Updated: Feb 8
You were only four years old when your world changed; when our world changed. I remember your many nights of nightmares and I remember the crocodile tears in your fearful eyes. You were a little boy going through a very big thing. You have grown so much since then.
Now you're eight and a half (that 1/2 matters!). You are slowly building confidence and you have a big box of interests. Your room is always a wreck, your bed is usually unmade and I can always count on one dirty sock in the corner behind the door. I watch you in the mornings when you wake up and carefully comb that beautiful hair of yours to the side like all the other boys do nowadays. I watch you raid the cabinet and wonder where you're putting all the food. I watch you build things with Legos that I couldn't even begin to try and execute. You have come a long way from that little tyke dragging his stuffed giraffe around the house.
You don't understand this, but it's hard being a single mom, especially to a son. I get it wrong so often and then I lie awake at night wondering how I'm going to teach you and how I'm going to give you what you need. I don't know much about raising a man but I do know that in order to be a true man, there are some things you must know.
Son, love the Lord. He won't leave. I don't know the "why's" and "what for's" but I do know that God is good. Love Him with all your heart - even when your heart is broken; love Him with all your soul - even though you wander; and love Him with all your strength - even when you feel you don't have any. In your struggle with the painful memories, don't ever forget the Father's love.
Son, think about others more than yourself. Your sisters get into your room and tamper with your stuff. Love them fiercely and love them gently. Those kids at school poke fun at you. Love them with patience and kindness. I hope your beautiful eyes will look at people the way God does and see broken, needy-for-love, sinners. And I hope your heart beats in tune with the Father's heart to reach out and love them like Jesus.
Son, let Jesus be your Super Hero. Captain America always comes to the rescue. Iron Man can think up a solution to any problem. Thor can defeat any enemy. You look up to the superheroes in books and in movies because they always save the day. They always come through. But make Christ your supreme Hero. Look to Him. Learn from Him. Imitate Him and you will find more power and joy and might than all the man-made superheroes put together.
Son, it doesn't matter who's right. It matters what's right.
I love your passion but son, be more passionate about the truth than about being right. Be a learner. Admit mistakes. Apologize with sincerity. Having the strength to be humble is one of the defining marks of a true man.
Son, dig into God's Word.
One day you are going to leave. One day you will no longer be the little boy with tussled hair and a smudged face with so many questions in your eyes. One day you will be an adult with lots of hard decisions to make. You're going to come up against bitterness, impurity, addictions, rejection, betrayal, hate and all kinds of things that have the potential to leave you wounded and scarred. The only way to gauge what is safe and good and true is to go to God's Word. Dig in to it and it will bring you peace and joy.
Son, never forget how to belly laugh.
Don't let the cares of this world steal your joy. I struggle with this every day and you no doubt will as well. Always, always, always remember to smile. You will grow up, but you don't have to leave giggles and laughter behind.
Son, walk in the "ultra-cool" grace of God.
As a little toddler you quoted Scripture. If you want to be a real man, you must live Scripture out. You may think your life has been ruined, you may think that you are weird or that you have too much baggage. You may think there's no way you can succeed at being a man, but through the grace of God you can and you will. Follow the Lord's blueprint, and you will experience the grace of God that will radically impact your life.
You are loved, son. Don't ever doubt it. Love,
P.S. Please go clean your room.