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Tag: birthday (page 1 of 3)

Thank You, God, That We Get to Spend Time Together

Eli, it is hard to believe that you are 7 years old!  Happy Birthday!

Ever since I laid my eyes on you, I have been constantly amazed by your resolve.  You don’t let anything slow you down!  Whether it is reading or building or playing music, you find a way to get it done and get it done well.  It seems like you discover something new everyday, and I find myself learning from you everyday.

While I have loved watching you grow and mature in so many ways, I have been so grateful for the growing desire that you have to follow Jesus.  Your commitment to reading God’s Word and talk through what you learn at the church house has brought so much excitement and joy to my heart!  For all the things I have prayed for you over the years, there is nothing more that I want for you than to follow Jesus with your whole heart!

I have always loved the honesty of your prayers.  I have prayed that you would never lose that.  I remember when you first started praying, you would pray with your eyes open.  Before I could correct you on such a practice, I noticed what you were doing and I have to admit, I have started copying what you did.  With eyes wide open, you would say, “Thank you God for Mommy, Daddy, Obie, this chicken, the apple, the tea…”  And on and on and on you went!  You would get specific for what you prayed and you would pray for just about everything.

Ever since that time, you have one thing that you thank God for repeatedly.  Out of all the things you could repeat (because everybody has certain things they almost always say in prayers), you almost always repeat one line verbatim:

“Thank you, God, that we get to spend time together.”

No matter the time or the situation, you always thank God that your family spends time together.  I don’t think you will ever know how much that means to me.  In a world that seems bent on pulling families apart, you are a constant reminder to draw closer.  The hectic pace of family life seems to have so many going in so many directions, yet you teach me the need for simplicity and the power of a close-knit family.

To have such a wonderful and precious and talented son as you is amazing.  To have that son show gratitude to God that he gets to spend time with me and the rest of his family is a reward of which I am completely undeserving.  You will never know how thankful I am to God for allowing me to have such a wonderful son as you.

I also thank God that we get to spend time together.

One of these days, we will probably discuss what some call the love languages.  An author once said that there are primarily five ways that people express their love for others (gifts, words, time, touch, service).  I never have to guess which your primary love language is.  It means so much to you when someone slows down and shows interest in what you are doing.  I love that you are my tag along buddy.  I can’t think of a time when you were not eager to follow me to the church house, the shop, the garage, the dump, Lowe’s, or just about anywhere.  I treasure those times more than you will ever know.

Everyone tells me to enjoy these times when you want to spend time with me.  I do.  I love on Sunday mornings having you beside me at soundchecks.  I am thankful for a right-hand man equipped with a full tool belt beside me each time I have a home project.  I cherish those times when you crawl up into my lap just to be close.

And I also pray that as you grow, that desire will never change.  I am sure how we express that to one another will adapt, but I pray that you still desire to tag along when you are a teenager.  I pray you desire closeness as you become an adult.  I pray when I am old and senile that you still love spending time with me.  And I also realize that so much of that has to do with how intentional I am with you versus what I expect you to be for me.  I know that I will never ever tire of spending time with you.

On your seventh birthday, I pray that you know that your father loves you very much and he treasures the simple and beautiful fact that we get to spend time together.

2556 Days of Being Your Dad

Obadiah, it is unfathomable to me that you are turning 7 today.

That means that I have had the privilege of being your dad for 2556 days.

I’ve had 61,344 hours to watch you grow.

3,680,640 minutes to pray for you.

220,838,400 seconds to enjoy life with you.

And I count every one of those seconds as lost that I did not spend completely engaged with you.  You see, I try to devote myself to you in so many ways.  It is easy to get distracted in life (you admittedly know that temptation).  But I must say this, I have never once regretted spending one of those minutes with you.  In your 61,344 hours of life, I have never once regretted chasing one of your dreams with you.

Those numbers may seem like a lot, but you fill every one of them up with passionate joy, philosophical discussions, and creative endeavors.

I celebrate all of those seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, and years.  Ever since they handed you to me in the hospital, my life changed.  You made me a father.  I’m not perfect, but oh, how I am striving to be the best father to you and your siblings.  I want to father you the way God fathers us.

Rescue You

It startled me at 4:30 this morning when I saw you by my bedside.  You had walked down the stairs to tell me of your bad dream, but I’ll be honest I thought the story in it was great.  Granted, I was saddened that you were dreaming that a giant eagle grabbed you off of the church playground and began to take you away from your friends.  But I did love the part of the dream where you said I rescued you from the eagle.

“Well, buddy, then I guess you are OK.  You want to go back to bed then?”

