To my precious son, Josh,

The one who refuses, absolutely refuses, to make a straight face at the camera in this stage, insisting on never taking this world too seriously.

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The one who can take a pile of Lego and create something amazing from what others perceive as a mess.

The one who takes apart every flashlight, alarm clock, remote control, or any other piece of equipment that will accept a screw driver.

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The one who sees beauty in another’s ashes.

The one who has an impeccable sense of humor.

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The one who loves his brother unconditionally and is his self-proclaimed advocate/care-taker/ally.

The one who has a fascinating desire to read and does so exceptionally (but isn’t so crazy about math).

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The one who loves amazingly well, without limits.

The master of all video games and the programmer of technology for the household.

The one who is quick to forgive.

The one who gives ever-creative, mind-boggling answers to the most simple of questions.

Son, you are amazing. I am so proud of you.

When the world hands you a big lemon and then turns its back you refute by gathering condensation off of plants, inventing the latest all-natural sweetener, Judo-chopping the lemon open, and scaling the mountain in front of you to reach the exact elevation which will birth the proper temperature to concoct the perfectly sweetened lemon Slushie. You are beautiful on the inside and handsome on the outside. You are thankful for the good things, and you love without limits. Boy, I think you are outstanding.

You see the world about three shades differently than most. I find your mind fascinating. It is one thing I absolutely adore about you and never want to change. I can sit and watch you think through situations for hours.

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Son, this year, as I pray is full of good memories, I know will have tumultuous times accompanying it. People will make fun of you. People will hurt you. People will let you down.

That’s ok.

Albeit hard, just know that their teasing has nothing to do with you, but is derived from a place deep down inside of them that they don’t like. Keep your focus on who God says you are.

Son, befriend the child in class who acts differently, because you don’t know what battles they face inside of themselves.

Befriend the one who wears ragged clothing, as they may not know where their next meal will come from.

Befriend the one who is angry. You don’t know what they’re dealing with at home.

Befriend the one who has a different smell than you. They may come from a different back ground, or may not have a Mom and Dad looking after them like you do.

Befriend the one who looks differently than you. Each of us is a unique building block that makes up this beautiful world. We are all loved equally by the One who created us, and are called to love everyone the same.

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Befriend the one who spends his or her time quiet in a corner. They may desperately want a friend, but not know how to make one.

Befriend the one who would rather read than talk. It’s ok to just sit with someone and not say anything.

Befriend the child who is ok with themselves in their own skin and loves you for exactly who you are.

Love yourself for exactly who you are.

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Son, I’m not saying that everyone should like you, because they won’t, and that’s ok. You were never put on earth to make everyone like you. I’m not saying that you should allow someone to bully you or consistently treat you badly, either. I’m saying that everyone deserves an opportunity to be loved, to be cared about, and to be appreciated for who they are, even though they sometimes hurt your feelings. It’s a hard thing to do, but you can do hard things. I have every faith in you, and the Lord working through you. He will allow you to reach out to someone when it is not easy, though your “friends” may make fun of you for doing so. You might just realize those people laughing are really not the kind of friends you want to be around in the first place.

Josh, be Jesus to someone who otherwise may not see Jesus from anyone else in the world.

I love that you’re so good at going against the grain, at marching to your own beat, do it in every aspect of your life. Do not conform. Do not give in…and don’t give a second thought as to what someone thinks of you. Your focus is what Jesus thinks, no man alive has dominion on that aspect of your life.

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Every inventor or artist I have met first started with a dream of their creation, a deep-seeded thought that consumed their days, down to the seconds. I would imagine the same of our Father. He started you in a dream. He thought of how you would look, from the shape of your toe nails to your facial expressions. He loved you in that dream and imagined how you would dance, what your voice would sound like, how you would sing, and he reveled in every second of it. He utilized that dream as a blue print to meticulously orchestrate you into being, to lovingly weave together every fiber of your being into a beautiful tapestry. He was thinking of you the whole time, glad that you were coming into existence. Son, the Creator of the universe so lovingly made you for a purpose…just as he did every single person on the planet. Respect the purpose of those around you by being kind, compassionate, and understanding.

I don’t often pray for you to have a good day. I pray instead for God to show up for you in a mighty way.  Why?  Because life is hard, son, and those hard days draw us nearer to the One who created us…and they give us the opportunity to see what we are really made of: grit, grace, and perseverance. Remember, perseverance does not disappoint. It builds a rich character in us that allows us to reach into the lives of others and love without limits. I pray for you to drink deep of his goodness, mercy, and his love, oh, the love the Father has lavished upon us…You’ve only just begun your pursuit of discovering God’s love for you. What an incredible journey lay ahead of you.

With more love than the earth and sky can profess,

Mom

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