I’ve been praying for little girls for about 25 years.

You may know that I only had one daughter born to me, my One and Only SweetPea. But even before I had her, I was praying for little girls.

Four years ago today, the fulfillment of many of those prayers came to pass as my oldest son took vows to love and protect and provide for one of those little girls for whom I had been praying day after day for his entire life. You see, when you love your kids, you pray for the most important and powerful provisions for their lives.

As I look back on that day four years ago and wish Mickey and Jessica a happy anniversary, I remember a day just a few months later when we met another one of those little girls for whom we had been praying for so many years. We knew who she was when we met her and I believe it is because of the uncountable hours we had spent praying for who she would be and how she would grow and how passionately she would love Jesus.

Mickey and Jessica on their wedding day!

One month from yesterday, my Lion Heart will take a similar vow to pour out his life in sacrificial love for his precious Kathleen. Tori and I will sit on the front row and see that beautiful girl walk the aisle and make that boy with the biggest smile and over-the-top hugs absolutely melt with her very appearance at his side.

These precious little girls, all grown up into beautiful, godly young ladies, have added such depth and love to our family that overflows with rowdy, messy, boisterous love. They just seem to belong. Perhaps it’s because of the ways we have prayed for them over and over and over again for all of these many years.

Of course, you may be wondering if we were really doing all that praying for someone we did not even know. I was out for a walk a few days ago, thinking, praying, reflecting, when the soundtrack in my brain pulled up a song I had not heard in many years. It sounds just as cheesy and 80s-ish as you might imagine, but I remembered the many moments over the years that I have watched these growing boys and wondered where that little girl for them might be.

I encourage you to give it a listen.

Those words so often worn out in Proverbs 31 ring out:

An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.

To my two oldest sons I must simply say, well done. You’ve found her – now love her well.

To my two newest daughters, know that I have loved and prayed for you far longer than you have known my son and I am so immensely grateful for you.

To the rest of my sons, run to Jesus… that’s where you’ll find her.

We have all probably had those moment when we were anticipating the arrival of someone special to us, someone we love or admire very deeply. I know I have many times.

Father, I long for that day when, just like Jesus rose from the grave, I will rise from this sin-cursed and death-riddled world to be with You forever. What a joyous hope!

My Blooming Friends

June 1, 2016

My quiet time out on the porch this morning was extra sweet. There was a slow, gentle rain falling. I found myself distracted by the daisies that are in full bloom. I planted those daisies a few years ago. Every year they come back a little stronger with a few more blooms.

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As I was reflecting on the beauty of these simple flowers, my phone was buzzing every couple of minutes. The string of birthday greetings by Facebook and text message had cranked up and old friends, many I haven’t seen in some time as well as some that are everyday fixtures of my life right now, began to scroll before my mind in a cascade of blessing.

In the stillness of the morning it dawned on me that many of the relationships from the past, though not as close perhaps as once before, are much like those hearty little daisies that keep blooming year after year. They show up and brighten my day, even when I walk from the car to the front door with my head hanging under the weight of so many cares for so many loved ones. They remind me that moments invested in the lives of others are never wasted.

You see, when we walk through life and allow God’s grace to flow through our obvious brokenness, that grace drips like water on the relationships we make and that watering so often shows itself in moments here and there – moments of encouragement, of comfort, of celebration and sympathy, of joys multiplied and heartaches divided.

I have more than a reasonable share of friendships that, though perhaps not cultivated and even lying dormant for years, pop up with blooms of joy from time to time. I don’t have a great deal of material wealth in this world, but I count myself the very richest of men. For in whatever circumstance that may come about in my life, I shall never face a day without a friend.

As Paul said to his dear friends in his letter to the church at Philippi, “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you.”

Thank you for enriching my life.