"Did you see how strong I am, Mama?"
We were on a walk in the woods...just the two of us. He had just defeated a near-dead limb with ninja-like movements and a walking stick bigger than he was. I smiled to myself and affirmed his feat of great strength.
His increasing sense of adventure is matched only by his passion to be with, and be like, his Dad. I love and encourage that endeavor, even though it means I take the back seat for awhile. So I treasure these fleeting moments when he seeks my acknowledgement and approval. In that brief window of opportunity, it dawned on me that strength is not the only thing I see in him. And I want to make sure he knows it.
1. You are strong. Yes, Son, you are strong. You are growing stronger (and taller!) every day. But more than physical height and brawn, I hope you always remember your greatest strength comes from Christ. The day will come when you face challenges greater than sticks and leaves. You'll face choices that could potentially threaten your innocence and your character. When that time comes, remember that in Christ you are strong. No matter what your friends do, no matter what the world says you should do, be strong. Because your strength comes from Someone greater.
Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you
is greater than he who is in the world. (1 John 4:4)
2. You are smart. In a world that insists on "dumbing us down" by feeding us a steady diet of entertainment, ideologies, and philosophies they deem important, I pray you always seek Truth. I hope you love to learn, but not just for knowledge's sake. Remember where true knowledge and wisdom are found...search out that Truth, and always, always speak up for it. Determine to choose what's right, even when it's not popular (and especially then).
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise
wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7)
3. You have a purpose. God has has given you specific abilities and talents for a reason...there are things He created you to do. It's OK if you make some mistakes along the way, everyone does. Learn from them, and grow from them. As much as you can, learn from the mistakes others have already made. Run hard after God. Discover what He created you for. Then pursue those things with great passion.
Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might (Ecclesiastes 9:10).
4. You are funny. This one isn't too deep, but seriously...you are funny! You have brought such joy and laughter to our family, and we are happier because you're here. Your humor and silliness will serve you well in the years to come if you learn to use it well. It can keep you from taking yourself too seriously. But remember to never use it at someone else's expense. As a great philosopher once said, "with great power comes great responsibility!"
A joyful heart is good medicine (Proverbs 17:22)
5. You are loved. Of course Dad and I love you. Your 6-year-old self never questions that. I pray your 16-year-old self, your 26-year-old self, and all the "selfs" between and beyond never question it either. I pray you also know that God loves you. He loved you before you were born. He loves you when you mess up and when you get it right. Nothing you do can make Him love you any more, or any less, than He already does. In the years to come...when you wrestle with what you believe and struggle to understand all that you've been shown and taught...remember this one thing: God, and Dad, and I all love you more than you know.
I thank my God in all my remembrance of you (Philippians 1:3)
Yes, Son, I see how strong you are, but more than that, I see how strong you will become.
Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe,
and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”
~ A.A. Milne
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