Yesterday was your first birthday that I didn't hold you. You're celebrating with your great-grandparents at the beach. That's precious. But, I couldn't let the day go by without writing you, because it's your birthday that changed my life.
It was seven years ago yesterday when I first held you, but it was six years ago when I first held you through the night. It would be the first of three years of nights, dark nights.
I would hold you as you vomited and cried through the nights, over and over. I would lose my mind and much of my faith.
I would watch with Daddy as you wasted away before us with no answers, and I would struggle with everything I knew of God.
I would wail a mother's wail when scary words were mentioned and when it seemed no one would listen.
But it was also another first. It was the first real finger God would break from my grasp. It was the first real chisel in the idol of order and peace I had constructed for myself, and I would learn it was beautiful.
For although I would have never said it, the container I had constructed for the God of all creation to remain in, was a joke. And your journey of sickness, would mark the first steps, as he took Daddy and me to the end of ourselves over the next four years to see God in His Holiness, and not what we desired Him to be.
When we began this crazy life and ministry, many told us no. Many said no because of all we had been through with you. They don't know you. Because Daddy and I know...
Your first years made you a fighter. Your tummy is never truly at rest, and neither are you. You fight when there seems to be no answer, just as you love when there seems to be no love to give.
And you fight for your new brothers and sisters when even Daddy and I are weary of fighting.
You dream, and your faith is ever so big. Nothing is impossible in your world, except the limitations you put on yourself. You're so much like me; you can finish my sentences and argue both sides of our discussions. You dream beyond what this world will ever see as impossible, and then you fear going there. It only takes a step, Son. God will lead the rest.
I go back over and over to the fact that God designed our family for this ministry. Every child that comes into our home, you are their favorite...shhhhh. They fall in love with your limitless affection, laugh hysterically at your wild stories, and watch as you and I must repent to each other again and again.
You love without boundaries.
We went to Baby M's family's house last week. It's not the easiest place. As everyone slowly stepped from the car, you bounded and threw your arms around grandmother and sister. My soul wept within me to realize how honored I am to have you for a son. There is no higher calling.
I often say you will change the world for Jesus, but getting you there may kill me. You know me better than I know myself, yet again and again you give me grace when I sin against you.
From the moment we knew you were on the way, nothing about your life has been ordered or scripted. Through you, God has taught us to throw our planners out the windows and to torch our visions of a beautiful life. You have taught me to look deeply into your eyes, our children's eyes, today. The rest will come together in time.
I am so proud of you, Benj. You have changed Daddy's and my life. We know and drink of Jesus so much more deeply because of the story He is writing through you.
I love you to the moon and back. Happy 7th birthday.