Exactly six years ago today, my life changed forever. On July 6, 2004, God multiplied our family when Abby Kate and Joshua were born.
Last month, we looked back to June 11, 2007 when God brought completion to our family as Jackson Cash entered the world.
With all the craziness that’s been going on with us the past month — Sunny’s surgery and recovery, Jackson’s broken collarbone — the ol’ blog hasn’t gotten much love of late. But I wanted to take a moment tonight and quietly give thanks for my three children. In many ways, it’s hard to believe that the twins are six years old. It seems like just yesterday that they were babies…I think my forearms are still sore from carrying them both around in their little car seat / infant carriers. Now I look at them and they’re getting ready to go into kindergarten in the fall; they’re running through the house and riding their bikes and playing tag; we’re going to tee ball games and gymnastics classes; they crowd around the ancient VCR / TV and watch all the old classic Disney movies with wide-eyed amazement because they’ve never seen them before. I want to soak it all in because I know this stage will slowly morph into another stage and, although I’m convinced now that each “stage” is unique and special and a blessing in it’s own right, I know in my heart that this is a time that I’ll look back on and treasure for the rest of my life. My Joshua, my Abby Kate…the six year olds. Perhaps the greatest blessing is witnessing their unique relationship continue to blossom. Sometimes I wonder what it’s like for them; they’ve never been alone. Even in the womb, they say that twins have an awareness of their counterpart. Sometimes that awareness can cause a lot of stress (we’re hyper-sensitive to issues of equity and justice and “fairness” around here; heaven help you if one of the twins gets a bigger piece of chocolate cake than the other one!), but mostly it’s really cool. They’re built in playmates, best friends, and watching their brother / sister relationship develop is one of the best things about my life.
And then there’s Jackson. The thought I have most often when it comes to Jackson is, “I just wish he could stay like this for a little longer.” I know that’s overly sentimental and when he’s six like the twins, I’ll be saying the same thing about how special THAT age is, too. But he’s our baby and I think we’re supposed to feel that way. The word that comes to mind with Jackson is “independent”. If Joshua and Abby Kate have this interdependent relationship, Jackson is their polar opposite. Sunny and I laugh about this all the time, but we’ve never seen a child so fully refuse to ask for help. His favorite phrase for the past several months has been, “I can do it by myself.” We almost named him Jacob and that would’ve been a fitting name for him. The Biblical Jacob was a pretty terrible guy. He was a lousy husband. A conniving brother. A dishonest son. He played favorites with his kids. He was an unscrupulous business partner. Pretty much the only redeeming quality he possessed was his tenacity. And although I hope Jackson never matches Jacob in these other areas of his life, I love how determined and tenacious our little guy is. He doesn’t give up and he doesn’t give in. And I love that about him.
Joshua, you are my son. And I’m proud that you bear my name. You are so full of joy and life and energy and passion and I pray that NOTHING will ever quench your zeal. When you pray, I see God in you. And although I am so very proud of you, I know that your Heavenly Father is even more proud of who you are and who you’re becoming. Live up to your name, Joshua Bybee. Be strong, courageous, and never afraid. For the LORD your God will never leave you nor forsake you. He will be with you always.
Abby Kate, my daughter. You always have and always will bring unparalleled joy to my heart. I take such delight in who you are. You remind me so much of your mother and for that, I am thankful. You have such a tender heart and such compassion for others. I pray that your character will be molded in the fertile ground of your deep heart. You are so smart, so beautiful, and you have so much to offer. But it is your heart that sets you apart. Live from your heart, Abby Kate, and you will bring nothing but pure joy to your Father in heaven.
Jackson Cash, you are my youngest son but you are so much more. You are God’s gracious gift of peace and wholeness. Your life stands as a testimony to the power of prayer. Someday I’ll tell you of all the challenges we faced in getting you here and the people who prayed for you before you were born. But I believe that you have been made strong by God Almighty and I believe God will use your strength to bring peace to many. May you be strong, may you show yourself a true man of God, one who observes all that the LORD your God requires of you.
These are my blessings to you, my children.