Shortly after taking this last picture I shifted the van into D and started to pull out of the school's parking lot. I don't drop Bowden off as often as Sarah does, but when I do I inevitably feel prompted to pray for the little guy as I drive away. I usually thank God for the gift of my son and request that He would protect his little heart and mind, help Sarah and I to raise him for Christ- to know and love the truth, and that he would be obedient to his teachers and learn a lot. As I started praying, I glanced over and saw Bowden pressed against the fence yelling in my direction. I stopped, rolled down the window, and heard him yelling at the top of his lungs, "I love you, Daddy!" I yelled the same back to him and then continued driving. As the minivan rolled past the chain link fence that divides the playground from the parking lot, Bowden ran a parallel course on the other side of the fence, keeping pace with me, and as he ran he continued waving at me and with a big smile yelled "I'll remember," which was a reference to my standard farewell when I drop him off- "Remember Bowden, you belong to Jesus."
That's when I lost it. I drove past the school and pulled off to the side of the road, tears welling up in my eyes, and running into my beard. It's strange the things that suddenly trigger such emotion. Embarassed, I looked around, but I was all by myself.
"Oh God, do a merciful thing in Bowden's life! Protect him from evil people like a lion protecting its cubs. Oh Lord, seal his heart for the kingdom, draw him irresistably to Yourself! Make his heart always like an open wound towards you- sensitive, feeling everything. I'm afraid as he grows up he'll be like so many other boys who grow distant and ashamed of you. Sarah and I need your help, God! Please help us to raise our kids for you. I want You for them more than anything."
Then I thought about how God is a Father too- who loves me, His son, with a passion that makes my love for Bowden pale in comparison. I can be that little boy whose delight is in his Father, was the thought as I drove home this morning. That thing I want to see in Bowden's life is the same thing God wants to see in me. I thought about how I was moved to tears with a desire to see Bowden grow into a man of God, and again the thought occurred to me that I am that little boy as well with a Father who desires good things for me. Today, I thought to myself, I will tell God I love Him, as best as I can, by obeying His commands, and maybe, by striving to be the man I want Bowden to be, motivated by love and gratitude to God, Bowden will see how a man should live, embrace it, and make it his own.