My Dearest Fulton,
You came into this world the other day and we were filled with the joy and hope that is unique to the occasion of new life. Everything is literally waiting for you.
For your mom and dad, the selfless love that only parents can feel, poured out and they started smiling from sheer joy. Nearly seven days later, they are still smiling. You will understand this some day.
For Cooper and Reagan, everything has changed. Your name and voice have entered their lives to take them somewhere new. Where there were two, there are now three. Where there were the routines of their day, there is now you and new routines. They hugged you and kissed you. Again and again. They love you as only a big brother and big sister can. I will remind them, and you, of this. Again and again.
When I met you, I also fell in love. Though, the real truth is that I loved you the minute your mom and dad told me you were on your way nearly 9 months before. You see, I believe you are a gift from God, placed here to great purpose. I hope to be able to help you along as I may and see some part of what you bring into the world by your presence.
That is why I write to you now. There will be many years until this note makes any sense to you – that is ok. The world you’ve entered is a challenging place and will still be so when these words come into focus. That too is ok. You see, you are made for this.
There is so much to learn and no letter can capture it all. However, I want to share a few thoughts with you in the hope you might find them when you most need them.
- You are loved more than you can imagine. For much of your life, you will be loved more than you can understand. God, your parents, your grandparents, and your siblings will love you for no reason other than you are you. You will come to understand this but it is important to remember. No matter what, you will always be loved.
- You have an unlimited capacity for good. You are wired to love and to bring goodness to the world. No matter how many times you fail or fall, you can always stand back up and do the right thing. You can always choose good.
- It is not about you. The world will push and pull you toward selfish desires. It will tell you that you need to behave in certain ways, focus on yourself, and see happiness in fleeting things. You are made for far more than that. Please trust me when I say: you will find true and lasting joy when you remember this.
- Anything is possible. I hope you and I have many opportunities to discuss this point. There are always options. There is always a new horizon. You can go in a thousand different directions. You will be called toward one or more of them and you will find so very much along the way. Dream big. Aim big. Live big.
- It won’t be easy. Life can be tough. There are many challenges. Remember that your challenges are forming you. They are making you more. I love the saying “Strength rejoices in the challenge.” Don’t lament the difficulties, push through and know you will become more in the process.
- Be faithful. Be faithful to your family. Be faithful to your friends. Be faithful to God. Your honor and integrity are powerful tools in doing good, being good, and becoming all that you are meant to be. Show up every day and be faithful to the things that really matter.
- Love with all your heart. There will be so many wonderful people in your life. Love them without reserve. Remember that true love is “willing the good of the other as other.” You have an incredible capacity to love and you will become better and stronger in the loving.
- Forgive everyone. Know that others will let you down. People will disappoint you. Sometimes, they will hurt you. Remember, their actions come from their own brokenness and try to pity them. Then, forgive them. Every time. Never hold onto the indignities that are thrown upon you. Never seek to even the score, you will only lessen yourself in the process. Forgive and move on.
- Own it. Own your life, it is yours. Own your behavior. Own your situation. Own your attitude. Don’t wait for someone else to fill your cup. Don’t expect someone else to fix your problems. Don’t blame someone else for your challenges. Own it all. You can always do more. You can always do better.
- Seek God and allow Him to find you. God made you for a purpose. He made you for good. He made you that He might love you and that you might love Him. Seek to know Him and understand His Will. Don’t let the sin and brokenness of this world stand between you. Keep your eyes open for the signs He sends and then follow them. Let Him find you by not putting up barriers or trying to hide. Trust me, you will have the chance to create barriers – work, work, work not to.
The life you are entering is one full of magic, hope, love, and possibility. I pray for all of these in abundance for you. The same life will throw burdens upon you, cast shadows across your endeavors, and work to break you along the way. No, it won’t be easy. Know that all the toil and challenge are worthy of your best efforts and that joy will be found in many places.
My dear Fulton, you are built for this and perfectly equipped to thrive in this world. Trust in that. Get ready, it’s going to be a wild ride!