I’ve washed your laundry all your life. From tiny socks to sweaty jocks to an Army T-shirt you wear with pride. I’ve kissed your boo boos and cried over four wrecked vehicles. You totaled them all, but walked away unscathed.
I have not been unscathed since you were born.
My screaming infant. You cried for months and I cried with you. Strapped you to my chest and walked you for miles. The pediatrician said you were competitive. You out-cried me, that was for sure.
Your first birthday, you swiftly demolished your cake. By 18 months, you nearly outran me, and I was one fast mommy back then. On your bike without training wheels, I couldn’t catch you. Neighbors came out onto their porches to watch you ride down the street. You were your own circus show at two years old.
I should have known then raising you would not be easy.
In the seventh grade, you went to Brazil, the youngest kid on that mission trip. Too young to go, but that was you, wanting to grow up so fast.
Everything about you so fast.
The youth pastor loved you and so did the Brazilian girls. I was so happy to get you back.
You went again two years later, played soccer in the slums again, gave your testimony, and gave away your favorite hat. And when you came home, I didn’t get you back.
By the time you were seventeen, I wondered who you were, and how we’d survive you. I hit my knees a hundred times, begging God to turn you around.
I thought we might lose you.
Until a few months ago, when you told me you were going to be a dad.
In your eyes, I saw you back. That little boy absolutely confident in my love. “Children are a blessing from the Lord,” I said.
“I knew you would say that,” you said.
We both smiled.
And tears fell.
I won’t say more because it was our moment. A fine moment. A moment I wouldn’t trade for all the world. Like the night you graduated high school. Alive.
I wish I could make it easier for you now. I wish you were older. Wiser. More well-off than you are at nineteen. And then I think, why do I wish for these things? You don’t need to be older to be a dad. You don’t need to be wiser to be a dad. You certainly don’t need to be richer to be a dad.
You just need God to be a good father.
That’s what I want to tell you. The boy who went to Brazil because of Jesus. And somehow that second time came home without your Lord. Not right away, but within your freshman year of high school.
You came home on fire from Brazil, and then tried to burn away.
A battle raging for your heart.
And I became a raging momma for you in prayer.
Even when you moved out last year. Especially when you moved out last year. Every Sunday doing your laundry. Your socks so big now. And still I hold them in trembling hands and pray over them like I did with your tiny socks. Help this boy learn to walk with you, Jesus. Don’t ever let our son go. Bring Luke back to you, Lord. Whatever it takes. Return him to you. Return him to us.
And I see it now so clearly. The love of a father leading you home.