Today Joshua and Abby Kate turn eighteen! That is so hard to believe.
They’ve certainly come a long way since they were born seven weeks early. Sunny and I always knew that was a possibility, but I think we were still a bit shocked when we were told to leave the doctor’s office and head straight to the hospital that day! But God watched over them as they grew and after some great care in the NICU, we were able to take our babies home.
And now we look at them and we give thanks for their growth — physical growth, obviously; but more importantly, all the other ways in which they have grown. We are grateful for their relational growth. Our kids have some awesome friends. They’ve chosen to invest in people who are fun and kind and full of laughter. If you’ve ever cared deeply for a teenager, then you know how thankful we are that Abby Kate and Joshua have such a great group of friends. We are also grateful for their emotional growth. Being a teenager has always been difficult, but our present culture creates some really unique challenges. But these challenges also provide growth opportunities and we’re thankful for the ways Joshua and Abby Kate are learning to navigate these difficulties with maturity. And of course, we are most grateful for the growth they’ve experienced in their walks with the Lord. He continues to demonstrate His grace and His favor toward Joshua and Abby Kate and that brings us so much joy.
Joshua, you have always been like a bolt of lightning. You never learned to walk — you just started running! From the very beginning, you have always been quick to laugh, always up for a game of some kind. And you’ve retained that playful spirit to this day. We have so much fun watching you play baseball, the game that you love. You play with passion and fire — and it is contagious. And you bring that same passion to every pursuit. You have always been a people person and we see the ways in which you mediate peace: at home, at school, with your teammates, everywhere. Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers; they shall be called children of God.” And you are truly one of God’s children, Joshua. We are so proud of you.
Abby Kate, they say still water runs deep — and this has always been true of you. Whereas Joshua would run, you were always content to sit and take it all in. You are discerning and careful — and we love you for it. But you are also compassionate. Loyalty is your love language. And you are exceedingly loyal to YOUR people. When you go all in, you really go all in. We love your drive, your commitment to your grades and to your future career in medicine. And we hope this next year is a year of preparation and joy — preparation, as God equips you to walk into the future He has planned for you; but joy that is found by recognizing the tremendous gift of the present, the gift of TODAY. You make us so proud, Abby Kate. We love you greatly.
Happy 18th birthday, Joshua and Abby Kate!