As everyone rings in the new year today, my heart and mind go back to 13 years ago. My wife and I spent the introduction to the new millennium in the hospital waiting for the birth of our first child. We were both 26 years old at the time and I could not wait to be a father. To be honest with you, I really did not know what to expect. I am not sure anything truly prepares you for being a father. It was amazing that when he was born, there was a strong bond immediately formed between us. I loved him unconditionally. He was always sensitive to me. Early on in his life, I would play the song, You'll Be In My Heart by Phil Collins over and over. The lyrics expressed what I felt at that time. It was our song.
Those first days of being a father were incredible. I remember sitting with him on my lap. I remember making him laugh. How could I forget those early days of kicking and throwing the ball or his banging on the drums at church. And as great as those early days were, I would never have thought that each month and year would bring its own set of joys. I would never have thought that it would keep getting better and better. While I miss those early days, I am so excited to celebrate his 13th birthday today with him. He is growing into a young man. And for that, I am both tearful and excited.
I am tearful because I am not ready for him to grow up. What I wouldn't give to sit on the couch to hold him as an infant one more time. I have to continue to remind myself that he is not mine, but God's. I know that as he gets older, I am going to have to give him up more and more. Whenever I read the story of Eunice and Timothy, I am humbled that she willingly gave up her son to the Apostle Paul for the work of the gospel (Acts 16:1-5). I know that with each passing year, I am closer and closer to having to release him completely and totally to be his own person. I just wish time would slow down as it is going to fast. In just a short five years from now, he will be graduating high school and going to college. I can't believe how fast it has gone (FYI - if you have a young child, hug them tight and cherish every moment).
While I am tearful, I am also very excited because I cannot wait to see what God is going to do with him and through him. I am excited because I believe that God has something amazing for him. Last year, I wrote a little prayer for him and I continue to express those thoughts for him before God. He is now in Junior High. He goes to youth group. He is going to camp in a few short weeks. And in every aspect of his life, God is beginning to mold and shape him into a man after God's own heart. And as he gets older, I continue to pray that his faith would be his faith and not ours. I continue to pray that he would grow to love Jesus and the gospel and that he would live out of grace not law. I am excited because I see how much of an influence he could be on those around him.
Today is a big day. Karsten, I can't believe how responsible you are becoming. I can't believe that it has been thirteen years already. I love you buddy! You will forever be in my heart.