This photo popped up today in the ever-changing reel of favorites Ryan set up on my phone’s home screen. Certainly there’s nothing particularly fabulous about this, and yet it made it into that elite collection of hearted (yes, that’s now a word, of course) pictures.
Because this is my three boys and me.
So much here makes me smile: the fact that it doesn’t matter what clothes I supply; my sons will always wear the same favorite sweatpants or gym shorts ad nauseam. The position of their arms, each with their particular stance when in conversation. Me looking up at Jameson, who by now is about two inches taller than in this photo.
But mostly I smile because I just love these boys so, so much. Well, I say boys, but really, these two men and a baby. Because men is what they are becoming, right before my eyes.
I’ve prayed Psalm 144:12 for my children, and set it often before my eyes as a godly goal as I disciple them, and this year when I was reflecting on answered prayers of 2021, this rose up in my heart:
“That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth;
That our daughters may be as pillars,
sculptured in palace style.”
Sons who are not trapped in perpetual boyhood, abdicating responsibility and acting on childish impulse forever. Sons who bear the yoke in their youth and grow strong shoulders. Sons who understand sacrificial leadership and oversight, learning to care about the state of their flock. Sons who are called to answer for words and deeds, stare those things straight in the face, and seek true repentance. Sons who show honor and deference to their father and do not despise their mother. Sons who seek after the Lord today rather than arrogantly putting it off till tomorrow.
Is this a tall order? Is this beyond the scope of my parenting ability, beyond Ryan’s?
Yes. Yes, it is.
And yet, this is what I see emerging before my eyes, and I am awed and humbled.
We are in the thick of it, in so many ways, the moments of greatest tension before the arrow is released, and it will grow only more so in the coming years. We are desperately in need of wisdom, and do our best to follow the Holy Spirit as we serve Him in discipling these young men, but more than wisdom we need Him to show up in our hearts, in their hearts, in transforming ways.
But we are seeing mature plants even in youth, the work of God right in our midst, the beauty of His design in shaping beautiful boys into strong young men with tender hearts.