You are almost a year old. By day, I watch in amazement as you learn and grow. How did you get SO BIG, SO FAST? I’ll never know. By night, I plan your first birthday party and hustle to finish your nursery.
Planning a party and decorating a nursery are incredibly fun, yet difficult tasks for me. I’m a storyteller. A lover of beauty and meaning, metaphor and words. Never have those things been more important to me than now.
You entered this world a perfect miracle, ours for the raising. You won’t remember your nursery or your first birthday party, but I will. For me, they set the tone for everything your dad and I hope to instill in your heart and mind over the next 17+ years.
When I walk into your room or celebrate your first year, I hope to be reminded of the big picture. Small daily stresses have a way adding up, until they are consuming far too much time and energy. I want your room and your birthday to bring me back to home base.
I’ll try to explain.
Originally the theme of your little man cave was polar bears, until I found a cover for your boppy lounger with mountains on it. It snowballed from there.
Polar bears are still well-represented, but mountains have a commanding presence in your room. I love them in a literal sense, because you’re already a determined climber. But more than that, I love them for all the great metaphors they contain about life and faith.
The innocence of childhood is a magical, yet heart-breaking thing. I would give all I have to make it last, but that’s not possible. Therefore my job is to prepare your spirit for battle, against anything that tries to tear you down and turn you away from your God-given purpose.
It’s an age-old fight that seems to have intensified with time. This generation is increasingly hostile toward Jesus, the bible, and each other. Even within the Church, division is rampant. God’s truth runs counter to culture, making this whole mountain thing as much for me as you.
I feel like I’m standing at the bottom of the tallest, steepest mountain I will ever encounter. Daunted. Wondering how I, with all my sin and flaws, will successfully lead you to Christ. And do so in such a way that you will be more than just a casual fan, liking His teachings but never fully applying them to your life. I want what Jesus wants…for you to follow him. In order to get you to that point, you first have to follow (your dad and) me. The mere thought of it is humbling, terrifying, and motivating, all at the same time.
Because while I don’t know exactly what God has in store for you, my gut says you will be called to ignite a ceasefire.
The devil has gained a foothold when it comes to unity, and it’s going to take an army of God’s soldiers to shake him loose. I hope you will be among them. Maybe even leading. Which sets a mighty high bar for us as parents. We are your first examples of how to walk in love while standing firmly in truth. A very difficult thing to do.
But there’s no turning back now. You’re here, staring up at us with big, blue eyes. Perpetually imploring What’s next, Dada? Where are we going, Mama?
May our every action, inaction, and interaction lead you in the right direction. So that when our job is done, and we’ve carried you as far as we can go, you will continue on. Taking heaven’s banner to new heights, for all the world to see.
Enough talking. Baby, let’s climb.