1 Corinthians 3:4-9

"For when one says, "I follow Paul," and another, "I follow Apollos," are you not mere men?

What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building."

1 Corinthians 3:4-9

Friday, May 15, 2015

Ethan Matthew, Let me hold you longer...

You turned fifteen last week. I've been thinking about what I was going to write in this letter for weeks. Fifteen years ago on May 9, 2000, you were born into this world. You were everything I ever could have imagined, yet so much more. I can remember that moment when I first held you...and I was so scared, crying tears mixed of both a joy I'd never felt before and a fear stronger than one I'd ever known. What was I going to do with you, this tiny little baby boy, who could not provide for even not one need for yourself. And now you are this young man whom I don't recognize some days. You stand four inches taller than me, wear shoes two sizes larger than your father, and you still hold my hand when we walk together down the street. 

Today, at the end of a long, emotional day, you came in to the office just to give me a quick kiss on the cheek. I watched you walk away, trying to keep the tears from falling, but my vision grew blurry as they welled up and threaten to burst. 

As I watched you walk away, I thought, "Let me hold on longer, Lord."

"Long ago you came to me, a miracle of firsts: 
first smiles and teeth and baby steps, a sunbeam on the burst.
But one day you will move away 
and leave to me your past,
And I will be left thinking of a lifetime of your lasts..."

"The last time when you ran to me,
still small enough to hold.
The last time that you said you'd marry 
me when you grew old.
Precious, simple moments and 
bright flashes from your past-
Would I have held on longer if 
I'd known they were your last?"

"Our last adventure to the park, 
your final midday nap,
The last time when you wore your favorite faded baseball cap."

"I look ahead and dream of days 
that haven't come to pass. 
But as I do, I sometimes miss today's sweet, precious lasts..."

"The last time when I shout that yes, 
your room is still a mess. 
The last time that you spend the night with your old, tattered bear.
My life keeps moving faster, 
stealing precious days that pass.
I want to hold on longer-
want to recognize your lasts."

"I've watched you grow and barely noticed
seasons as they pass.
If I could freeze the hands of time,
I'd hold on to your lasts."

"For come some bright fall morning,
you'll be going far away...
I'll watch you leave and think how fast
our time together passed..."
(excerpts take from the book, "Let Me Hold You Longer" by Karen Kingsbury)

The seasons have passed far too quickly, it  is true. I do find myself thinking upon days to come, and also find myself remembering days gone by- so much simpler in some ways, although in the moment, they did not appear to be. 

Yet, my hope is strong and secure, steadfast. Those days yet to come, I know, are in the hands of the One who knit you together in my womb. Those days I remember fondly of watching your legs and knees move across my stomach while my heart filled with wonder, excitement, and awe in our great God. I watch you today and I feel that same wonder, that same excitement, and that same awe. 

Our great God not only knit you together in my womb, he also has a great plan for your life, one that he unfolds more and more each day. You've grown into such a bright, kind, and caring young man. Still a friend to all, and one who loves deep and feels even deeper. A young man with laughs and smiles and a contagious joy. 

I long to hold on to you longer, it's so true. But the more I let go, the greater my awe and wonder grows and the more I realize you were never given to me to hold on to. All these years of lasts have led to more and more firsts. And all of these things I've treasured in my heart. I love being your mom, Ethan Matthew. You've brought me great joy as I watch you walk with Jesus. 

The meaning of your middle name is 'gift of God.' 
You truly are a gift of God to me; a gift given only to be loosely kept. One to be cared for lovingly, until the day when the gift is to be given again, given to the One who created and gave first, so that your life might be used for His glory and for His kingdom purpose.

I know that day is coming soon...and until then, I'll continue to watch with wonder and awe, giving thanks that I am the blessed one who calls you son. 

And I'll hold on longer until that day arrives.

Happy fifteenth birthday (again), Buddy. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Happy birthday, Isabelle!

I watched you last night as we sat on the balcony of the condo we are renting this week in Tamarindo. I watched you smile, you laugh, and joke around. I watched you and had to choke back tears. How have you grown up so fast? I still remember bringing you home from the hospital and your big brother Ethan being so curious about you. You were incredibly tiny. Your little feet, your tiny fingers - none of your clothes fit you. It seems as if life has flashed by at lightening speed. You are not that tiny baby anymore, but a young lady.  I hear you say now that none of your clothes fit you for very different reasons. You are growing up, little girl. It has been such a joy to watch you with your friends this week. Sis, always remember this gift that God has given you to spend your thirteenth birthday in a place you love so dearly with people who are so dear to your heart.

Every day of your life has been a gift to me. We have our struggles, though, don't we? :) But, isn't Jesus so good? He loves reconciliation and healed hearts and sins washed away and being the Rock for which His children can stand upon. He is (and has done) all those things for me and He is and has done all those things for you. I am so thankful that He has given me you to be my oldest daughter and even more so that you are my sister in Jesus! I love watching Him grow your heart to be more like His every day. It is not an easy path to follow Jesus, especially as you get older in years, as you have been discovering. That's why it is the narrow path and few go down it. But you have chosen to follow Jesus and there is no greater joy for me to see you walking in the truth.

Thank you Isabelle, for your love for Jesus. Thank you for the way you laugh freely, love deeply, and serve faithfully. Thank you for the many, many ways you choose to encourage those around you, including me. From the little notes you leave me around the house, or on my computer, or coming and sitting beside me and giving me that special smile just for me. God has given you the gift of encouraging and His Spirit lives inside of you, promoting you to let Him work through you. I pray that you would never stop Him from being able to work through you. I pray that as you continue to grow, you would desire that He be more in your life and that you would be less. I pray that you would desire that in everything you do, God would be glorified, and ultimately that you would live your life in that way.

You are an incredible gift in our lives! Today is your day! We celebrate your life today! We love you, Sis.

Happy Birthday!