Dear Son: To Andrew

Many, many thanks to you all for your prayers, comments, encouragement, blessings, and help as we welcomed our son, Andrew Christopher, into our family last week.  God was with us.  Everything went smoothly and we are home and settling into life with a newborn!

Our son is beautiful, healthy, and such a precious gift.  Here’s my letter to him, the last of the letters to my children.

~heather~

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Dear Andrew:

Your sister caught me crying over you last night.  She feared for me, worried that I physically hurt, worried that I was sad or scared about you.

Maybe one day this eight-year-old girl will be a mom watching her own newborn sleep and she’ll understand the tears.  I try to explain it to her now…how I’m crying because I’m happy.

But it’s so much more than that and she skips off to bed not really understanding, just content to know that mom is ‘okay.’Andrew

I blink these tears away or maybe they’ll slip down my cheek as I’m watching your baby facial expressions change, listening to you coo, stroking your tiny pink fingers and toes, running my hand softly over the outlines of your face or the fuzz (can’t really call it hair) on your tiny head, or watching your two deep-sea-blue eyes search the room and linger when you see my face.

I’m awestruck.  That’s what I am.  I’m overwhelmed at you, this tiny bundle of expectation, this incomparable gift of God given to your dad and me and to three wildly excited and proud big sisters.

How could God give me a gift so precious, so beautiful?

How could He trust me with the care of a son, a boy to teach about Godly manhood and character, courage, strength, passion for God and His Word and truth?

Already, you teach me with your days-old wisdom, and I’m learning a whole new world of diapering and outfits and caring for a baby boy.  But the lessons, the deep ones that will change who I am as a mom and as a woman, will continue for a long time.

You remind me of this grace, so abundant and undeserved, that God heaps on us.  It’s salvation plus…..the cross itself, the great miracle of mercy, plus a gift so valuable as you placed in the arms of imperfect me.

And isn’t God’s grace always this?  The once-for-all rescue for sinners in Christ’s sacrifice and then daily mercies that He lovingly gives us day after day after day….

So I worship.  All the time.  Worship becomes a middle-of-the-night event, a whispered prayer of tear-filled thanks to a God so mighty and so good.  You teach me how to breathe in and breathe out praise, how sometimes the most beautiful offerings of worship to God contain just three words: “Thank You, Lord.”

You teach me that I’m never on my own, and I’m so thankful for the reminder.  Maybe if you’d been another girl, a fourth daughter for me, I’d be tempted to think, “I’ve got this.  I can do this.  I know this…..I…..I…..I.

Now I am humbled.023

How can I be your mom?

Because God is with me.

How will I know how to train you and guide you?

Because God will give me wisdom, strength, all I need.

It’s a reminder I see even now, cradling your tiny feet in my hands and stroking your soft, pink baby toes.  All these months of knowing I was having a boy, I worried and fretted—how do I connect with him?  How do I relate to a boy?  How do I love him best?

And now I see it in your toes, God’s answer right to me.

You have my feet.

The way two of my toes on each foot connect together a little differently than most.  We’ve always called it “webbed” feet and none of your sisters inherited that from me.026

But you did.

Maybe that’s a little message from God to this nervous mom’s heart, that you are mine, specially chosen to be my son, and I have the privilege, the honor, the blessing to be your God-picked, God-designed, exact right mom for you.

Your dad and I hold you now in excited wonder, wanting so much to see who God designed you to be and what gifts and talents He’s placed in you.  We can’t wait to know you more and more.

And we are praying for you.

We’ve been praying all along, of course.  From the moment we knew you were coming, we held hands in a restaurant, celebrating our anniversary and praying over the news that you were coming.

We prayed about your name, wanting it to reflect God’s plan for you.

So you are Andrew Christopher….

Named for your dad, James Andrew, and named for the first disciple to follow Jesus.  In Scripture, Andrew is a pursuer of truth, first following John the Baptist, then following Jesus, and then bringing others, including Peter, to Christ, as well.

And Christopher, or “Christ-bearer…” one who brings Christ to others.

May it be so.  May your witness, your testimony for Him, your character, your love for God and His Word bring others to Christ and Christ to others.

We pray this verse of blessing over you:

This is what the Lord says:

Let not the wise boast of their wisdom
or the strong boast of their strength
or the rich boast of their riches,
but let the one who boasts boast about this:
that they have the understanding to know me,
that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness,
justice and righteousness on earth,
for in these I delight,”
declares the Lord
(Jeremiah 9:23-24 NIV).

