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Dear Luke,

Today you are three years old. I am sad at how fast the years are flying by. Truly, life is a vapor—here today, gone tomorrow. But I have so much joy when I reflect on how you are growing and thriving and soaking up the joys of childhood life. This morning as I was hurriedly showering before you woke up, I was thinking about the answered prayers that your three years of life are. When I first learned that you were growing inside of me, I prayed earnestly that God would sustain your life and bring you safely into the world. He did just that, and not only that. He has given you three years of healthy life. What grace! As I look at your precious little life, I am reminded that “all things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together” (Col 1:16b-17). It is God who sustains all things, particularly human life. Even more particularly—YOUR little life. On each birthday He gives you, may we remember that and ascribe to Him glory and thanksgiving. 

Lukie bear, you are such a unique child. You are animated, expressive and endearing. You are witty, smart, and strong-willed. We think you have some sort of auto-photographic memory. Seriously. The way you perfectly remember so many things you hear amazes me and scares me a little bit. You never, never, never stop talking {except when you sleep, and not even then sometimes}. Right now, you are an almost even mixture of sweet and sassy, depending on which characteristic you feel like “turning on” at the moment. You are not flexible. You like things lined up “just so” and struggle to react well when things don’t line up “just so” {I’m sorry! Your mama struggles with this too.} You bring me SO much joy. You also test my patience. You make me laugh and cry and pray and wonder how I can ever be a faithful parent. You are a constant reminder to me of my need for grace. 

I love your passion. I love seeing the world through your eyes. You are so observant. You notice and point out shapes, colors, and letters in the most unusual places. I delight in your excited “OHHH MAMA!” when you see something that really thrills you for the first time {usually some sort of vehicle}. I love celebrating the victories of toddlerhood—those times when you are kind to your brother, when you poop in the potty instead of your pants, when you bravely jump in the pool and go under water for the first time {like a boss, might I add}, when you try the big water slide for the first time, when you are friendly and polite to people at church, when you loudly recite a Bible verse we’ve been working on, or when you take your dirty clothes to the hamper without arguing when I ask. 

Our most basic {yet challenging} goal and prayer for you in the year ahead is that you will understand the importance of obedience and submission to our authority {and start to practice it}, so that you will one day experience the delight that comes from submission to our all-wise, all-loving heavenly Father. Our day-to-day life and interactions are the training grounds where this process is taught and learned, and let me just honestly say that it’s been hard. Really hard. But even on the hard days, I’m trying to keep the long-term in view. Mothering you through these toddler years isn’t just about winning the battle and surviving the day. It’s about training you up, directing you in the way you should go. It’s about showing you that true life is to be had only when we run toward God in surrender rather than away from Him in rebellion and a sinful quest for autonomy. Sweet boy, I ask you to forgive me when I become consumed with the challenges of the day and lose sight of the bigger picture. Forgive me when I lose patience, raise my voice,  and fail to extend grace to you as it has been extended to me. 

The other night as I was praying with you before bed, I said, “Lord, open Luke’s eyes to see his sin for what it really is at a young age. Soften his heart and make him sad over his sin against you. Help him to repent and run to the cross of Jesus to find grace and forgiveness.” Although you don’t fully understand my prayers for you yet, in typical, two-year-old-rebel fashion, you whispered, “I cannot run to the cross, Mama!!!”

I chuckled but also marveled at the truth you spoke so honestly without even understanding it. Because the reality is that none of us have the ability or desire to run to the cross until the kindness of the Holy Spirit plows up the soil of our hardened rebel hearts and makes them soft. So, our continued prayer is that the Spirit of the living God will do just that in your heart. We pray that our great, merciful God would draw you near, cleanse you, and use you for His Kingdom and glory. We pray that He might be your greatest satisfaction. 

I love you, Lukie. You are such a precious gift. Happy 3rd birthday! 

When iniquities prevail against me, you atone for our transgressions. Blessed is the one you choose and bring near, to dwell in your courts! We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house, the holiness of your temple. –Psalm 65:3-4

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