On your 4th birthday…

Little man, you are such a gift. You are personable, friendly, animated, love to fish, love all animals, spirited, opinionated, make us laugh, and ask a million questions. And even when you are also strong-willed, independence-seeking, goofy, impatient, and living through a hard season, you are still a gift. 

Tonight, when we arrived home in seperate cars you greeted me at the car by saying ‘I want to tell you a secret’ and your cute little bossy self (wonder where you got that?) wanted me on the sidewalk where you could whisper so close to my ear that I couldn’t understand a word of it. Upon repeat, you let me know that ‘Daddy said I will be four tonight’! Since I was thinking it was your ‘birthday eve’ this was lost on me until you explained that while you were asleep you would be 4 (and later told Gigi that you would be 6 … Not sure how that math works!). Yes you will, young man, yes you will. And you were so cute and so proud of yourself. We are too. We are proud to be your parents and honored to celebrate your big day.

So, as your Mama awakes in one of her sleepless nights it occurs to me that you are now 4! Neither you or your daddy are awake to enjoy it but I think the Lord awoke me to pray. And, as I began to pray for you He prompted me to write. [Short intermission for a throw up break but your little stool came in handy while I sat by the potty.] 

I plan to do a video or two for you but find myself so awkward behind the camera that writing just seems easier. I committed to your dad that I would do a video by your birthday but I haven’t. Son, I will. Lord willing. And, Kurt, you can ask me about it again:)

On your 4th birthday, and for as many birthdays as I celebrate with you, I desperately want you to know a few things. Some of these are things I’ve learned the easy way and some the hard way – but all by my Saviors grace. And these would be the greatest gifts I could ever give you (which is a good thing since I realized tonight that your dad and I are giving you a party but don’t actually have a ‘gift’ for you…)…

– an understanding of how high and wide and how deep is the love of Christ for you. I pray that you will be overcome by His love for you … A love that does not need to be repaid or returned even if you could … A love that changes everything.

– out of that love I pray that you would know the great joy and fullness of life that comes from loving others. Living for yourself and your own plans and purposes will be a shallow and boring and less fulfilling life than a life where your eyes and hands and heart are oriented toward others.

– a love for His Word. It has been the greatest friend, teacher, counselor, comforter, guide, and gift to help me grow in a love for God and His people. I pray you will read it, study it, know it, memorize it and depend on it. As Moses said, these are not idle words, they are your life.

– and oh how I pray for you the gift of rich, honest, deep, raw, vulnerable friendships. This has been one of the areas that the Lord has been most exceedingly gracious with me … From April at La Petite Academy through junior high, high school, college, Chicago, single Dallas days, and my married life, my friends have made all the difference. I pray that the way you love your friends now (you ask me almost everyday if you can play with friends and you are under the allusion that your party is ‘friends only’ with ‘no badults’ as you told your DeDe on the phone today … No such luck) will continue the rest of your days. And, my son, the best way to have a friend is to be a friend – so this is my hope and prayer for you. May you be a faithful friend that enjoys the gift of faithful friends.

That’s 4 big prayers for my big 4 year old. And my hope is that I will be here to add to it for your 5th birthday. But whether I am here for your 5th or 15th or 50th, these, my son, would be my hearts desire for you. And if I am not here I pray that you will have a desire to read back over your Mamas words and hear her heart. And that you will take them to heart. And that you will know that I love you with all of my heart. Forever and always.

PS After writing and as I attempted to post this with a few failed attempts, I heard the precious sound of your fast footsteps coming down the hall. At 4:40 (ironic huh?), you came to my side of the bed and when I said ‘guess who is 4…’ You answered with the cutest little ‘me’ before you climbed right up in between us. Once upon a time I would have been so foolish and arrogant to think, summarily, ‘people shouldn’t let kids sleep in their beds’. But one of the gifts of cancer is to be reminded of relationship over rules for our family – because I just don’t know how many nights I may have with you. And I love that both of your little feet are touching my leg while you are curled up facing your daddy. You are loved, 4 year old little man, you are loved.

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28 thoughts on “On your 4th birthday…

  1. One of the sweetest things I’ve ever read! Happy Birthday Lincoln and I pray that you know how much you are loved. You have the best parents ever little one!

  2. A very happy, happy birthday to you, Lincoln. Praying you always know “how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ” for you and feel surrounded by love all the days of your life.

  3. oh tears friend so beautifully said and oh so true. Happy Birthday Lincoln! Your mama is the definition of a friend…and I already see so much of her in you!

  4. Jennifer, you live what you speak. Awesome words to Lincoln… and each of us. Thank you for letting us walk alongside you in this season, and be reminded of His abundant love for each of us. Love you, sister!

  5. Precious, Mama! Your heart shouts and whispers at the same time. The love of Christ through you comes through to Lincoln and to each one of us. Every day is a gift and I pray many blessings upon you, Linc and Scott especially today!

  6. You make me speechless precious girl. I thank you for your words. My boys are almost 27 and 30 and I feel the same way but I wish I had savored some of the minutes more than I did. Thank you for your love of your/our Savior, Family and Friends. Praying for your. Cathy

  7. Absolutely P.R.E.C.I.O.U.S…Happy 4th Birthday Lincoln!
    Linc, it may take you a while to fully appreciate your Mother’s gift to you…the gift of words and the blessing of being fully and completely loved…BUT you will one day.

  8. Oh, my! Jennifer!! God good you, Scott and precious Lincoln in the palm of His Mighty hand. This beautiful birthday message will probably be read throughout his sweet life as he needs strength and courage to face any challenges that come along. I love you!

  9. Again Jen, thank you for articulating Love in the context of truth and grace, wrapped in a human body, including the throw up part… I’m pissed (Lavonia) that on top of everything you have to throw up. This one stopped me flat in my tracks… “one of the gifts of cancer is to be reminded of relationship over rules for our family”. Ready to film when ever you are my friend… I think the process can be simple, honest, and spontaneous, including your various thoughts over time. No awkward bows, simply beautiful Jen.

  10. Love this! Thank you for letting us in on Linc’s bday letter. SO sweet. A better 4 things I can not think of… >

  11. What a precious letter for your little boy. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us and for the reminders on what is REALLY Important. Praying for you and your family.

  12. Ah, I love you, Jen! So thankful for the gift of meeting you and knowing you. You are a treasure. And your little man is, too! Happy birthday, Lincoln!

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