Today is our son's 23rd birthday. One of my most vivid memories is holding him in my arms at 3:00 am that first night in the hospital and thinking about the future for him. I can remember praying that the Lord would bless our efforts as parents. We felt so inadequate. Still do for that matter. That's why I know it has been the Lord all these years.
When I think of our son so many words pop into my mind....full of integrity, truthful and honest, considerate, godly, tender, energetic, driven, strong, faithful, passionate, sincere, generous and kind, funny, witty, diplomatic and tactful, beautiful blue eyes and a million dollar smile...when he combines those two---watch out! :)
Jim and I are so humbled that the Lord chose us to rear James. How grateful that we were committed to being on the same page. I can remember when James was about 2, almost 3, and he had done something which I corrected him for. I was so tired and as soon as I told him not to do whatever it was again, I regretted it, because I knew that he knew I had drawn the line. I sat down and sure enough he 'stepped over the line' and looked at me to see what I would do. As I looked back into his eyes I saw a rebellious 14 year old looking back at me. It was enough to galvanize me into action, to get up and follow through with the appropriate discipline. Over the years I have been so thankful that the Lord allowed me to see that look in our precious toddler because whenever I felt kind of lax...not really wanting to follow through, the Lord would allow me to recall that look. And we definitely followed through with our commitment to love and discipline as the Lord directed.
What is so wonderful about being faithful is to be rewarded with a son who loves the Lord and is walking with Him. To have been so strong-willed when he was younger almost seems like a dream, but today we see a teachable man desirous to do what is pleasing to the Lord; it is so heartwarming.
I use to think that whatever stage we were going through, that is, toddlers or teens or college...was the most important. Each stage is important. The toddler years one is developing and setting the foundation for your child, teaching him what is right and wrong, developing a love for the Lord, etc. The teen years are important in teaching them their value to God, giving them esteem that is Christ centered, holding them accountable for their actions and then following through. All of those years require much prayer. Once he left home for college I realized that the mistakes they make during that time can have far reaching effects, good or bad. It isn't the same as when they are under your roof and you can tuck them at night. As much as I thought prayer was important before, I realized it had far greater importance now.
Today, we can offer suggestions, if asked, but truly our impact isn't what it used to be. And that is where the Lord has helped me to see even more the importance of praying for our son, now that he is gone. We may not be able to sway him one way or another, but I do know that the Lord's power is so much stronger than our son's will. Christ's love for him is so much greater than our love can ever imagine to be. And I know that He is developing him to be the person He has planned for him to be since before the foundation of the world!
So, it is with much joy and happiness that I wish our son HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Enjoy your day, son! We love you....