According to current life expectancies for males in the United States, Nathan has already lived 13% of his life. He's officially reached the point where his time under our roof is shorter than what has been spent. He has reached the double digits in terms of age, and he is beginning his slow climb to manhood. He stands just a foot shorter than me, and I see the years sliding through my grasping fingers although I try my very best to slow them down.
Yet in spite of his growth and the passage of time, he is still my little boy. He sits near me with a companionable arm slung around my shoulders, or stays in my arms for a long good night hug. He leans into my hand as I touch his head in passing, and gives me that special smile that he's had since he was a toddler. Yes, he's still a boy but I see glimpses of the man he will become. I see it when he is concentrating on a project or struggling to hold back tears when he feels they are not appropriate.
The years are slipping away, so I must use the time I have left to teach him all the things he needs to know before he leaves home. Trevor and I work diligently to show him what it means to be a man and a husband, in charge of a household and family. He's only ten, but these lessons are learned in small steps over time. We teach him to respect and cherish women, not because they are somehow inferior or weak-minded but because that is how God created us to be. We try to model kindness, generosity and good stewardship, but above all we try to model the love of Christ.
This can be a terribly slippery slope if we insist on being legalistic and rigid, but such a teaching opportunity if we allow ourselves to remember that we can only love like Christ because of the grace we have been given. We fail over and over again to show that love in a million different ways, but letting our children see that we are not perfect is important. I think our children see our sin more clearly than anyone else because they live with us and watch our behavior so closely. It's impossible to model perfection for them since we are imperfect, but it's in our imperfection that Christ is seen more clearly. We can show them that we are fallen, but forgiven by His blood. We can model lives that delight in God and glorify Him by the million other ways that we are able to show His love because He first loved us.
So today I breathe a prayer of thanksgiving for the gift that was given to us ten years ago. A prayer for his salvation and a prayer for a long life spent serving and glorifying the One who made him. A prayer of protection and a prayer that he will not always be happy, but that he will always have joy.
Happy Birthday Nathan.