Happy Birthday Joshua

Dear Joshua:

I have thought a long time what I would write to you on this, your 4th birthday. And maybe you think it’s weird that I’m writing it for the whole world to read, but my hope is that they can see what a great little boy you are, and that they will pray alongside of us for your continued health and pursuit of Christ.

I want you to know that I’m so proud to introduce you and for people to know I’m your daddy. You are learning so many good manners, how to be a good friend, and what it means to make good choices and be obedient to Jesus. Those things make me happy, and I treasure every day as one more I get to spend beside you.

Son, we frankly didn’t know how many birthdays we were going to have with you. I guess nobody ever does. But still yours feel very special. So on this, the day of your birth, I wanted to let you in on how I’m praying for you. So here goes, partner:

1) May you have the courage and conviction to be who you are. I believe God claps His hands in excitement when we do the things He made us to do. And though I can’t yet imagine everything that means for you, I can see in you a love of creativity. I think the way you color, create stories in your mind, and use your imagination will be a great blessing to the Lord and others in the future.

2) I pray the Lord gives you a continued delight in His word. It’s amazing to see the wonder you bring to our nightly Bible stories. That’s a great thing, and all too often it diminishes with age and familiarity. I pray it won’t be so with you, that 20 years from now you still can’t believe what a sling shot can do, how sneaky serpents can be, and that 3 guys can come out of a fire without smelling like smoke.

3) May God grant you enough, but not too much, memory of your cancer. This is a hard one, because if it were up to me, I’d rather you not remember those nights we spent together in the hospital, or how you feel crummy every 4 weeks. But I have begun to believe that these things are an important part of both our stories, a way in which we can learn more about what is good and what is bad in the world, and how we can walk more deeply with our Father.

4) May God enable you to walk through life with a greater sensitivity to the pain of others than most people have. This, I think, will be both a sort of blessing and a curse for you. But ultimately, I pray the Lord would enable you to feel a deeper kinship with those you come in contact with, and that you would be able to encourage them in more meaningful ways than most can.

I love you, buddy, with my whole heart. I continue to trust your future to the Lord, and am grateful today He is letting me be a part of shaping who you are.


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  • Jason Hayes says:

    Dude, this is really great. I write (along with our families) letters to Hayden on his birthday. This will be priceless to him in the years ahead. Happy Birthday, Joshua!

  • Erin says:

    thanks for ruining my eye makeup this morning, Michael. Mazel Tov, Joshua! Happy Birthday!

  • Megs says:

    Oh, Michael. This made me cry – in all the best ways. Happy Birthday, Joshua! And congratulations, Michael & Jana, on another year with a beautiful and amazing son. 🙂

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