My firstborn turns 18 today. Yep, you read that right. I had to go back and read that first sentence a few times, myself.
I’ll never forget that brilliantly sunny day in a tiny community hospital when I was fulfilling all of the stereotypical “first dad” routines: pacing, fidgeting, perspiring, and fighting the urge to pass out cold on the floor (that’d already happened once before during the first trimester, anyway).
And then…Jacob was born. I remember holding my son, staring at his face, counting those fingers and toes, praying over him, and being struck with the glorious wonder of human life.
Eighteen years later, I’m still overcome with that wonder sometimes. I marvel at the grace of a God who allowed us to be Jacob’s parents. I’m stunned by the stewardship we’ve been given, to try and fail, try and fail, try and fail to be the perfect parents. I’m thankful for the realization that it’s not about our perfection (or lack thereof) as parents, but the ability to simply try to point him to Jesus.
I’m thankful for a little boy that’s grown to be a man.
I’m thankful for his servant’s heart: the dozen little things he does every day without taking credit for it.
I’m thankful for his work ethic: most weeks he works full-time hours in a part time position. He loves his job at the Christian Chicken, and it shows.
I’m thankful for his sense of humor: he’s got an extremely dry wit that’ll catch you off guard and nearly always makes me laugh.
I’m thankful for his love for his brothers: regardless of the torture he’s dished out on my other two sons, he loves ’em.
I’m thankful for his love for his sister: three years ago I watched him welcome Haven into our home, and I’ve watched him adore her ever since (the feeling is mutual).
I’m thankful for his protective nature: he takes care of his mama. Regardless of his teasing, she knows her baby loves her.
I’m thankful for his missional heart: last year he took his first mission trip to Baltimore. This summer he’ll spend a month working with university students in Southeast Asia. I wish I’d had that commitment at his age.
I’m thankful for his friendship: the older he gets, the more I like him. Not because he’s my son, but because he’s my friend.
I’m thankful for Jesus: after 18 years, I realize that all I did was buy diapers and put groceries in his belly. Jesus did the heavy lifting, and he’s making him look more like him every day.
Happy 18th, Jacob.