To My Little Man on His Fourth Birthday

Micah turned four years old yesterday. More than any other birthday thus far, this one left me reeling a bit. He's four. His baby years are over. I no longer have a toddler son. I have a child on my hands. In so many ways, he is more man than infant. The baby fat has been replaced by lean muscle. He speaks with startling sage wisdom tempered only by the speech struggles of a young one. He throws fewer tantrums and instead finds quiet mischief to occupy the wildness of his spirit. His future self now holds a shape in my mind. I see who he is becoming. I like him.

I know this is crazy talk for you mammas out there who are eking out the final senior days of high school with your baby boys. It's just that somehow this fourth birthday made me realize how soon I will be in your shoes. My realization doesn't make me sad or overly sentimental. Rather, it makes me missional. I have an important job to do here--to raise a godly man, not a good kid.

 I was feeling so many feelings, and there simply wasn't enough chocolate in the house. So, I wrote a letter which I have a wild hair to share. Enjoy.

My Dearest Micah,

You turned four years old today. Those four years went by as quickly as a breath. Impossibly fast. As the days pass away, I understand increasingly that I am doing more than raising a child. I am preparing a man to walk with the Lord. And it is an impossible job. 

The job is impossible because I am broken and flawed. I am physically weak, more so than other mommies we know. It's also impossible because I can model and share with you the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but I can’t make you believe it. I can’t open your spiritual eyes or bequeath to you my faith. I cannot do God’s work. So I find myself completely, utterly dependent upon Jesus for the most important job I will ever do, but I am at peace with the impossibility of it all because I have learned that dependence is good.

More than anything I teach, I hope you really learn dependence. May you never be self-sufficient in your own eyes.  As you grow, the world will tell you that you are strong and powerful and need no one but yourself. Do not believe these lies.  May you always see yourself as the broken, needy creature that you are, for only then can you be made whole and well. 

Many parents pray their children will be beautiful, intelligent, talented, successful, comfortable, and popular. I pray that you will shine like a light in a dark world, be wise in the ways of God, be graced by the gifts of the Spirit, be humble though mighty in Kingdom work, learn to be content in all circumstances and be rejected by the world as your Savior is, for no servant is greater than his Master. Granted, these are crazy prayers. Big prayers. But they matter.

I am appalled that you are already so far on your journey to manhood, but I am thrilled to catch glimpses of the man you are becoming. Your mind is a sponge, taking in astounding amounts of information all the time. You are brilliant, gifted and very funny. Although I never asked for it, you are beautiful, inside and out. You are grateful. You say “thank you” for things adults often take for granted. You are tender in heart toward the Lord and the people around you. Never lose that. Never.

I believe you are destined for great things, Bubs, but not by the world’s limited standards. I believe you are destined for deeds and feats that will last forever. God has magnificent plans for you—plans for your prosperity, never for your harm. In the Lord, you have hope and an everlasting future. My deepest wish is that you will embrace it all. 

I love you, Little Man. I am so proud of you. I feel unspeakably privileged to be your mother, and I will be forever grateful that our Lord entrusted your soul to my care.

Grace and Peace to you,

Thanks to Jolly Tucker Photography for the stunning photos!