Beau here. So we all have fun family traditions, and our family is no exception. Back in 1987 my older sister Yvette started a journal for our family where one family member chooses another family member to write to. The purpose of the book is to provide a bit of a history of the year and to celebrate the family member you write to. The writer also gives the recipient an ornament. So that book has been going for over 20 years now. Well Natalie liked the idea and started a journal for her and me back in 1995. We also added the tradition of putting a family photo in our journal each year. Well this year, I have our (Nat and mine) book, and I decided to write to Caleb...a first for our journal after 13 years of just Nat and me! Since I always type the letter before I hand write it, I thought I would share the note with our friends in the blog world, so here goes. Merry Christmas friends!
This is the first year that you will receive this book, and I think it is well-deserved. So far, only mommy and I have written in the book, but as I reflect on the young man you are becoming, I think this is the year to add you to the rotation of writing in the book. Caleb, as I so often tell you, I am grateful to be your daddy. Here are the top five reasons I love being your daddy.
1. By the grace and will of God, you are a follower of Christ. There is no greater joy I can have than knowing that I will be with you for eternity here on earth and in heaven. – Ephesians 2:8-10
2. You love God’s Word. Whether you are confused, sad, scared, curious, or unsure, you always come to me and say “Daddy, what does the Bible say about…” And, I love when I walk in your room every night, and you say “Daddy, it’s time to read the Bible.” – 2 Timothy 3:16-17
3. You have such a caring and gentle heart. For example today I didn’t feel well, so you gave me one of your teddy bears to sleep with to help me feel better. You have a special burden for people and respond to that burden. – Luke 6:36
4. You are a giver. You recognize that all your resources (money, toys, food, etc) are really God’s resources, and you respond to opportunities to use those resources to bring glory to God. For example, you used your money to buy food for families our church is trying to love and you love to give food backs to the homeless in our area. – 1 John 3:16-18
5. You challenge me to be more of the man God made me to be. Whether it is your Scripture memory, your actively loving others, your faith-filled prayer, your big vision of the greatness of God, or your desire to study our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world…you remind me of the crazy, huge, all-inclusive call to bring glory to God in all we do. – 1 Corinthians 11:1
Thank you God for Caleb being an instrument of change in my life, for growing me into being more of the man you want me to be, so I can bring more glory to You.
Caleb, as you know, we use this letter to reflect on what has occurred during the course of the year, and this has been quite a year to reflect on as a family. If there is one word that defines the highlights of 2008, I would say it is ADVERSITY. Obviously, our waiting for your brother and sister to come home from Ethiopia has taken much longer than expected at eighteen months and counting, with many unexpected turns and disappointing news along the way. Concurrently, my career has never been more challenging than it was in 2008 as I have had to make very difficult and often unpopular decisions, putting the firm’s interests before my own oftentimes selfish interests. But as I reflect on the hardships we have faced for our family, for my career, and elsewhere, I honestly reflect on them as blessings. You see, God has been at the center of this incredible and unpredictable story for our family in 2008 (Romans 8:28-30, Psalm 139:13-16). I have believed in God’s sovereignty (or active hand) since soon after I became a follower of Christ, but this year, my theoretical belief in this concept was made firmer and deeper as it went from the theoretical to the applied. As such, I feel like I love, savor, and know Christ more deeply now than ever before in my life. I fell in love with Jesus about nine years ago, but the flame has never been hotter than it is right now. Many of the potential idols in my life have been rocked or removed in 2008, and I have found Christ in their place. Caleb, I can attest that in 2008, nothing was sweeter than Christ.
And Caleb, I hope you have seen this year how much your mommy and I love one another. We have certainly experienced some hardships and instability in life over our twelve plus years of marriage, and the instability in life has often overflowed into our marriage relationship. But this year, I praise God that in the midst of the most challenging year of life in general, our marriage has been rock solid. The craziness of the adoption…our marriage has been a shelter. The craziness of work…our marriage has been a shelter. You see son, if we know Christ and follow Him we also know the purpose of marriage and find success in marriage (Ephesians 5:31-33). For that, I am grateful. I love having a bride who loves Jesus so much that if I just try to seek God, then I get to seek her at the same time.
To wrap this up, I thought I would share a few fun highlights that come to mind for 2008
• The May 21 call introducing us to your new brother and sister
• You riding your big boy bike
• Moving to your new bedroom on the other side of the house
• Hannah starting kindergarten
• You starting to read big books all by yourself
Caleb, I can’t tell you how grateful I am to be your daddy. God willing, we will have many more years together, and I pray God would continue to use me as a positive part of your story. More than anything, I want you to seek God’s glory in all your life; therefore, I pray that I would be so consumed with God that you see Him and know Him as you hang out with me.
Grateful and humbled,