Written on November 15, but posting delayed in order to upload pictures… which for me, can take a VERY long time.
We’re thick in the midst of a veritable birthday blizzard at our house… but it was unexpected.
Say what? How can family birthdays be unexpected?
November 12 was Dan’s birthday. Homemade pizza and wings, some pictures from his boys was all it took to make him happy. As a bonus one of our fun high schoolers came over and even brought chocolate cake with her.
I love that man.
November 10 was Will’s half birthday. Halfway to 8, already? Yikes. That’s not what was unexpected, though.
Dan came home that evening and while I made dinner we started talking about some ministry stuff – biblical community and all that. Will was sitting over on the couch, and Dan beckoned him over to sit at the island with him.
“I’ve been thinking about you a lot today, Will. God uses Mom and me in some really neat ways for His work, and guess what? He wants to use you, too. You and your brothers.”
They went on to talk about following God, believing in Him but then also giving your life to Him, baptism and more. Will has believed IN God for years, and has often expressed a desire to see Him. Last Thursday, though, he decided to tell Jesus that he wants to follow Him, and asked Him to be his Savior. So he did, declaring to Him that he believes… and there was much rejoicing! Amongst us and our extended family members, and even a whole bunch of Facebook friends.
And so, Will’s half-birthday also marks his spiritual birthday. And since that day, he’s been praying that his brothers would want to know Jesus, too, sometimes moved to the point of tears on their behalf.
This afternoon I told the boys that we were all taking naps in order to try and ward off the colds that seem to be encroaching upon our family. Will, Josh, and Noah went to their room but I noticed Aiden, who’s been sleeping in our guest room with a humidifier, sitting on his bed softly crying.
“What’s wrong, bud?” I asked.
“I’m so stupid! I always do bad things even when I try to be good. I ask God to help me but I still do bad things. I’m tired of being evil.”
I laid down with him and we talked. And talked. About sin and our evil hearts, about wanting to do what’s right, about how God wants to live IN us and change our hearts instead of just our actions. About being God’s kids and being God’s soldiers. How God promises to perfect us.
“Mom, God is with us – He’s right there by us. How can He be everywhere and still live in me?”
We talked to God. Aiden wasn’t sure that he could at first, but then he did, with the sweet sincerity of a child… “God, help me to obey… Thank You for dying on the cross to take away my sin and everyone’s…”
Teary-eyed, I talked to God with him. Amazed that in the period of a few days, another of my strong-willed, stubborn sons was humbling his heart before the One who loves him incessantly, immeasurably, intimately. Grateful that I had stopped and prodded, instead of chalking the tears up to tiredness and simply ordering sleep.
Humbled at the work of the Spirit.
Who took the oldest child, so often a slave to his own desires, and gave him the desire to follow Christ. So often full of fear, and gave him the joy of the Lord.
Who took the second child, who struggles with anger and his own failings, and showed him that Jesus died for all of that.
Who took this dad and mom, who have spent countless hours having these sorts of conversations with other people’s kids, and allowed us to have them with our own. He laid Will on Dan’s heart all day Thursday. He gave me pause in order to hear Aiden’s heart today.
“Mom, we need to pray for Aiden and Josh and Noah, that they will know God,” Will said.
“How can I know God?” Aiden asked.
“I want to know Christ,” Paul said.
We called Will in to tell him what Aiden had done, and he couldn’t believe it. Both boys broke out into huge smiles. And as they’ve shared the news with other family members, Will has been just as excited as his brother. They are brothers in every sense of the word, now. Both born anew into God’s family.
Grace upon grace.
Happy BirthdayS. November’s not just for Dan anymore :)
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17