Kai, happy 4th Birthday in Heaven! I sure do miss you! Since June 20, 2014, you’ve been exploring Heaven. How I wish you’d be exploring this world. You be fascinated with sharks and dinosaurs and baseball. I can see you running around the yard with endless energy. Your sister and 3 brothers would spoil the heck out of you. I know that in Heaven you don’t have scraped knees, scary dreams, mosquito bites, ear infections, or a broken heart. All those things belong to this world. This world is broken and sinful, not the way God created it.
4 years ago today your mom and I came face to face with that reality. The world isn’t the way God made it. Your life has helped us see that more clearly than ever before. It’s a stark reminder of God’s love that He sent His Son Jesus to die for the sins of the world. He did this to put the broken back together again. I’ve always been amazed at that. After you died, it took on even more meaning…that God willingly let His Son die. He did it to pay for my sins. Wow!
Your family is doing ok down here. We miss you everyday! Your brothers and sister talk about you a lot. Mom and I do too. Your younger sister, who doesn’t know about you yet, is growing like crazy. Her life reminds me that God can bring something beautiful after something so devastating. He doesn’t have to and He doesn’t promise it, but sometimes He does.
I’m writing this to you from the same condo at Fernandina Beach where we stayed on your first birthday. It helps us to go out of town to celebrate your birthday. It’s good for our family to get away together. It also reminds us that we’re missing you. We still sometimes answer that we have 6 children…because we do.
This year has been busy in our family. Katherine got accepted to the Alabama School of Fine Arts. You should hear her sing. Honestly, I’m sure you can. Carter started middle school. He plays drums in the band and just started football. Caleb finished 4th grade and is one of the most compassionate people I know. Christian played soccer this year and is really excelling in school. You’d be starting Kindergarten next August. I know that’s going to be hard for us next year. Karis Lynn is a beautiful petite lady full of personality. She’s exploring her world and improving everyday in her talking. She just turned 19 months last week.
Mom started writing again. In February she started blogging again and is ministering to people through her writing. She writes a lot about what she has learned of the character of God during these 4 years since you passed. She says it better than me, but suffering and grief help us to see God more clearly…if we decide to do so. She’s so happy to help others grow and learn. In fact, just last week, she got word that a publisher is going to publish her first book!! It’s a devotional on the character of God. Notice I called it her first book. She’s really amazing!
Mom and I started running almost a year ago. We were motivated by your Papa B. We worked hard, ran a few 5Ks and a 10K. All of that was to be ready for the Half-Marathon we ran in February. It was so much fun. It’s helped us to see that we can do more than we think we can.
I’m doing ok too. I think. Mom and I just celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary. What an adventure it’s been. I’ll tell you, I wish I’d been a better husband earlier on. Your life drew me closer to God and made me work to be a better husband and dad. Thank you for that. Don’t get me wrong, I’d much rather you be here…but I’m glad I decided to grow closer to God instead of getting angry at Him. God doesn’t promise us a life without pain, in fact He says to expect it. He does say that He will walk with us through the pain. I’ve seen it firsthand, my son. I study the Bible and preach and teach the Bible, but I wonder what you could tell me about the character of God. You’ve seen Him
I can’t wait to see you. I wonder how you’ll look…like a baby, a child, teenager, fully grown… Today, I see you as a little 4 year-old. Full of energy and excitement. I’m sure you look like ALL your siblings at 4. All of y’all look alike!
Well, I better get about the day. Your brothers and sisters want to get down to the beach. They’re looking forward to releasing balloons today in your memory. We do that every year and I think it helps all of us. I love you. I miss you.