Years ago, I read books by an author of published letters to his daughter on spiritual and life themes. It touched me deeply. I share this note I wrote to Will because it echoes the hearts of Christian mothers everywhere who see their sons and daughters growing up in these fearsome times. As the time with our children wanes, there is a sense of urgency. Have I conveyed these truths that need to be taught? What wisdom our sons need as they come of age and face life decisions! These are my thoughts.
Happy birthday, son! 16 years ago, God rescued both of us in what could have been a disaster. He saved our lives through the timing of one doctor appointment, and you are here today by God’s direct intervention.
We are here at His decree, and our lives are His to command. Recognizing this or failing to recognize this will determine the outcome of your life here and in the life to come.
You have heard much discussion in our household of the extraordinary times in which we live. You are coming of age at a time when institutions that have stood for generations are falling. The foundations of social order are heaving. Marriage, family, individual freedom, Christianity, all of it.
But this is the time God chose for you to enter manhood. He wants you here, now. I want to share this counsel with you, and I pray you will listen.
Life is not about acquiring stuff.
Life is not about pleasure as an end in itself.
Your character is the most important thing in the world.
The world and all that it offers is dying and passing away, but your soul is forever.
The very traits that can make you a success and let you achieve great things can become your achilles heel. Strength of personality, drive, ambition – all of these are valued in our society. But unbridled ambition and all the rest can make you a monster if they are not under the power and control of the Holy Spirit.
We are living in an age when womanhood has been so debased and degraded as to make true femininity a scarce thing. Women themselves are responsible for this downfall. Godly womanhood is like a priceless pearl. Rare. Very, very rare. But if you seek such a woman for your life’s partner and commit to settling for nothing less, it will be the most precious gift, after salvation, that you can have in this life.
You are choosing the mother of your children when you choose a wife. Her influence, as does yours, will have generational consequences. Think about that when you are attracted to physical beauty alone. Take the long view, son. What will the character traits you see in a woman mean in a marriage? You’ve seen all that Dad and I have had to contend with through the years. Life can bring great blessing, but it also brings great pain at times. If a woman has no faith or a superficial faith in God, how will she endure?
Don’t trifle with a girl’s heart. Treat every young lady as you would want your beloved sister Emily treated–with kindness and respect. The term “love” needs to be reserved for one that you truly love, not thrown around cheaply as it so often is today. Don’t buy “promise rings” and such. Your promise comes with engagement and marriage, and until you can support a wife, don’t promise things you can’t fulfill.
Shield your eyes and guard your heart. You are growing up in a modern day Sodom. Commit to put nothing evil in front of your eyes. Don’t tolerate it even for a moment in anything you watch.
There is so much I want to say, but I want to conclude with this. There is a spirit of spiritual error and deception and seduction that is growing worse and worse. I have watched it worsen dramatically just in the last couple of years. Those who once stood for the Lord Jesus Christ are falling in unbelievable ways. There is not one of us who is incapable of falling from the truth, either in doctrine or in practice in our lives. Ephesians 6 gives direct instructions about putting on the full Armor of God. Failure to do this will render you a prime target of the enemy.
Steep yourself in the Word of God. You cannot obey God’s commands if you aren’t hearing and reading them. We are renewed in our minds and hearts by the Word. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word. Not just for salvation, but for the ongoing sanctification by the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Self-righteousness is our great enemy. Good kids have their own set of challenges. We need to remember Jeremiah 17:9 where we are told that our hearts are deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. The only cure for a heart like that is to be washed in the blood of our Savior Jesus Christ. We daily sin much, as Luther stated. The only thing we can plead before God’s throne is the pure righteousness of the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. We have nothing in ourselves that will stand before our Holy God. Cling to that truth, and remind yourself of it daily.
Pray for a tender conscience. Don’t let the sins of other professing Christians around you make you jaded and cynical. Don’t believe that their sin gives you an excuse to not believe. We are all accountable to God. We will all give an answer.
I know this is long, but as a mother, I wanted to say these things.
As long as God gives me a heartbeat, I am here for you and all my children. As you know, so is your loving Dad.
You are here, right now, to fulfill a Divine purpose. Whatever you do, do with all your might, but in humility, giving God the glory. If you do that, you will shine like the sun in the middle of this very dark generation. (Matthew 13:43)
Remember these verses:
Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name.
And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.
Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.
~ Malachi 3:16-18
2 thoughts on “To a Son Turning 16”
Dear Ingrid -As someone who has listened to you and respected you for a long time I wanted to let you know I will keep this letter you wrote to your son in a journal of mine because your words are wise and precious. God blessed my life many years ago when I turned on your radio show and heard you for the first time. Through God’s grace and your passion for truth you helped set my heart on fire for Jesus Christ. So thank you for that, thank God for you
From one Ingrid to another, thank you so much. That means a lot to me! God bless you.
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