Friday, March 29, 2013

Today my firstborn turned 18

Today my firstborn turned 18 years old. This is a milestone, not only in your life, but in the lives of your mother and me. Today is the result of years of questioning ourselves, falling on our faces for wisdom, and hoping that God is bigger than our mistakes for your sake (He is, of course). We have also seen the fruit of our labor and faith as you have grown up into the man you are now, though I can take no credit for the grace of God.

As a child you were always compliant. So much so that we thought other parents must really be doing it wrong to have so many complaints about parenthood...then we had our next child, and understood. To be fair, Todd has grown to become very compliant and hard working but this letter isn't about him.
You have had your challenges to face. You have been knocked down by life at times, and sometimes by your own doing. You have seen hard times and poverty, and yet you have this gift for being able to stand back up, dust off yourself, and continue on as though nothing has happened.

Today you are a man in the eyes of the law. In my eyes you have been a man for quite a while. Today you can vote. You can claim your independence. You can buy things on credit in your own name. You can have your own checking account with real checks and everything. These are good things but they all carry a responsibility with them. If used incorrectly they can become an insurmountable burden. Don't just save what you have after spending, spend what you have after saving. Living debt free is the best option. Strive to maintain your debt-free status.

As a parent, the one thing I take the most pride in is something I cannot take any credit for, your faith in God. It has thrilled my heart to count you as my brother as well as my son. We are co-heirs with Christ. We will inherit the Glory of heaven someday. Which is relieving when you consider what I will end up leaving for you on Earth.

Changes in your life are going to start coming like a fireball. Graduation will mark an end of a big chapter and from there you will begin the venture of a career. Don't be concerned that you don't know what that career is yet, in truth, you have already begun your career. You are a follower of Christ. Your job is secondary to that fact. He will guide you to the right place. Not all tasks will be pleasant. Many will stretch you in difficult ways. Many will be well suited and you will easily shine with them. Do all things for the Glory of God and you will find the joy in all of it. "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." (James 1:2-4, ESV)

You are only 8 years away from my age when I had you. In my time between 18 and having you, I joined the Navy, learned some useful skills, and wasted many years away from the Lord. After the military I worked only to support my weekends with my friends. The Lord drew me back to Him in His mercy and brought me your mother, and then You...and the rest of the kids.
I wasted many years trying to do things only to please myself, a trait I still struggle to repress. You have a head start. You are already walking with the Lord. Seek Him first and believe that He wants the best for you even when things of this world start looking like more fun. The truth is that sin IS fun. It does satisfy the cravings of the flesh, for a season, but the repercussions of a foolish decision can be very costly. While sin satisfies the flesh, it does not ever fulfill. It will always leave you wanting more and never fully attaining. It is the carrot on the stick. Always before your eyes but never within reach. Always promising but never fulfilling. I give these warnings, not because of any danger you are in, but because I know of the dangers and temptations that are coming.

Further down the road to come the Lord may bless you with a wife. That will be in His timing and of His choosing if you are patient and willing to wait for the best. In preparation for that time, do not invest your time looking for the right spouse, work on being the right spouse. God will bring your wife to you when you least expect it. I will have another letter for you when that time comes.

18 years have flown by. I still see the little boy jumping on the bed and singing "You are my sunshine". The boy running from a band-aid as though we were threatening amputation. Those first guitar lessons together (you taught me so much). The long haired Emo phase (So glad that is over). The tough transition from the church of glitz and glamour and clowns to a church of sobriety, piety, and the Cross. You have grown into a man who I am very proud of. I thank God for the privilege of the last 18 years with you. I thank God for the years to come.

Happy Birthday son, I love you



  1. Awesome message Steve - it warmed my heart. Many blessing to you and your family.

  2. This is great and inspires me to write one for Anna. Thanks for sharing.

  3. If every parent had ever chosen to send a message to their children at this time in their life a lot of things in this world would be massively different I believe. Nice message Steven and Tob you are a very lucky and blessed man to live in such a human family. Many blessings to you / us all..... love ya, (cousin debby tomecek)

  4. touching....can't believe he's 18 already...reminds me that mine are not far behind & the years pass so quickly. love your message to him. thanks for sharing. love you guys!