“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Psalm 139:13-14.
Twenty years ago… on this day 20 years ago, I was introduced to the most amazing human being. When you meet a person for the first time, you may not like the person and you can choose to walk away from the person. However, when God declares, “This is your child,” the choice is far different. Let’s be honest, sometimes you don’t like your children. You may love them, but you don’t like them. Or maybe, they aren’t the child you wished for but there they are nonetheless. On March 9, 2000, God introduced me to my second child.
Thursday afternoon, after a hard labor, I met my son: 11 pounds, 4 ounces. Being from a family of all girls – five sisters, two nieces and my own girl, this boy was a first. His sister, Shelby, emphatically told me nine months earlier upon learning she would have a sibling, “God is going to give me a brother.” This sweet daughter of mine believed God would give her a brother. I told her the baby would be a girl because well, that’s just the way it was in our family. “No, God is going to give me a brother.” Such faith… so I bet her a dollar the baby would be a girl. When I called her from the hospital, my first words to her were, “I owe you a dollar.” Immediately she knew what that meant and squealed with the delight of having known all along. Such faith…
From that moment, my life was immeasurably blessed with this incredible human being. Moments of sheer joy he would bring me; the way he would make me wonder in amazement; the way he would light up my face with a laugh; the way he would make me wonder at his imagination that was always on full display; the way he would try me sometimes with his stubbornness… he was and continues to be a source of joy and pride. But most of all, I am amazed at the purity that is his heart.
The love he has for his Shelby, never saying a bad word against her, always loving her unconditionally.
The way his incredibly awesome dyslexic mind works… one day driving to an appointment – one of many – when he was a teenager, after the Parkland shooting, he said to me in the car, “This story came across my newsfeed.” First, I was just totally impressed with the fact he had a news feed, and then actually read the article. He told me the story of teenagers who were protesting guns, describing a poster one girl held that read, “Kids shouldn’t be afraid to go to school.” With a tinge of sadness in his voice, he said, “They shouldn’t be afraid to go to school but they are and not because of guns, but because of bullies.” I was blown away. “This kid gets it,” I thought.
Sitting in his car seat in the back seat, saying, “Play country.” The cue to put on some George Strait. Watching him move his head and hands to the beat to “Blue Clear Sky” always brought me a smile.
When he stood up in the restaurant and started dancing when “Jump” by Van Halen came over the speaker… not caring who saw him, he just had to dance.
The way he would get back up whenever he fell, finding a way to get to where he wanted to be.
The way he took my hand to walk down the aisle with him to accept Christ as his Savior.
The way he would pray for Shelby and peace.
The way he would let me hold his hand, even now, he doesn’t pull his hand away.
The way he can remember stats while I’m still trying to learn positions.
The way he looks up at the night sky with wonder and amazement, even now.
The way he sends me photos of a North Carolina sunset, reminding me of God’s beauty.
The way he honors his future wife by desiring to wait for her while the world tells him differently.
The way he and Shelby would play, talk, watch movies together, creating a bond stronger than steel.
The way he seeks to do the right thing, and when he blows it, tries to make amends.
That smile that graces his face… that smile that brings such happiness in seeing it.
While life downright sucks sometimes, this human being who God blessed to give to me as my son, has brought more joy, more laughter, more silly moments, more pride than I deserve. So on this day, I am forever grateful for Shelby’s faith, for God’s goodness, and for the son he gave to me. His name is Garren Daniel Harper. Garren for his Papa who had only girls; Daniel to stand before the fire; Harper for his Dad. This young man is indeed fearfully and wonderfully made, and such a blessing as declared in God’s word.
“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.” Psalm 127:3
Happy Birthday, my son. I love you bigger than the sky.