Today, our oldest daughter, Kristin, celebrated a birthday. How I remember the day that she was born! Janet was in labor for almost 36 hours and finally at 12:32 p.m. on June 25, 1975, Kristin arrived. I was there in the delivery room and until that moment, I didn’t realize how much a father could love a child. Sure, I had heard that children changed your life, but now it was very real and it was the start of an adventure that has taken place during the past 45 years.
In fact, as is the case with all our kids, there have been ups and downs. I remember Kristin’s first day of school and how much she has always loved life. And when Jill was born, and then several years later, Andrew became our third, and last, child. Janet and I observed the typical childhood rivalries, the differences between raising sons and daughters – and the joys of growing older with your children.
You see, Janet and I made the decision very early in our marriage that we wanted to have children when we were young. Most people wait until they are older and can more easily afford to raise kids once they have established their own financial goals. We didn’t feel that way. To be in our early twenties when we had Kristin set the tone of our life since then. In fact, Janet and I thought ahead to what life would be like to know our children, God willing, for many decades of our own lives.
Never have Janet or I ever regretted that decision. It has been exciting to see our kids grow older and independent as they have become more responsible. Kristin has led the way as our oldest child and she has been the one to blaze the trail for Jill and Andrew. I am sure that, like most parents, Kristin was going to be our “perfect” child. Of course, we soon found out that there is no such thing.
We got through the dating stuff, going off to college, the appendicitis attack when she was at Ball State, the high school tennis team when Kristin and Jill played doubles together – and many other memorable events. We recall Kristin’s Master’s degree from Butler and when she earned her doctorate and we were able to walk at graduation together when I also received mine. Come to think of it, that was a little surreal. And, like most of us, Kristin has had her health issues to deal with.
But the thing I am most proud of with her is her faith in God. Sometimes, it isn’t popular to practice strong religious beliefs, but Kristin took it one step further by actually finding employment in a church, developing curriculum for our youngest believers. Aside from her day to day responsibilities, she also runs Vacation Bible School (VBS) which seems to be one of her greatest joys throughout the year. This week was their virtual VBS – quarantine edition – and tonight was the last night of the program for this year. It was so gratifying to see several hundred of her kids wishing her a Happy Birthday and thanking her for such a great week.
That’s one of the great things about Kristin. You just can’t be with her and not have a good time. Many children have come to Christ after having been exposed to Kristin and her teachings. In fact, Kristin has already written a number of children’s book featuring stories from both the Old and New Testaments. There are more in the pipeline and she has commitments from her publisher for several years into the future.
Kristin’s dedication to God and her commitment to raise her three boys in a Christ centered home are a testament to her own God centered life. I could go on and on about how special Kristin is, but perhaps our verse for tonight says it better than I ever could. The apostle John wrote 3 letters, or epistles, speaking to various issues in the first century of the church. John tells us, in 3 John 1:4, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”
My encouragement tonight is that God wants each of us to raise our children in a God centered family. My prayer is that the more we impact our children for Christ, the more lives they will impact as they build their faith through walking with the Lord. Happy Birthday, Kristin! We love you more than you can imagine. We hope that you have had a great birthday…. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…