These are our prayers for you, our son.

~mom~

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in the Fall of 2013!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2012 Heather King

Dear Daughter: To Catherine

Dear blog friends and followers,

I’m probably still in the hospital today, hopefully cradling our healthy baby boy, hopefully recovering quickly from a C-section, hopefully (miraculously) getting some sleep.

This week while I’m away, I’ve scheduled posts in advance–some  letters to my children, one for each daughter and then one for my son.  I hope they bless you, too.

Thank you so much for your prayers for me, for my baby, and for my family this week!  I hope to be home, rested, and ready to start sharing with you updates, news, and devotionals again soon.

~heather~

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Dear Catherine,

I call you my “Joy-Bucket,” you’re just so full of excitement, enthusiasm, and sweet irrepressible joy.  It spills right out of you and fills me up, too; it fills up everyone around you.

You’ve been our family cheerleader for years now, patiently sitting in the waiting room of the ballet studio, in the office or the car waiting to pick the girls up from school, in lobbies while your sisters finished camps and activities, and in the auditorium watching everyone else in the family rehearse and perform show after show.

And you never complained.

You happily tagged along and told us all what a great job we were doing.  You’ve made the best audience member even when I took you to see your dad perform in Music Man when you were just four months old.  The lights shown on that stage, the curtains opened and even then in all your baby sweetness, you were entranced by the show.Catherine

It’s thrilling to see you finally taking your turn now. Your turn to grab your backpack and skip out of the house so thrilled to spend a day at preschool.  Your turn to play through your first piano song and cheerfully practice every…single….day….without me ever reminding you.  Your turn to dance in your first ballet class and smile sheepishly as we hand you your first ballet flowers.

It thrills me to be your cheerleader now.

I’m supposed to be teaching you so much and yet every day…every….single….day….you teach me what it means to be beautiful and loving and kind.

Like how to put others first unselfishly and without complaint.  How to be  the first to tell someone else, “Great job!” and the first to clap your hands with enthusiastic applause.

You teach me how to be grateful.  Months after you receive a gift, you’ll slip a hug around my neck and exclaim, “Thank you so much for this, Mom.  It’s what I dreamed of….or what I always wanted….” and it’s the simplest thing ever but you act as if I’ve given you a treasure.

Even when I’m simply pulling boxes of hand-me-downs out of the garage, you still give wholehearted thanks.  You’re the third of three daughters.  Hand-me-downs are your reality.  And instead of complaining, you twirl around the house in every “new-to-you” dress and thank me as if I’d walked you into a store and bought it new off the rack.

You teach me to pray first rather than resorting to prayer after trying every other method of saving myself.  You bow your head all day, every day.

And you never start prayers asking, “God, please do this….”  No, you always pray, “Thank you, God, for helping me.  For making me feel better.  For making this a good day.  For keeping us safe…..” even when you’re still sick or the day is just beginning or we haven’t begun our journey.

You pray in faith.  You thank God in advance for the blessing and gift.

I’ve walked this Christian walk for almost 30 years now.  Three decades of faith in God, and I’m still learning about faith and prayer from my four-year-old daughter.

You have so much growing still to do, so much learning ahead of you, and I imagine the loveliness, the joyfully contagious beauty of you in the years to come.  It’s breathtaking to consider.

I pray that your faith becomes ever-more-personal, that all your questions and chatter about God turn into your own decision to follow Jesus as your Savior.Catherineballet

I hope you devote yourself to prayer for life, praying for your own children, for your grandchildren and even beyond.  It’s a gift God has given you, a calling even now, and there’s no stronger stance in this life than being on your knees before a holy and powerful God who loves you.

And He does love you, precious one.

So do we.

Before you were born, we prayed for you and prayed about the name God had chosen for you.  Catherine Susanna.  A woman of purity, authority and beauty.  A woman devoted to the cause of Christ.

Yes, indeed.

This is the verse your daddy picked out for you as a blessing before we even saw you for the first time:

The Lord delights in those who fear him,
who put their hope in his unfailing love.
(Psalm 147:11 NIV).

We do take such delight in your sweet spirit, your bravery, your strength, and your joy.

I know that God rejoices over you, too, delighting in who you are and all you will become.

Love,

~mom~

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in the Fall of 2013!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2013 Heather King