I'll admit it, it was a little hard coming to grips with our first boy turning 16 last year. But now that our second born has turned 16, I'm not sure I'm ready for what's to come.
So yesterday, our #2, Nate, turned 16. I spent the day yesterday wrestling with the fact that we now would have 2 eligable drivers in the house. Two almost adults. Two that much closer to college. And two that much close to being on their own. Scary, really.
On Tuesday night, we had dinner with some very dear friends. Two of their three girls were part of our youth group at one point. The oldest and her husband now have 2 boys of their own. When we met the family our oldest was 15 months old and #2 was just a newborn. Amazingly, their boys are 12 months apart. As I sat there, me with my family and 2 oldest boys, and she and her family and 2 boys, I was struck with just how blessed we are. It wasn't that long ago we were in their shoes. Crazy how fast time passes. Now that newborn is 16, and ready to take on the world.
But I want to brag about my #2 son, if I may.
First of all, I am in awe of this young man. Nate is crazy talented. Smart. Athletic. Artisitic. Fully of charisma. Passionate. Loyal. Persistant. And strong-willed.
Nate cares deeply for others in a way that is genuine and authentic. He is always open and welcoming of others regardless of who they are or where the come from. He values his relationships, and thrives when he is with his friends.
Always on the go. A party planner and event coordinator. It's never simple with Nate. The bigger the better.
On the field and off the field, Nate lives full throttle. He gives 100% at all times and in just about everything he does. And he will go the extra mile if he knows it will bless someone else.
Around kids...he's a rock star. His playful, energetic, never quit personality is perfect when working with younger kids. It's truly a gift of his.
Nate pushes the limits, in everything. Never settling for the simple, No, Nate goes for what he wants.
A hard worker. Servant hearted. Super lovable. And can I say, crazy good looking.
The amazing thing is, he is almost the total opposite of who I am. I tend to be clean-cut, living by the rules. Nate walks in the gray, leaving the rule book behind. I am neat and orderly, follow time and structure. Nate lives wild and free, time is only a suggestion.
Out of all five, Nate is the one I bump heads with the most. There's not much we see eye to eye on. But out of all five, Nate is the one I am learning the most from. Every day, he helps to shape me in some new way. And every day, I want to be a better dad to him and for him. I couldn't, nor would I ever want, to imagine life or our family without him.
Nate, I know that God has amazing plans in store for you and I can't wait to see what he does with you. So keep chasing after Him. Keep questioning. Keep pushing. Keep discovering the amazing grace and love of our Perfect Father. He is faithful and true, and will lead you right where He wants you. So embrace all that you have been created to be, and live a life of obedience and love. For you are fearfully and wonderfully made.
I promise to always love you, support you, and learn from you! Because I know, after all the bumping of heads, there will be a day when it all makes sense, and we will see the masterpiece of your story that God has painted for you. And oh, what a day that will be!
I love you.
Jay Higham is a veteran youth worker of over 28 years; having worked with students in the local church and Christian camping settings. Jay is currently serving as the director of family ministry at a church, located in West Virginia. Jay has been married to Amy for over 23 years. Together, they are raising 5 kids, (4 boys and 1 girl). Jay is an aspiring author, blogger, speaker, vlogger, and social media junkie. He is passionate about student ministry, family ministry, and training youth workers to love and serve their students with passion and excellence.