Elijah Turns 13


Dear Elijah,

As of Sunday, you are officially a teenager. There are a lot of thoughts racing through my mind right now and they won’t all make it onto this page, but you have to know first that it feels both impossible and completely normal that you have lived 13 full years of life.

If I had to choose one way to define this past year I would say it is the year that you began to understand the world includes shades of gray. While you’ve tried for much of life to keep everything mostly categorized as either black or white, this year your community experiences grew and with it a greater understanding of the choices we all make in life. The most beautiful part of seeing you understand the gray areas of life more is how much more your willingness to extend grace has grown.

Youth group, school, archery, basketball, and Xbox top your list of favorites right now, although not necessarily in that order. Walking through school or the community these days we often run into someone you know. It’s fun to see your personality coming back to life.

You’ve been called wise beyond your years by both your youth group leader and your favorite teacher. I’m not surprised when this is said because you often have thoughtful comments to add to a conversation.

One of my favorite things right now is that you are still tenderhearted. You are compassionate and thoughtful. You’ve absorbed the words your youth group leaders are speaking over you about who you are as well as who God is and you aren’t concerned to also repeat your beliefs to those around you. I pray this boldness continues to grow.

You are also (for the most part) a really great big brother. You enjoy spending time with Levi and often seek him out. You’ve excitedly welcomed him into the youth group and have attended his soccer games without complaint. I’m praying you will continue to be kind to each other.

A few weeks ago you were asked what year you were in high school both by the person cutting your hair and someone at a donut shop. The joy on your face was hard to miss, don’t hurry through the next few years Bud, they will come soon enough.