When we learned we had an future son named Nathan, I was so full of joy. I had never had a son, and I felt this was a special gift from God to me. His name means "gift from God"...how perfect could that be?
Here is the first picture I ever took of my son on the day I met him at the orphanage. He didn't say much that day, but his smile and eyes had me swooning.
But now that I have had the incredible privilege of raising Nathan for the last two years, I realize that I was thinking much too small in assuming he is God's gift to me. Because, no one I know loves God more than Nathan. From his first sentences in English, to this day, Nathan has talked to us each and every day about how much he loves God and wants to follow Him. He prays every day, he reads his Bible intently, he talks to his friends about Jesus and he wants to see angels. If you are in need of deep theological conversation, just stop over and strike up a conversation with our son about God. You will be astonished at the things he has pondered.
One of the joys of this year was watching Nathan being baptized. He asked our pastor to baptize him and our pastor kindly obliged. The satisfied smile on his face tells the whole story.
Nathan made this act with great intention, and even chose two worship songs for the occasion. The first you probably know, "I Will Follow You" by Chris Tomlin. The second we did not know, but you will enjoy finding it on YouTube: "Jesus, You are My Superhero." Yes, that is right. Nathan had us all singing "You are better than Batman, you are better than Superman"...the kid always keeps us smiling.
Speaking of smiling, he seems to make everyone else around him smile as well, not only his blessed family. He is greatly loved by his teachers, coaches and friends. Our neighbor calls him "Mr. Happy Legs" in recognition of his truly incredible athletic ability and seemingly endless energy. He is the first one up in our house seven days a week, and he never wears out of enthusiasm. Eventually, we force him to go to bed, but he won't rest before saying his nightly prayers, which include a sweet prayer from Uganda that he says every day:
Look at me, Oh God
As my heart all,
To you all I turn
For the sins I have committed
I pray to be forgiven .
In all that I have been good
I pray to be encouraged .
For under your guidance Oh God
Where all is peace I'll be led ,
Not to sob but to rejoice,
As my hand in yours lies.
I realize now that this little boy is much more than a gift to me. He is a gift to all who know him. And, he is a gift from God unto Himself. Nathan wants to be a pastor one day, and I know his love and charisma will bring many to the joy of the Lord. He has already started writing a "book about God", which essentially is a treatise (in 9-year-old prose) on why God loves you and why you should love Him in return. Here's an excerpt:
"Jesus is your God and the Holy Ghost is your father. He will always be there for you even when you are alone. God promises that he will never ever forget you. When you see a rainbow, it reminds you that God will never leave you. God has the power to defeat Satan and you do too."
Yes, these are the writings of my tiny son. (He also sings, dances, flips, scores, sweeps, folds, builds and draws...to name a few).
I can't even imagine my life now without this funny, smart, kind, honest, compassionate, talented, annointed little man. I can never thank God enough for this gift of all gifts.