You are thirteen today, my firstborn son.
Life is beginning to come at you, for real.
The past year has brought some disappointments that your dad and I have been unable to shield you from. You have had to face them and come out on the other side.
I think, for all of us, it has been a learning experience. Sometimes things don't go your way. When you get through it, though, some things turn out even better than you could have expected. And we realize, God knew what He was doing all along.
You are learning that God protects, even when we don't know that we need it.
Never forget the trip to the beach we planned that had to be cancelled because your little sister was sick. The three of you couldn't understand why, when you had prayed that we would all be well, that she wasn't. I think I needed to hear what I told you as much as you children did:
"Sometimes God says 'NO'."
When He does, it is for our benefit. For our protection.
We will never know why we couldn't go to the beach that time, but we trust that God did it for our good.
God has said 'NO' to much bigger prayers since then. We wonder why. But we trust that He knows and it is because He loves us.
You are the "man of the house" when Dad is away. This is a role you have taken very seriously for years. Remember that you can protect but God is the ultimate protector.
Sometimes, He allows things we would call "bad" to happen to us. There is nothing you or I or your dad could do to keep it from happening. But God takes everything, everything and makes it good. You will see.
I am proud of who you are and the man you are becoming.
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