One day ... they hand you your new bundle of joy. God brought my first-born into my life during a very dark season. My world had pretty much shattered into a pile of rubble. But, that is another story. During a time I felt so hopeless, it was as if God opened the floodgates of heaven and poured out His love on me in a way I could hardly fathom. I was a "girlie girl" ... and there I was ... momma to a SON! :) I could not have been happier. For so many reasons, I had a deep passion to raise him up as a man of honor. I wanted him to be the kind of man who was devoted ... true to his loved ones ... not afraid of hard work ... gentle, yet strong. And just like they say .... before you know it ... it's all over. You're smacked in the face with the reality that your 'baby' is nearly grown.
Recently it was time to take Senior pictures. I had no idea the emotions those would stir up. Not just sappy tears of "I can't believe this day has come" ... but so much more.
Thankfulness ... for these hands. Hands that aren't afraid of hard work, not only for achieving his own goals but for the needs of others. Others, like his two little sisters ... who likely would not have family if it weren't for his hard work as a team player in a family.
Admiration ... for his vision of looking beyond what is seen, to what is unseen. Caring more about eternal things, than physical things. Not being afraid to sacrifice.
Gratefulness ... for the relationship I get to have with my son who is eager to share his dreams with me. For all the late night talks and things pondered. Moms of little boys ... this is the prize of working all those years to cultivate relationship.
Joy ... in seeing a little boy who overcame so much, grow into this young man so settled in who he is and ready for what's ahead. He knows about victories and set backs ... yet perseveres.
Pride ... in seeing his strong work ethic and not being afraid of whatever it takes to get the job done. Watching God grow him into a servant ... someone who cares about the good of the whole group instead of the selfish gain of one.
Praise ... as I watched him grow up to be a lover of music ... not just interested in sound, but also in content. His heart for worship is contagious. He knows who it is that he wants to please first and foremost, that of which is not man.
Seventeen years ago I had NO idea all the blessings God had in store for me, as a mom. One thing I do know is that so many moms get "short-changed" by the world concerning sons. I've been blessed with three ... each so extremely different ... each equally as wonderful ... one of which is still 'in process' (and don't worry, he'd be proud I told you so). Ha ha. Moms of little boys ... grab hold of the amazing opportunity you have to raise up a leader who will make a difference in this generation. Think about the bride he might have someday and how BLESSED she'll be if you take this calling seriously. And think of your grand-children and the legacy you can be part of to pass down to them. Oh, it is not for the faint of heart. But as each season passes, you're one step closer to the end goal.
C is waiting on news from his application to Bible college. It dawned on me as the new year is coming that part of the year he'll be here with us and, Lord willing, part of it he'll be off on his own into the next season. The little country church in the background is the place where I heard of the depth of God's love for me and the relationship He desires with each of us. It's the place where we stood and dedicated this first-born to the Lord. The place that in a few months we'll hand him his high-school diploma.
3 John 2:4 resonates with me.
"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. "
It's not about raising perfect kids ... it's about raising kids that are firmly rooted in truth and who know where to turn when they fall ... then they can get back up and keep going ... into the next season that God has for them. Maybe one day C will walk the aisle of this church with his bride. This momma isn't quite ready for that season ... one season at a time. ;)
(These wonderful photos were taken from a dear friend and photographer Holly Spangler. If you're in the central IL area, you might just want to contact her. ;) She has an amazing way for capturing the heart of her subject. Spangler|Photography ~ email@example.com)