I’ve started reading a book called “Fathered by God.”
In it, John Eldredge (author of Wild at Heart) outlines the stages of life-growth for men:
- Boy: When a boy learns he is the apple of his Father’s eye.
- Cowboy: When a boy learns a thirst for adventure and for that he has what it takes.
- Warrior: When a young man learns to fight for a cause.
- King, Lover: When a man learns to lead and that his primary love connection in life is with God.
- Sage: When a man learns to pass on all of his experience and wisdom to the next generation through coaching.
I’m 62 pages in (read that in one day) and feel I need to get back to a goal I had set for myself when I read Michael Nichols’ “A Letter to My Son.” I’m going to write a letter Enoch Andrew, my beloved son.
Enoch, my dear son, I’ve only known you for a couple of months, but I’ve been dreaming about you for years. I still remember premarital counseling, when they asked. We said we would have kids, but I had no idea how amazed and overwhelmed with joy I would be when you finally came. First, I hated waiting for you. You came out a little bit later than we had planned, and that’s the way life is sometimes… we make a plan and then it has to change. I just want you to know that when you came out, finally, I cried. I cried with joy because you are the most precious thing in the world.
I’m the kind of guy who likes to storm the hill and get things done, but there’s the weird draw to just spend time with you. Enoch, at 78 days old, you occupy more of my time, thoughts, and affection than most other things in this world. I can already tell you’re smart. I can already tell you’re strong. You amaze me daily with all you are and do. And I get the feeling you’re not going to stop. You smile and laugh with me. I love you. Not even because you do anything to earn it. You’re just my boy. And I love you.
You’re my boy. You’re my main man, and I can’t wait… can’t wait for us to do life together. Just today your mother and I took you biking. I strapped you onto my chest and we rode U-bikes around Taipei (first 30 minutes free ;-)). We’re going to have adventures, that’s for sure. Today was just the beginning tip of the iceberg. And soon you’re going to grow up, and you may run into something you see that’s not right (I bet you have your mother’s heart for justice). You’ll get a cause, and you’ll fight for it. That warrior heart is something that God gives each of us. It’s a blessing. It’s a powerful weapon, and I know you’ll use it for good. I know you’re going to be full of life and walk with God and you’re going to do amazing things. As you grow in wisdom and stature among men and God, you’ll get to the point where God puts you in a place, and places, of leadership. You’ll learn intimacy with him. You’ll learn that God is your ultimate source of strength and Father. Eventually, you’ll find a life partner to do the next steps with. She’ll be kind and gentle, but strong. She’ll be smart, perhaps smarter than you, which may be scary. She’ll be passionate. She’ll love Jesus, and, again, probably more than you. These are good things, and not unlike your mother.
Which brings me to my next points. On this journey, there are some important things to remember. First, God is good. He’s good all the time. He loves you, and even if/when I mess things up, stay close to Him. He’s THE Father. Remember who you are comes from Him. Specifically, Enoch was a man who walked with God (Genesis 5:24), and Andrew was a friend of ours who lived an abundant life. These are promises spoken over you daily. Next, is to remember your mother. She’s seriously the best. And you better respect her and love her. This is my first threat to you. Let’s put it this way, just make sure you respect, honor, and love your mother as the amazing woman she is. This goes hand in hand with loving the rest of your family, immediate and extended. Third, is friends. You’ll have good ones and bad ones. Love them all, but choose carefully who you let into your inner circle. You’re going to be salt and light to all of them, but make sure your eyes are first and foremost lifted to heaven, learning from THE Father how to navigate the difficult relationships and situations you’ll find yourself in. School, work, and romantic relationships won’t be easy, but I promise that you are my beloved son, and you have what it takes, because Jesus has already chosen you and given you all you need. You’ll know what you want and you’ll go after it. That’s pretty awesome. I can already see you storming the meeting room, or climbing the mountain, or killing the wild beasts. You’re going to work hard and pour yourself out for the cause and calling the Lord gives you. Make sure you do it from the sense of identity, purpose, and gifting that He gives you.
Above all, remember, you’re beloved, my beloved.