“Yeah, it was just kind of hard to tell if it was a dream or real.  But at least you rescued me.  So I guess it wasn’t that bad of a dream after all.”

No, it wasn’t.  I pray that whether the fears in your life are real or are in your dreams that you know you are never alone.  I am here for you.  Rest assured in that.  Your father will protect you.  Your father will point you to one who can protect you even more intently and ferociously than I will.

I have loved watching you get to know him better this year.  Jesus is talking to you.  He is drawing you.  And you are drawing in.  I can’t wait to see where all this goes in this next year.

Among the games and the Legos this morning, I loved watching you open up that song journal.  As you read “Amazing Grace” on the cover, you stated, “That’s my favorite song.”  The sigh you gave when you realized that you could write your own worship songs on those blank pages was a gift to me.  I love watching you scribble your words in your attempts to show God how much you love him.

As I think of all the wonderful things you will write on those pages, I am thankful to God for all the things he is writing on the pages of your life.  You are a treasure, and I love reading what God is writing in you.

Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. -Psalm 139:16

You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. -2 Corinthians 3:2

Happy Birthday, Son.  You are loved and treasured more than my pages could ever say.

Stronger Hands

I can remember the day this picture was taken.  I was holding my newborn daughter, Gloria, in the backyard while our friend Paige did a photoshoot for our family.  We were near the two trees in the backyard that hold up the hammock.  As I extended her forward, I thought of how my hand surrounded her entire head and it reminded me of the brilliance of God in how he causes life, development, and growth to be.

I remembered how blessed we were that God sustained her and showed us such grace to watch over her during her birth.

I knew so very little about this baby at the time.  I knew more about me than I knew about her.  I didn’t know what her personality would be like at the time, but I was sure of my commitment to her.

As I held her out in my arms, I was sure of one thing: this baby will not hit the ground.  She will always be safe in the arms of her father.

And today, that baby is three years old.

Where as the time gone?  Where has my baby gone?  This tiny baby has grown into a 3-year-old princess right before my eyes.

She is one of the most joyful, hilarious, compassionate little things I have ever met in my life.  I dread the day when I come home and she isn’t running into my arms.  I will miss those moments when she is shadowing me through the house talking about every single thing.  I will remember these days of her asking me, “Can I hold you?”

While she is older, my commitment is the same to her: she will always be safe in the arms of her father.  That’s one of my parenting goals with her.

I want her to grow up knowing that there is no place as secure and consistent as when she is protected and nurtured by her father.

I work for this goal for two reasons:

  1. Her perception of her earthly father will impact her perception of her Heavenly Father.  I have seen this too many times.  Many people will attribute qualities of their fathers to God.  If that is going to happen, let me help in that regard and not hurt the process.  When she thinks of God, I want her to think of him as consistent, joyful, compassionate, protective, and sincerely intentional.  I want her to believe with her whole heart that he is serious about sin but also gracious towards it.  He is perfectly able to provide discipline and grace.  I want her to believe in a God who sings and dances over her due to his immense love for her (Zeph. 3:17).  If that is the God that I want her to follow, I want to imitate my fathering after him so that if she thinks of me, it helps rather than hurts her perception of God.  I know I will never measure up to his greatness, but that does not mean I will not give it my all though.
  2. Her perception of her earthly father will impact her standard of a future husband.  I want to raise the bar so high in the way that I love her that no trivial, inconsistent, moody, self-seeking, worldly boy ever stands a chance with her.  I want her to be able to see the way I treasure her and never wonder if she is a mere trinket to another.  I want to value who she is on the inside so much that she will never struggle with what others think of her on the outside.  I want to pursue Jesus so much that any boy who is casually associated with following Christ seems unthinkable in her eyes.  I want the way that I serve her mother raises the bar in her eyes on how a man should treat her.  I want her to feel such security with me that she would never settle for someone who will not lay his life down for her the way that Christ loved the Church (Eph. 5:25).

It’s going to take stronger hands to take her out of mine.

No weak boy will be able to pry her out of my hands.  It is going to take someone as strong or stronger.  I am praying for someone who loves Jesus so much that I am in awe of his devotion.

I’ve been thinking about it so much lately because of weddings I have officiated in recent years.  As I look at these fathers and daughters, I wake up for a moment and realize how fleeting these years are.  I must follow Christ so closely before her that provides a standard that will stick with her throughout her life.

That’s my prayer.  I want to live in such a way that makes her love God so much.  I want to love her in such a way that she is secure in who she is.  I want to provide what she (as a little lady) needs: love, security, and consistency.

