This morning, as I sat hunched over my bowl of Golden Grahams, I heard my soon-to-be-sixteen son’s feet pound down the back staircase. As he crashed into the kitchen, I said to him, This is the last breakfast you’ll ever eat as a fifteen-year-old.
I know, he said. I woke up and thought the same thing.
People always tell you that it goes fast, these formative years. That one day you’re sleepless from midnight feedings, and the next, you’re sleepless from waiting for them to get home at night.
Blink, and it’s gone.
They’re not wrong.
When our kids were small, our biggest worries were about thumb sucking and diaper rash. Now we think about road safety and The Future. For fifteen years, the changes have been gradual, easy to manage.
But sixteen changes everything.
Within a period of only two short years, Noah will likely become a fully fledged driver, employee, high school graduate, tax paper, and significant other. He will go from adolescent to adult within a matter of months.
These are milestone years, in a big way.
And I want him to be all the things that most parents want.
Safe. Wise. Motivated. Independent. Careful.
Able to do his own laundry.
And though I can want those things for him with every fiber of my being, I know that I cannot will those things to happen. That nothing is guaranteed, even time. So what I really want for his birthday, and all the birthdays to come is this: That he chase Jesus. Pursue his God with everything in him, all the time.
I think parents should get to make a wish on our children’s birthdays. If I could, I would squeeze shut my eyes, pause for a moment, and extinguish all sixteen of them with one thought. Lord, let this boy come after you, walk in your shadow, rest in your presence. Let him never turn away.
I may not get a wish on his birthday tomorrow, but I have an even greater privilege. One that I’ve enjoyed for the sixteen years I’ve been a mom. I get to pray. And keep praying. And then, pray some more.
There’s a specific segment of scripture that I began using to pray for my children several years ago, and and it is one I continue to pray through often. It’s from the first chapter of Colossians:
And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
So, as my son turns sixteen tomorrow, I will continue to commit him to the Lord. And I will trust Him to make Noah’s paths straight, all the days of his life.
Happy 16th, my son.