I can hardly believe you are 13 today! Your birth was the beginning of my greatest adventure, the adventure of motherhood. It seems like just yesterday I was talking to Grandmama and Grandaddy while they were celebrating their anniversary in Hawaii, telling them they were going to be grandparents. It’s only been a blink of an eye since your first steps, your first words, your first haircut. How could it have been more than a moment since you last called me Mommy? And yet, here you are, standing beside me now, almost eye to eye. You are becoming a man right before my eyes, but before the day comes when you will leave the nest – and it will even more quickly than the last 13 years, I’m sure – I want to be sure there are things that you know.
First, know that Mom and Dad will fail you. Your closest friends will disappoint you. There will even be a special girl or two who will crush your heart. But in all the shortcomings of humanity, there is a God who is faithful, who never disappoints, never leaves you wanting, always supplies, always provides, always cares for you. Don’t be afraid to follow hard after God, even when it means being different than those around you. The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy. They are steadfast for ever and ever, done in faithfulness and uprightness. He provided redemption for his people; he ordained his covenant forever – holy and awesome is his name. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise. Psalm 111:7-10
Second, know that you don’t have to wait until you grow up to impact the world with your faith or the gifts God has given you. Do not waste your youthful energy and enthusiasm, your ability to dream big and then run after it – use that energy, that enthusiasm, those dreams to begin to do the work God has given you to do. Pursue the passions He has placed in your heart with all that you have. Give yourself wholeheartedly to your education and recognize how everything you do now is preparing you for what He has in store for your future. But also be aware, keep your eyes open, for all the ways He is already using you now. He has given you such a gift of compassion for others, use it well. Be on the lookout for those who are hurting, minister to those in need, pray with those in need of comfort. Cultivate the rich prayer life God has already begun to grow in you. Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12
Third, plan your future with open hands, being willing to go where God leads you and do what He has in mind for you. He has planned your greatest future, with your best in mind, and He will help you achieve all He has planned for you if only you will trust Him and follow His leading. Place your relationship with God above all else and everything else in life will line up as it should. The Lord has made it clear over the years that you will be a “mighty man of God” – whether as a Christ following faithful husband and father, or as a dynamic preacher or missionary. Be willing to follow wherever His calling takes you and know that your Dad and I will support you every step of the way. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13
Fourth, begin to pray for the woman who will one day be your wife. Pray for her home life, her spiritual life and her purity. Ask God to begin to prepare her for the life He has for you both. Pray that God will keep your own heart and mind pure while you wait for the day He brings her into your life. Pray for patience to wait and contentment in your relationship with Christ while you are single. Bring each girl you take an interest in before the Lord in prayer and be willing to walk away if she’s not the one for you. A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. Proverbs 31:10-11
Fifth, learn now how to properly manage your money so that you will not be restricted in following God’s calling because of financial difficulties. Develop the habits of saving and tithing and paying cash for things from the beginning. Be generous in giving to those in need and in blessing those around you. God is faithful to provide for your needs. He will bless you for your good stewardship and generosity if you give out of a heart overflowing with gratitude for all He’s given you and not out of obligation. “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.” Malachi 3:10
Lastly I want you to know how proud we are of the young man you have become. From the time you were little, we’ve seen a love and passion for God in your life. We are excited to see that love and passion grow and develop into whatever calling He has for your life.
The following verses are my prayer for you:
For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. Ephesians 1:15-19
Happy Birthday Ross!
Love, Mom and Dad