My sweet Aiden accepted Jesus as his personal savior this week. I’m thrilled, proud, and excited for him. I’m also worried. There are so many things I want to tell him. So, I thought I would start here.
When I was pregnant with him, I read, heard, and found a lot of advice that said I should write a letter to my unborn child. I should tell him things I wanted him to know. I tried. It didn’t work. As I have said before, I love writing, but I was at a loss for words when it came to this experience. There are so many things I want my children to know. There are a lot of things I want to teach them, shield them from, guide them through, but they are all pretty situational. I couldn’t give blanket advice to a child I did not know yet.
Fast forward seven years to when I was driving home from a day out with my boy. He was quietly sipping his chocolate malt, and I was driving, thinking of many things. Sweetly, I heard his voice say, “Momma? When can I get baptized?” I smiled and said, “Let’s talk about this when we get home.” Mainly I wanted to gather my thoughts, and not totally botch it. I mean, this only happens once. So, we got home, sat on the couch, and had a conversation. At the end of this conversation, he convinced me he understood what this meant, he understood the life he was claiming, and he was ready for this step. We held hands, prayed, I cried, and then we called his dad at work.
As we approach his baptism, there are so many things I want him to know about this decision. While I know he understands what he is saying and claiming for his life, he doesn’t know the magnitude of this life. I want him to know, that this doesn’t make his life easy. He’s going to face trials, tribulations, and pain. He will be mocked because of his faith. He will be called weak. He will be told he has pinned his beliefs on a “fiction book” and a “silly theory.” He will be told it’s foolish. He will be told his God is not real. Sometimes, these words will get into his head. He will doubt, question, and wonder, and that’s ok. It doesn’t make him weak. It doesn’t make him a fool. Doubt doesn’t make him less of a Christian. It makes him human, which is what he is.
I want him to know not to follow “religion.” Religion is flawed, because religion is of man, and man is flawed. I want him to know that the human faces of religion will fail him. A lot of awful people have done a lot of ungodly things in the name of religion. People will use the guise of religion to hate, discriminate, and harm others. Religion is not what we follow. Our faith is in God. Our truth lies in the Bible, in God’s Word. Our faith does not lie in religion. It does not matter if he is Baptist, Methodist, Catholic, Episcopalian, or Non-Denominational. What matters is that his faith is in God. That he knows Who is guiding his path and leading him through life. Don’t look to religion, son, look to Jesus.
I want him to know, he doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s not possible. The only perfect man who has ever walked this Earth was Christ, and he is not Christ. He is Aiden, a man, who will fail. He will have faults, flaws, and imperfections. It’s ok that he is not perfect. He needs to strive to live in the image of Christ, but he does not have to be perfect to be a Christian. If he’s anything like me as an adult, which I am certain he will be, he will be immensely flawed. Accept it. Love who you are, and constantly seek God. If you ever meet someone along the way who tells you that you are not a Christian because of _______ (fill in the blank) run away from them. They do not speak the truth. The only thing that is required to be a Christian is the faith that Jesus is your savior.
There is a song by the Sidewalk Prophets entitled, “The Words I Would Say” (where I got the title for this blog. Thank you, Sidewalk Prophets). When I hear this song, I imagine a scenario. It is one that is much like a moment I had when I was in college. I called my mom late at night, drowning in stress, certain I couldn’t continue. When I hear this song, I picture myself 15 years from now, awake in the middle of the night, worrying about my sons. I’m sure it will happen. When this scenario occurs in real life, I hope I can say these words. This is the only advice my boys need in life, and I want to repeat it to them as much as possible:
“Be strong in the Lord, and never give up hope. You’re going to do great things, I already know. God’s got his hand on you, so don’t live life in fear. Forgive and forget, but don’t forget why you’re here. Take your time and pray. These are the words I would say.”
Aiden, I love you. You have always been a treasure, and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt this path you’re on is going to lead to amazing things. Keep your sweet, little, chubby hand in God’s and you will be just fine. I already know.