Gloria, I pray that as I hold you at every stage of your life that my hands will be strong.  I pray that God continues to make them more secure to hold you through different seasons of your life.  Happy Birthday, Princess Gloria, you are treasured more than my words could ever express.

 

6 Years of Gazing Upwards

It’s hard to fathom that 6 years ago I was standing in a Self Regional hospital room awaiting you to arrive.  Happy birthday, Obadiah.  It’s true what people say about how fast it goes.

Lil’ buddy, you are just growing up right before my eyes.

photo-2You are compassionate, smart, kind, giving, and very sensitive.

You love to write, draw, read, play baseball, play the “drum-bay,” pretending to be Spiderman, and to be in a state of deep thinking.  I often call you the philosopher because of how you can be processing deep things no matter what else is going on around you.

You woke up early this morning but pretended to still be asleep so that I could come and get Eli out of the room only to reenter the room with the rest of the family and sing “Happy Birthday.”  You wanted the first thing you saw this morning was the 4 of us singing the song with the “cha cha cha” part at the end of the phrases.  We were happy to oblige.  I loved watching you hop around your bed and see the excitement in your eyes.

We then spent a fun morning opening gifts.  I love that, without any prompting, you asked Eli and Gloria to help open your gifts and play with your toys.  You have such an understanding and compassionate heart towards others.

I love the activities that you chose to do today because it speaks to who you are.  I can’t wait to play kickball with you this evening, and I love all of our talks with your desire to understand things more.  I love watching you initiate working on your Scripture memory.  Whether it is Gen. 1:1 or Col. 3:20, I love hearing you recite God’s Word.

While there are many reasons everyday I am reminded of what an honor it is to be your father, one stuck out to me as I woke up today.  It was the Sunday before last.  You and Eli were coming along with me to soundcheck for worship that morning.  Earlier in the week, you had asked me what songs we were going to sing, and I let you listen to the music with me.  You absolutely loved “Arise My Love.”  While it was a new song to you, it was first recorded when Dad was only 6 years old!  Isn’t that ironic that you were listening to a song when you were almost 6 that was written when your dad was 6?!

As we drove around in the truck, you said, “I can’t wait to sing that song on Sunday!  My favorite part is the ‘boom boom’ at the end cause it makes me think of when Jesus moved the stone away and rose from the dead!  I just love it!”

We laughed and had a good time talking about the resurrection that Easter week.  On Sunday morning, I was busy making sure all of my tasks were completed.  You were setting up your “drum-bay” and Eli was tuning his guitar.  You got in your perch on stage, and I began practice.  I glanced back towards you from time to time to make sure you were OK.  I knew that you were, but it’s just a habit for a dad.

I missed something that you did that morning, but someone was taking pictures and I saw it later that afternoon.  I was going through pictures that was taken during the Sunday services, and I came across one that made me tear up.  While we were all practicing “Arise My Love,” there was a picture that showed you in the back with a priceless expression on your face.  You were sitting on your stool that you pull out each week, banging on your drum, singing along, and your gaze is fixed upwards with the most genuine sense of joy illuminating your face.  It was an unintentional photobomb.

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I asked you later about it, and you said, “It was just so awesome to sing ‘arise’ and think about Jesus getting out of that grave!”  By your face, I believed you.  You actually inspired me.  The pure and precious expression said so much about you.  The gaze upwards said so much more.  You are understanding so much about Jesus these days.  You are asking more questions about the Bible and what it means to become a Christian.  I love our conversations and pray that they will be more and more.

As your dad, the thing I desire for you most of all is for you to keep your gaze upwards.  This is a verse that we could memorize together this year, “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (Col. 3:2).  Whenever I look at this picture, I am reminded of this verse.  My prayer for you is that you will develop a heart for God more and more day by day.  I pray that when you look forward, you will find your father’s face still amazed at who Jesus is, and I pray that when I look backwards, I will see that expression even more sincere as the years go by.

Your father loves you very much.  You are my precious son and I am honored to be your father.  You have so much to give to this world, and I can’t wait to see all that Jesus does through you.

Obie

1 Whole Handful

paige stumbo photography (12)I am the father of a 5-year-old.

Obadiah has kinda been excited about it to say the least.  He has been telling everyone concerning his upcoming birthday.  Yesterday, someone told him that he would now be one whole handful at five years old.  That saying stuck and he has proceeded to tell everyone in Greenwood that.

This morning, I did what he asked me to.  I woke everyone else up to get close to his bed and sing “Happy Birthday” to him the first thing.  I asked him if he felt five, and he said, “No, I just feel 4 still.”

We have some exciting things planned for today and this month as we celebrate both of the boys’ birthdays.

What I love about Obadiah is how excited he gets about the small things.
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