This morning my son will begin his second day at Chrysalis, the young-adult adaptation of the Walk to Emmaus. Part of this weekend of worship, prayer and fellowship will include letters from close friends and family. This is the letter he will open from Mom:
You received an amazing gift New Year's Eve weekend. Sometimes folks get saved, show up to church most Sundays thereafter and never linger long on the notion of a relationship with Christ. Never mind going "all-in."
You were saved already, but at Winter Ramp I saw you transformed. Your passion and boldness for Christ makes Mom stop and re-examine her own faith. Remember this feeling, hold it tightly. Spiritual highs are, well -- awesome. I pray that you get to live in that Awesome state of mind often.
I pray that heavens pour out on you richness and abundance every day of your life. But know that there may be days, or months or years in which God will choose to be silent.
In the course of living a fully committed Christian life, there may be days when you pray to heavens that seem made of brass.
It is then that you need the underpinnings of faith to understand that even in the silence you are still smack dab in the middle of His will. He will never abandon you.
Read the Bible for yourself. Don't be the baby bird who waits to be fed a regurgitated version of the real thing. Don't let the onionskin be daunting -- you can write in your Bible, and you should.
Pray as you read for the revelation you need for the day, and that the words become anchored in your heart.
Someday you may delight in reading some of the great Christian writers. John Bunyan talks about the journey in Pilgrim's Progress -- an allegory that's over 300 years old. Don't be turned off by the age of the book. The truth is timeless, and the threads woven through a Christian's journey are much the same, generation to generation.
I hope you'll discover C. S. Lewis along the way. He was an atheist once, before he was transformed like you. There's a book I have by a guy named John MacArthur which will plop you on your rear, challenge you to know what it is you really believe.
There is, of course, time for all that.
Stay in church, and in the fellowship of other believers. Don't get caught up in who goes to what church in town, or which flavor their faith is. When your spirit gets tired, these are the folks who will hold up your arms until the battle is won, like Aaron and Hur did with Moses.
Never underestimate the walk someone else is on. My God is a gentleman, who desires a relationship with his children above all else. That process looks different for each person. They may sprint to certain milestones, and crawl to others. Sometimes you have to let them be. It may not look like a supernatural perfecting from the outside, but trust me, it is.
Then again, God has granted you a gift of boldness. I pray that you will be led to step on toes once in awhile, to jar people out of their comfort zones.
You don't know this, but my mother prayed fervently that her only son would grow up to be a preacher. Ultimately, my brother chose a different path than the one he was anointed for, but I like to think perhaps her prayer is renewed in you. She would be so proud of you.
Whether you grow up to preach or minister or teach or play the flute or rehabilitate drug addicts -- I promise, I'll put no limits on your ministry, except this one: Go change lives. Don't back down. Do not falter. His hand is upon you.
And know this. There is nothing -- and I mean nothing -- you can do in life that will make Mom stop loving you. Being a mom is like that. One day when you bring me a grandchild, you'll understand how complete and unbending the love I have for you is. While you are in the middle of that epiphany I hope you'll have another: This is how completely God loves His children too.
Not in the "I love all y'all," sort of way you might love the universe, but you. Individually. For exactly who you are and where you dream of going.
I love you, son. See you tomorrow.