Tonight was such a special night for me at church. I had the chance to sit back and watch as my son shared the teaching time with his good friend and mentor, Pat McRight. Pat has been a part of the Mayfair family for decades, so we’ve been part of the same fellowship of believers ever since we moved to Huntsville in 2002. But Pat came into our lives in a special way a few years ago. I’m not even sure how it began, but I’m 100% positive it was because of his initiative and the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Pat has become more than a friend to us: he is a constant encourager, a confidant, an honorary “Bybee” in so many ways — and maybe most importantly, he has taken on an important role in Jackson’s life. I am so grateful for the MANY ways Pat has been there for all three of our children, but I am especially touched to see the relationship he and Jackson have developed over the years. They share so many commonalities: from a love of music (and the craft of making music) to a thirst for knowledge and a deep appreciation for history, archaeology, travel…the list goes on and on.
It has been noted that one of the most important factors in the faith development of a young person is the presence of an older believer in their lives, especially someone outside their nuclear family. And Pat has become this for Jackson. Much like Paul mentored Timothy in the faith, Pat has been a faithful presence for Jackson, standing in the gap for a young man who is navigating these teen years without the benefit of his grandfathers, both of whom passed away years ago. Maybe the most telling sign of Pat’s importance to Jackson: when he decided he wanted to be baptized a few months ago (in the Sea of Galilee, no less), Jackson asked Pat to join the three of us in the water for this special moment.
So you can imagine the joy I felt at the opportunity to watch these two share the teaching time at our church tonight. They spoke about our recent trip to Israel with a particular emphasis on the Psalms of Ascent we read together as we visited the southern steps to the temple in Jerusalem. Jackson spoke with such confidence and conviction. I know God used his words to bless many. My heart swells with eternal gratitude as I give thanks for the special bond these two share.