It’s a new day. A birthday. Nils is 17. Kyle and I get up early and fry bacon, as requested. A gift-wrapped box of Lucky Charms on the counter. Black-and-white posters of a five-year-old cowboy hanging on cabinet doors. Birthday traditions.
The birthday boy is the last to get up, like usual. But the first to be ready. Wearing his new North Face sweatshirt, picked out by Mom, with some help from Iowa. Big brother and his wife, who’s a varsity shopper, approving the purchase through texts and photos. (Thanks, Grant and Kiana. It’s a winner, for sure!)
What a year it’s been. Just last year on this day. Do you remember what happened? Sixteen, a driver’s test passed. Keys in your pocket. And is it possible that was only a year ago? It feels like forever.
Goodness. We’ve all grown up this year.
You’ve been a champion. Really. Hard core. All Conference. And not just in baseball.
Your will is strong. The same will that stopped you from sucking your thumb cold turkey when you were three. Potty-trained in a day. Taught yourself to read overnight. How does he do it? We’re asking it still.
You’re the only kid whose driving never scared me. From the first, I knew. He’s got it. No problem. Dependable, steady, predictable, you.
Straight A’s. Leader of two worship bands. Tenacious athlete. Friend to all.
In a season of change, you’ve endured and flourished. It hasn’t been easy, not for a minute. And some days are harder than others. But I watch you today. Thriving. Striving. And I wonder, what’s next?
Next week we’ll take a road trip, just the two of us. To Indiana. IWU. Our first college visit. Here already. So many decisions. This season. Next year. The year after. But you’re ready. And I’m excited to see what God has for you.
I’m praying for you, bud. Every day. Dad, too. And believing.
Lately I’ve been memorizing the first chapter of Philippians. And it reminds me of you. A lot.
So here it is. My birthday blessing…
I thank my God every time I remember you.
I always pray with joy.
Being confident of this.
That he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
I have you in my heart. With all the affection of Jesus.
And this is my prayer.
That your love may abound more and more.
That you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless.
Filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—
To the glory and praise of God.