My dear Theodore Joshua,
As I look at you today, a tiny 7 pound bundle of squeaks and yawns, I find it hard to believe that you’ll ever grow to be a man someday. But that is exactly what you will become. Lord willing, you will one day leave our home to do whatever you have been called and created to do. Part of me wants you to remain as this sweet little baby, but it is our job as your parents to prepare you to maximize all of your potential so you are able make an impact on the world. Naming you was probably the first parenting decision we made on your behalf, and we are prayerful that your name will be more than a way to reference you, we hope that it becomes who you are.
Theodore: “God’s gift.”
The minute you arrived in this world, (in fact, the moment we knew you were going to one day arrive in this world), we felt so lucky. Some people wait their whole lives searching for someone to love, and here we are, about to receive yet another amazing person to share our lives with. What a gift. You are a gift in a so many ways: the smell of your skin, the sweetness of your coos and cries, the way you attract attention and affection from others… but the biggest gift of all is simply your presence. It is the fact that you are here that is the greatest gift. You are no doubt gifted (and we are excited to see what those gifts are), but more than that, you yourself are the best gift. That is not to say that you didn’t turn our world upside down, with sleepless nights, endless feedings, and (occasionally) crying that goes a little too long. But great gifts are often disruptive, changing the worlds that they touch. You have forever changed ours.
May your life be a gift to others.
May you offer your gifts freely, without compensation.
May you be a disruptive gift to those forces that need to be opposed.
And may your very presence be the gift you offer most often and most generously.
Joshua: “The Lord saves”
Although we share a name, you aren’t named after me. You are named in honor of the man I am named for. If ever there was a warrior, it was Joshua. He led a wandering band of slaves into a land full of soldiers and hardened fighters, bringing them to victory. The odds were never in his favor, but The Lord always was. Three times The Lord commanded him to “be strong and courageous.” He was both of those over and over again. He fought and led the Israelites until he was 80 years old; still strong and courageous. How can a man be strong and courageous when he is old and everything is against him?
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
His strength didn’t come from hardened arms and a chiseled physique. His courage didn’t stem from his cunning battle strategy. He had strength and courage because the Lord was with him.
May you fight the right battles, never from your own power, but from His.
May you achieve all that He asks of you, despite how scary it can be.
May you follow The Lord wherever He leads, drawing all of your strength and courage from His presence.
I love you Theo,