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Friday, June 3, 2011

Jared's Birthday

  Twenty-seven years ago today at this time (7:41 pm), my first child was about two hours old. He was a stunning baby - no prejudice at all on my part, you understand. I used to hear a lot of "he's too pretty to be a boy" and " wish I had eyelashes like that" and "what beautiful hair" among other varied comments on his appearance.  
     Around age three, he had a school picture taken at preschool at our church. He looked like the picture of innocence. Huge blue eyes looking at the camera. So cute he could just rip your heart out....That was about the time he kicked a hole in the bathroom wall and got himself kicked out...of the church daycare....lol.
     I wish I  could say that was an isolated incident and that all the years after that were smooth sailing. Not so. We fought our way all the way through high school and I spent days wondering and nights crying about what would ever become of him.
     I distinctly remember a day, though, a particularly difficult day - when I watched him walking up the little road to his grandma and grandpa's house. He must have been around 8 or 9. I was standing alone as he walked away, but I heard a voice as clearly as if someone were standing with me saying, "He's going to be okay." (I'm getting chill bumps as I write this.) There were many times after, that I was sure I had misheard or mistook what that voice said. Many other times that I clung to it like a life line, because I believed the Lord knew how difficult it had been and would be and he wanted me to know it was not in vain.
     He met the girl of his dreams, they got married, had three girls within the first three years of their marriage. They have struggled and had a lot of hard times. Somewhere in the middle of the struggles, though, they both came back to Jesus. I remember when he called to tell me he had decided to enlist in the Army for a second time. I asked him if this was what he really wanted to do. I reminded him that he now had a wife and children. It was different this time. He responded to me by saying, "We've been doing '40 Days of Purpose' at our church. Rick Warren talks about doing what you are called to do. I really believe that I am called to be a soldier." Recently, we had a very similar conversation where he re-iterated that same sentiment.
     Today, he turns 27 and he is in Afghanistan. It is hard. For him and for us. But I can say without any hesitancy in my heart, that today, everything we ever went through was worth it. He is an exceptional young man with an exceptional wife and three ENORMOUSLY exceptional daughters. (Again, no prejudice) And I could not be prouder. He is now fighting the hard fight and laying down his life everyday. And I am still clinging to that life line that "He is going to be okay."
      My prayer for his birthday this year: "The Lord will keep you from all harm- He will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore." Psalm 121:7-8

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