On May 15th 1995 Lydia Margaret Christian (Sissy) was born. She was 6 weeks early and weighed less than 5 pounds at birth. I must admit, much to my shame, that I didn’t allow myself to love her at first. My fear was, that she was so small, so frail, she might not make it, so I steeled my heart against loving her. And in the end, I never did give her my heart… she stole it!
This weekend I move her into her dorm at Nyack College where she will study Intercultural Studies in preparation of one day going to the mission field. And though I am super proud of her, she has a slew (from the Irish Gaelic word sluagh – multitude aka a bunch) of scholarships, already has a great job on campus and is going to be in the Honors Program. I am not ready for this day!
There I said it – I’ve always been good at transparency and honesty. Just ask anyone who endured my preaching over the past few years in New Orleans. This (excuse the term – because I really can’t think of a better one) sucks. I know, but Richard “she’s less than 10 minutes away – even in snow or fog, or gloom of night” but… that 5 miles is the beginning of everything changing.
Over the past 18 years I can count on my hands the number of times Lydia has had a sleep over at someone’s house and have fingers left over. We are a pretty tight knit group. Even on the majority of her camp/mission trips Jamie or I – or both of us were there. So… this is tough.
I have called Lydia (as did my Daddy) Sunshine since the day she was born. If she calls my phone – Here Comes The Sun – is the ringtone. But this week it feels more like Bill Winters song Ain’t No Sunshine would be more apropos.
Regrets… I’ve got a few – over the course of Lydia’s lifetime we have lived in 7 states and one of them twice. I have pursued a master’s degree (and now a 2nd) and have served several churches. I have placed both service and education ahead of my family. I have worked hard trying to prove to people that don’t care how worthwhile of a guy I am and in doing so forsaking the people that should have mattered most. For that my heart aches – and have asked forgiveness from the Lord and my family numerous times.
If you can learn something from my sin, please learn this…
Do not pursue people pleasing rather than honoring God.
I want the time back – time to chase my little red-headed waif rather than what I deemed to be – “the next big thing.” I want the days back that I robbed from her, the days that I allowed trivial and foolish pursuits, some even in the name of the church (little c) to steal from family, but it won’t happen – time marches on.
As King David said – Psalm 51:13 – sinners learn from me. Treasure every moment with your kids. Sure you need to make a living and provide, BUT do not allow provision to become a source of pride and keep in mind that your significance is not going to be found in a title or in what someone who will forget what you look like 6 months after you retire (if you make it to retirement) thinks.
So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.
Part of the reason I moved to New York, taking less pay at a smaller church – stepping back from the main pastor role – was so that the Lord and my family would get more of me. Though regrets, conviction, preaching to myself (and you) will not replace a second of the time that has past.
In the midst of the tears this am God gently reminded me she was His I just got the honor of being a steward of her. I find much comfort in, more than I can say, that I am sending her off to open her wings a bit – as a lover of Jesus. She is trusting in and is hoping to make much of the Gospel. Though this was surely not my doing. Jesus called her to be His and called her to Gospel mission. I just got to watch the Sovereign Gracious Lord do His handiwork in her.
For today, tomorrow and the rest of the weekend I am going to treasure every moment I can with my little girl. I’ll cry more, I’m sure and I’ll leave heal marks from her dorm room all the way back to Nanuet Sunday afternoon.
Lord thank you for the grace gift of all my kids and in the days ahead
May I treasure each and every moment you give us together. To Your glory!
And ps… please give me favor/funds to steal Lydia from campus regularly
for daddy/daughter dates.