am this amazed by all of this, but this is one of those times where I can actually see me in you.  You are SO wonderfully, beautifully, perfectly like your Daddy in so many ways.  Your hunger for adventure, your boldness, your ability to make us laugh, your impish grin, you truly are your father’s child and I couldn’t be happier.  I love your Daddy with every cell in my body, so naturally I am over the moon that you are so much like him.  It warms my heart, though, to find a glimmer that you and I share.  I’m not sure if this is a phase or a part of your permanent wiring, but for the moment, I am delighting in it.

You are such a treasure.  Every day that I am blessed to spend with you, I thank God over and over.  I feel forever privileged to have all of this time with you–I love you more than you will ever know!!!!

AML,

Mama

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.

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

 

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.