My son turned five a few weeks ago, and I felt a mixture of emotions on his big day. That morning, I put Nicole Nordeman’s song “Slow Down” on repeat as I hung up decorations in our dining room area and cried my eyes out. I love the ways in which Liam is growing and maturing, but it’s all so bittersweet, as I know that he will leave behind some of his cute, childlike ways as he continues to grow.
The day proved to be busy between decorating the house, running a few errands, wrapping presents, preparing cupcakes for his class complete with chocolate mustaches (his favorite thing in the world) and then preparing cake and a spaghetti dinner later that evening. Nonetheless, I found myself reminiscing in the midst of the busyness over what life has been like with Liam as a part of it.
Every year has felt monumental in one way or another with this little boy in our lives, from the major adjustment for JJ and me of having a baby in our home, to dealing with an illness he was diagnosed with and its lasting effects for nearly the entire following year. Then there was the pandemic only three months later, followed by a slow return to “normal” life over the course of the following year. And just as life seemed to be normalizing again, we stepped into last year, which brought with it a major move across state and the beginning of school for Liam, among other major events that marked our lives.
Life has indeed been an adventure since Liam was born, and it has been interesting to see more of his personality emerge and to watch him develop in the midst of all the trials and challenges life has presented to us thus far.
Perhaps the most telling of trials as far as Liam’s personality is concerned was watching him start school in September. The experience cemented in my mind how hard transitions are for my little boy. With very few experiences in a structured setting due to all the health issues we navigated as a family, the adjustment proved to be difficult for him, as he not only needed to learn academically but on a social level as well.
I spent most of that semester in tears as I desperately prayed for God to work powerfully in Liam’s life and to help him to be the little boy that God wanted him to be. As much heartache as those following months brought me due to Liam’s struggles, I also saw God’s faithfulness and knew He heard my pleas. In the midst of that intense and challenging season, Liam started to ask questions about God and to show spiritual interest more than ever.
Early on in the school year, he asked me out of the blue if God was his friend, and when I told him yes, that God wanted to be, he then stated that he would like to invite Him to his birthday party.
On another occasion, Liam asked me if God was hiding. We had talked about how God was everywhere but how we could not see Him with our physical eyes, so I guess he assumed that must mean God was hiding.
I grappled with the question for a moment until I was reminded of a verse from Jeremiah.
“You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”Jeremiah 29:13 ESV
This, in turn, led me to tell Liam that it was indeed as if God were hiding, but He wanted Liam to find him.
Liam has also expressed more interest in praying throughout the course of last semester, chiming in and thanking God for our food when JJ prays for our dinner each night, and even recently, Liam thought to immediately ask God to heal his knee when he scraped it over a week ago—something that I had not even thought to do.
I don’t mean to paint this picture of the perfect poster child that is spiritually seeking God, because that is definitely not the case. Liam generally complains when I insist that he watch a Christian cartoon before a secular one, and sometimes he tries to shush me when I’m praying for him on the nights that, according to him, he’s too tired to listen to my prayers. Yet other times, I catch glimpses of an intense spiritual battle being waged for his soul, and all I can do is pray and ask others to pray that God would be victorious in Liam’s life and that Liam’s heart would be gripped by God alone. Nonetheless, I am encouraged when I seem to see seeds taking root into his soul.
The month Liam was born, Billy Graham died, and I remember succinctly thinking that the world needed another Billy Graham. As a result, I began to pray that God would give Liam a gift and heart for evangelism and that He would use him mightily to reach the lost. It is my most constant prayer for Liam alongside asking God to bring Liam to faith in Jesus, and I truly believe that God planted these desires I have for him in my heart all along. Nonetheless, there is still a spiritual battle to be won.
Would you join me in praying that God would be victorious in my son’s life? I believe God would use our prayers for him and for the children in our lives in general to water the seeds that are being sown into their hearts. Let’s be faithful to be a part of the good work God is doing in them as we eagerly wait in anticipation to see what grows.