my dearest baby boy, tomorrow you will turn one. so bittersweet. you have lived along side of us for a whole year, you are our family. it has been my greatest pleasure and privilege to watch you grow. i have had the joy of relearning what i take for granted and looking upon the world with fresh eyes. never have i been so strong spiritually as i have over this last year, marveling over your creation, your appearance, your growth even before birth. it has been awesome to experience so intensely such evidence of Christ's sovereignty and mastery. i cherish my time with you and all the happiness you bring. all your slobbery kisses and pats with grubby hands. your toothy smiles and baby breath. i even miss you when you go to bed for the night, checking in on you enough times that i have accidentally woke you. meeting you was one of the most powerful and beautiful moments of my life. i remember thinking i could not ever possibly love you more. and yet, i do. everyday. even more now than when i started this letter. i count myself blessed that God chose me, created me to be your mother. at times, i have failed you over this last year, and i'm sure i will again over the next. but i love you desperately. you came into this world so fragile, so small. and rapidly you have gotten so much bigger, so independent for such a little boy. my heart continually swells and overflows: first a smile, then a laugh, then a roll, then a crawl, and now you are walking with large strides. almost running. on your way to becoming a man i am already so proud of. dear boy, you shine. you are not perfect, but then again who is. what you are, however, is a gift, a spark...a life created with care and intention. even at one year old, i am starting to get glimpses into who you are becoming. you are so serious at times, so inquisitive. you are bashful in certain situations and downright silly before bed time. it's my favorite time. you love to wander and explore. you're not affraid to be alone. you're fascinated by doors. you're stubborn and persistent. half the time you cry when scolded and the other half, you laugh. you're clever and quick. you're sweet but with a temper. you've been a glorious challenge and an unmatched reward. one day you will read this letter, perhaps some time from now, but you might not fully understand it for quite awhile. but i pray one day you'll have your own family, and it will all make perfect sense. what i want you to know is this: this life happens too quickly. don't waste it. i pray that you will love wrecklessly and chase Jesus with all your heart. that you are tough and tender. that you are gentle, a listener. stay simple and wide eyed. be humble and forgiving. laugh often, but take care not to be foolish. fight for the Truth. my son, i love you so greatly. please remember love at such a magnitude is only possible through Christ. isaiah, happy first birthday to you. i will love you always. always.