How can it be that you’re 25 years old tomorrow? I really don’t have the words…and you’re probably glad. Over the years, you have single-handedly taken me to my knees more often than you realize – praying to be the parent God would have me be for you; appealing to God for all the moves (overseas and stateside) to not be too hard for you; asking for comfort when situations were sometimes hard anyway; and thanking Him for all He did for you – the friendships, the opportunities, and His relationship with you from forever.
So many memories. “Let’s go kill buffalo!” Following your sister around for play ideas. Grandparent visits. Family vacations at the Chesapeake Bay. Carpool buddies. Gameboy. Drawing cartoons. Computer games. Getaways to the Red Sea. Dreamcast. Baptism back home in Tennessee. Roadtrips to the Sahara. Soccer. Cousins. Airports. Basketball. Grumpy when hungry – feed the boy. High School Rock Band. Great friendships. Game Nights. Sleep-Overs. PlayStation. Laughter. Working out. Classical Guitar. VCU. Aletheia Praise Band. Sharing a house with your brother, sister, and then Duy. Met and married beautiful Bekkah. Grad school at East Carolina. Now back to Virginia, working and making a home…grown.
Settled for now in the U.S. after so many stamps in your passport. Settled in our hearts forever. You make us laugh, and you make us think. Your grown-up heart is so worth the childhood/teen year battles. And your music…what a gift to us. Whether you’re on electric, acoustic, or classical guitar. Your music goes right to the heart. Thank you for honing the gift God gave you.
As you round the bend on this first quarter-century, I leave you with God’s word to Joshua, Oswald Sanders’ word to leaders, and a poem often quoted by our friend Tom Elliff.
Happy birthday, Son. I’ll love you forever.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9
“When a person is really marked out for leadership, God will see that that person receives the necessary disciplines for effective service.” – J. Oswald Sanders, Spiritual Leadership
When God wants to drill a man,
And thrill a man,
And skill a man.
When God wants to mould a man
To play the noblest part;
When He yearns with all His heart
To create so great and bold a man
That all the world shall praise –
Watch His method, watch His ways!
How He ruthlessly perfects
Whom He royally elects;
How He hammers him and hurts him,
And with mighty blows converts him
Into trial shapes of clay which only God understands
While his tortured heart is crying and he lifts beseeching hands!
How He bends, but never breaks,
When his good He undertakes. . . .
How He uses whom He chooses
And with every purpose fuses him,
By every art induces him
To try his splendor out –
God knows what He’s about. – Anon.