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Abraham Clayt,

You turned one yesterday. Of you and your brothers, you’re the third one to be one, but right now you’re the only one that actually is one and that’s special.

You’re the baby (at least for now and maybe always). You’re cheeks are so squishy it hurts to look at them without kissing them. You have this goofy dance you do where you bob back and forth like Night at the Roxbury or something. You’re walking now and that really happened over night. You’re incredible. You say, “dada” and “mama”. You smile with your whole face and head and neck. You clap your hands with joy unfettered. You sing-song you growls and grunts every so often and some of us think you are actually trying to sing. You’re incredible.

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i find myself thinking about you sometimes and i laugh… deep in my belly… no, deep in my soul i laugh. You bring joy to anyone willing to be vulnerable with you for even one second. It’s those kind of courageous ways of living that remind me everyday that you’re teaching me how to be a better man. After all, you do bear the image of God and your exuberant joy is one of many ways you do that so well. i have so much to learn from you. You’re incredible. i thought i had learned everything i could from little babies but then you came along and taught me things i hadn’t learned from the first two. It isn’t because they didn’t show those things (maybe they did) but God had/has other things to teach me through them and new things to teach me through you. Thanks for teaching me so much about joy. About wonder. About persistence. For teaching me what admiration and awe looks like. Thanks for schooling me in brotherly love. You’re incredible.

You’ve got your mom’s heart, of that there is no doubt. That’s a good thing. I cannot think of another human you would want to have in your corner than my bride and your mom. You’ve brought out some amazing things in your brothers. Isaiah is smitten with you and Ezra is excited to watch you grow. God is using you to make them better men. You’re incredible. You eat like a horse. You walk like Gimli from Lord of The Rings (or at least as i imagine him to walk and i pray you have a warrior’s heart as his). You cry louder than any of them yet. And. That. Smile! You’re a ham. You’re a bit of a comedian and i think you know it. You’re incredible. And i love you more than words.

But i have to level with you for a second because i love you. i don’t ultimately care if you’re incredible or funny or walking upright or brave or joyful or any of those things. i certainly am glad you are those things. But at the end of the day, i really only care about two things primarily and one of them supremely. One, you’re our son. And two, Jesus is enough. You’ll probably see the first before you know the second and i pray the you see the second because you know the first… with all your heart. But the second is of supreme importance.

Your heart and your friends and your world will try to tell you that so many other things are the roots of your identity. They aren’t. Not even being my son is the root of your identity. You’re either God’s child or you’re not. That’s the only thing that matters supremely. And I pray that being my son will show you the truth of that.

So here is my prayer for you my dearest Abraham Clayt Boekell as you turn one and as you turn 101:

God, make Aber great!

Save Abraham Clayt by your grace. Give him eyes to see and faith to believe that the finished work of Jesus on the cross is sufficient and glorious. Might He know you as the ultimate source of joy and life. May he die with his boots on bringing glory to your worthy name! Keep him healthy and strong and give him success. Provide for him and bless him with tangible things. Give him satisfaction and peace and joy. But please give him none of these things in exchange for a wasted life.

Make us tough and tender men that bleed for others and fight injustice. Who bring joy and peace with us in the midst of all circumstances and situations. Make us warriors, workers, lovers, and friends who kill selfishness daily in pursuite of Your glory and the joy of others. Might we be marked by sacrifice and gentleness. Assertiveness and humility. Steadiness and risk. Calloused hands and warm hearts. Forge us to be men marked by a deep love for Jesus and for others. Form us into weak men who are made strong in Christ.

Fashion us into men who are nothing like us and everything like Jesus.

God, please make Aber great!

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