“Congratulations! Today is your day. You’re off to Great Places. You’re off and away!”
Baby L, (a sweet, sweet phrase that still sounds so unbelievable) that is the first line in your first children’s book. You see, we bought this book for you, your first gift, four days after we found out the joyful news of you, my dear. It was in New York City, the weekend of your uncle’s wedding, and it seemed like the most appropriate book title, as you were only four weeks along and already traversing the Big Apple. However, to me, it was much more than a token from a trip, for there will be many. It was, and is, a symbol of your life and our love for you. “Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way!” I can only imagine the mountains and adventures to come in your life, but know that I will always be there encouraging you to, “Get on your way.” Know that of all of the places I have observed and been in my life, it will be the most invaluable adventure and cherished blessing to see all of the places you will go.
Baby L, I pray that your life is so vastly full of “all the bright places where Boom Bands are playing.” I pray that you know your worth and know you are so immensely loved when the “Hang-ups and Bang-ups” come. More than anything, as wonderful as this silly book is and as incredibly special as you are, and as you will be, I hope you grow to know that you are not “the guy who will decide where to go.” I pray that you know that “you’re (never) on your own.” I pray that of all of the places that you will go in life’s adventures, the first place you go with each experience is the feet of Jesus. I pray that you find His goodness and love and allow Him to steer you any direction that He should choose. After all, that is where our adventure to meeting you began, my dear.
For almost a year, we were in “The Waiting Place”. A place “for people just waiting for the mail to come, or the rain to go, or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow, or waiting around for a Yes or No.” We were anxiously waiting on that yes, on the answer to countless prayers, on the hands of His time, on the indescribable blessing and gift of you. Over the last year, He has said to us, “Oh, the places you will go, my child”. I have been the Zaccheus hiding in the tree and avoiding invitation, a doubting Thomas standing in front of the Father, the disciple trembling in the boat afraid to step out on the waves, a voyager in my own perception of the valley of Baca, and a Martha too frazzled by the world and its time tables to sit and find rest at the feet of Jesus.
After playing out these characters and roles quite nicely, I found myself exhausted at the foot of the cross. I found myself, waving my weak, earthly white flag. I found myself on my hands and knees in prayer day in and day out, God slowly humbling a selfish, independent and sinful heart into a a heart of gratitude during a season of dependent hope. I finally gave up my hiding place and accepted the invitation, my child. The invitation to lay down my burdens, worries, uncertainties and fears and rest and learn in The Waiting Place, His Waiting Place. Don’t let the book fool you; this is not a “most useless place“. For, in this place, I learned more of Him, His goodness, His sovereignty, and His timing, and in this place, my heart was prepared for the most joyous yes, for you.
So yes, my dear, “Somehow, you’ll escape all that waiting and staying. You’ll find the bright places where Boom Bands are playing.” I pray that you do escape the worrisome waiting place of the human heart. I pray that you escape the place you’ll stay on the boat, the place you’ll hide in the tree, and I pray that you will accept the invitation, His invitation. I pray that you will escape the impatience of worldly timing, the haste of human plans, and the misconception of your own knowledge and wisdom and learn to trust and grow in His timing, in His plans, and in His guidance. I pray that you will experience seasons of dependent hope where you humbly learn more of Him, His goodness, and His sovereignty, where your heart is prepared for the most joyous yes.
Baby L, of all the things that I can teach you, of all the directions that I can point you, and of all the places that I can show you, I pray that I teach you His word, point you towards the Cross, and show you a place of resting in His presence. For, if you find Him, you have found the pinnacle of the places you will go. If you find Him, “On and on you will hike, and I know you’ll hike far and face up to your problems, whatever they are.”
My sweet Baby L, you are so, so loved. Five and half months from now, we will finally get to meet you, look into your beautiful face, and say, “Congratulations! Today is your day! You’re off to Great Places! You’re off and away!”
I can hardly wait.