April 15, Tax Day.
No, this is not a post about tithing, giving, or stewardship. Although those are all great topics for a day like today. For most Americans, today is the deadline for getting all those tiny boxes filled in and paperwork put in the mail. But for me today means something different. Five years ago today our second born, first son, little Levi was born. To be completely honest, it was the day another man stole my heart and he refuses to let it go.
There is definitely a lot to be said about the roller coaster adventure raising a boy brings, especially to the life of a mom. Let’s be real. Understanding the inner workings of little girls is easy. We WERE little girls. But understanding the hard wiring of little boys is totally foreign to us. I love how G.K. Chesterton says it:
“Boyhood is a most complex and incomprehensible thing. Even when one has been through it, one does not understand what it was. A man can never quite understand a boy, even when he has been the boy.”
The task of learning why my newest heart-throb does the crazy things that he does is practically impossible.
Back to Tax Day.
For the Mullen Family, we spend April 15 celebrating Levi. Psalm 127:3 says it so perfectly, “Children are a gift of the Lord.” Like any good gift there is an element of expectancy, surprise, joy, and in the end, only God knows how long we might have to treasure this present. So in honor of our nation’s beloved April deadline, I want to “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Luke 20:25). Since I have already paid my taxes and mailed in my forms, we just have the latter part of that verse to bring tribute.
Believing with faith the truth found in Deuteronomy 10:14 (NLT), “Look, the highest heavens and the earth and EVERYTHING in it all belong to the Lord your God.” Even our children belong to Him. We so often think they belong to us, but we must daily deposit them back into the hands of the One they ultimately belong to and what better place to do this but before the throne of God in prayer.
The most consistent time of prayer for our family is bedtime. That being said, there are no perfect people in our household and bedtime more often than not looks like a circus act involving attention deficient feline. But I choose to believe that ending our day with prayers of dedication and of rendering will whisper in their inner man for years to come despite the chaos.
I want to share three phrases I purposely, audibly, and prophetically claim when laying hands on my little man’s head during bedtime prayers.
1) “Grow him up to be BRAVE.”
I love what Mr. Beaver says about Aslan in C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (Chronicles of Narnia, #1).
“‘Aslan is a lion—the Lion, the great Lion.’… ‘Safe?’ said Mr Beaver … ‘Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.’”
Like the character Aslan, King Jesus “isn’t safe. But he’s good.”
There are going to be lots of seasons to come in my little one’s life where God is going to ask something not “safe” out of him, and I want to plant the seed now for quickness and bravery in responding to the call of the Lord. I want to, even now, speak the message of how God’s goodness is worth trusting and obeying no matter the cost, sacrifice, or demand. The bravery I am talking about means less of Levi and more of God Himself.
“Wait and hope for and expect the Lord; be brave and of good courage and let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord.” Psalm 27:14
We need more godly, brave men in this spineless and emasculating world. Spiritual leaders like Joshua, yet even he was repeatedly commanded with ever increasing intensity to “be strong and courageous,” Joshua 1:6, 7, 9, 18.
2) “Grow him up to be a man of CONVICTION.”
Not just a Hebrews 11:1 kind of faith, but a James 3:17-18 wisdom.
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1
“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, UNWAVERING, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” James 3:17-18
We all know individuals that carry great conviction yet cease to have an ounce of mercy, let alone gentleness. May the future men lying in their whimsical train bedrooms grow up to have conviction that is unwavering, yet lived out without hypocrisy and in peace.
3) “May he always walk in the FEAR OF THE LORD.”
Though the first three phrases I have shared are facets of the same strong spiritual leader, I want this last phrase to serve more as an umbrella of sorts to holy living.
It was a dear, spiritual mentor who planted this seed of truth in my life and I pray these verses bring the same growth and knowledge to my son.
“The fear of the LORD is to hate evil.” Proverbs 8:13
“The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, that one may avoid the snares of death.” Proverbs 14:27
“The fear of the LORD leads to life, So that one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil.” Proverbs 19:23
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Proverbs 9:10
“The Angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him [who revere and worship Him with awe] and each of them He delivers.” Ps. 18:1; 145:20
The fear of the Lord is a strong deterrent to the many snares and temptations that lie ahead of these boy on their journey to manhood. There is much to be said about a young man who has a correct perspective of who God is and how that knowledge can make his path straight.
Rendering to God the things that our God’s is no easy step. With boldness and certainty, claim these characteristics for your son. With joy and anticipation for what the Lord will do, declare the future work of the Lord on behalf of your son as if it has already been accomplished. May the following scriptures serve as prayers of dedication as we await the day our Lord calls them out among the waters. The rendering of our child’s heart today in prayer is also the rendering of the piece of our heart that they stole when they entered our arms that first day.
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:1-2
Book Giveaway!! Winner is: Jill! (Giveaway Closed 4/17/15)
Erin would like to give away a copy of one of her favorite books on raising boys—Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys, by Stephen James and David Thomas. To enter, subscribe via e-mail on the top right corner of our site and comment below this post! A winner will be chosen Friday, April 17.
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