Saturday, June 19, 2010

Our Firstborn Son

   He is tall, dark and handsome. When we go to Italy the Italians approach him and jabber non-stop in Italian as if he were one of them. The same thing happens in Spain and in Mexico. It would probably happen in Greece and the rest of the known world if he were to travel there. He is one of those people that seems to belong to everyone. But I am thankful that he does not belong to everyone or just anyone...he is my son, my firstborn son of three sons (and one daughter) and today is his birthday. Thirty-two years ago this very day, this dark-haired dark-eyed human being came into the world, all eight pounds, fifteen and a half ounces of him. He was the child I had dreamed of from the time that I was a little girl. And I gave him my Daddy's name. David. A name that means "beloved son." I told my husband before we married, when we were dating and doing that exploring thing that couples who are falling in love and talking about who they are as people and what they dream of being and becoming delight in doing...that thing. I told my husband of nearly thirty-six years then that my first born son would be named after my father. Period. It was a relationship non-negotiable. It did not matter what traditions existed in his family or what names had been passed down, I knew that if, by God's grace I were to have a boy, my first-born son would be named after my Daddy who had died when I was a little girl. David. I have always loved the name. It has a powerful meaning (beloved) as well as powerful memories attached to the name. I hoped against hope that I would have the honor of having a son to bear this name but since I grew up as the oldest of three girls, I thought it highly improbable, but just in case....I had the name picked out.

     I look at this man who is my son and despite what my eyes tell me, I see the baby, the little boy, the teenager and the adult whom he has become. A fine man. He is my one child with whom I wish with my whole heart that God would allow me a "do-over." He was the guinea pig. The one upon whom I learned about my propensity as a parent for failure, frustration, anger, sin, and control. Yet he was the one that ultimately drove me to trust and to lean upon the Lord. In my naiveté I was so prepared to be a good parent, or so I thought. I had the plans, I had attended the classes, and read all the best books. I was completely and utterly convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that I could not only conquer, but could excel at this job. Just how hard could it be? There had been mothers and fathers on earth since the time of Adam and Eve, and surely with all of the knowledge and all of the advice with which I had armed myself, how could I do anything but succeed?
   And yet....I made a terrible mistake. My child probably knew it early on, and he certainly knows it now. I have repented, and I believe with my whole heart that God has granted both of us as parent and child great forgiveness, restoration, and redemption. And what was my most egregious mistake, you ask? It was that I believed that the Lord who had given us this great gift of a son had somehow crafted this child as a mirror reflection of the two of us -- my husband and I. I could not have been more wrong. For in creating my son, the Lord had made a unique individual, one so different from me or my husband that we could scarcely conceive that he had come from the two of us. Tall, dark and handsome...but also highly sensitive, thoughtful, loyal to the extreme, and one who was blessed with the most tender and compassionate of hearts. A great son, a great brother, a great friend, a great uncle. It took me a long time to see my son for who he really was. I kept creating him and recreating him in either my image or the image of his daddy....images with which I was both comfortable and familiar. It took nearly forever for me to "see" my son for the person, the individual, the man that he really was. I wish it were not so, but it took years upon years, some difficult circumstances, and a profound shift in my thinking for me to come to value and appreciate the totally unique being that God had given me to raise.
    Before each of my children were born, I asked the Lord to give me a scripture to pray for them, a scripture that would help me understand their heart. I felt that the scripture the Lord gave me for my first born son was from Hannah's prayer in First Samuel: "For this child I prayed and the Lord hath granted me the petition I made unto Him; therefore as long as he liveth he shall be given to the Lord." I later learned that this was MY scripture...the one thing that God wanted ME to understand about not only this child, but every child I would later bear...that each was to be given to the Lord. It was a lesson that has literally taken me a lifetime to learn. And so what is this child's scripture? It was revealed when this son was sixteen and facing some tough challenges that would eventually bring great suffering and ultimately great healing in all of our lives: "Thou hast drawn the boundary lines for me in pleasant places; what a delightful inheritance I have."
    David, my beloved firstborn son, you are a delight and you have a delightful inheritance.

I am thankful for all that the Father has taught me about love and about parenting through learning to love you, not in my way, my strength, my wisdom, or my knowledge, but instead by surrendering to God's love, God's strength, and God's wisdom and His understanding of you. You are thirty-two today. I can scarcely believe it. I still see that babe in arms that you once were and my heart leaps with the same joy that I felt on the day that you were born. Rest assured that you are a man whom I and your father are proud to call our own. We know that the delightful inheritance the Lord promised you is yours to claim. May you take it up this day and every day and may you know that before you were our beloved son, you belonged to the Creator and He was the first to call you by your precious name. Happy Birthday! Your dad and I are so incredibly thankful for you...we love you so!


  1. That is absolutely beautiful!!!

  2. That was fantastic. What a gift for both of you! Thanks for sharing that!

  3. I weep again! Such a gift of words you have been given by our Precious LORD! You have found your calling.
    I too, cannot believe your "first born" is 32! I was there when he arrived home from the hospital. I was much younger than my BIG sister, but oh the lessons you have taught me. You will never ever know how I have watched and learned so many wonderful things from you and Cindy. Thank you both for being the role models I needed! Love you and love your precious David.
    PS- I find God's humor in my marrying a David and the fact that he is a DAVID WHITE!!!!


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