Dear Luke, Andrew, Elizabeth, and Grace…
I’ll never forget the first time I held each of you in my arms. You were all so young, so tiny. We took you home to be our sons and daughters.
Many people held you before your Mom and I did: your birth family, their friends, nurses, doctors and social workers. They all love you very much.
Since then you’ve been held by even more people who love you. You’ve bounced on the knees of grandparents, rested on the laps of great-grand parents, and been held and hugged by aunts, uncles, cousins and friends near and far.
As your vocabularies continue to develop along with your God-given faith, I am confident that you will say “Thank you, Father!” Not to me, but to your heavenly Father, our Father.
Before I ever held you in my arms, before anyone held you in their arms, your heavenly Father held you. In fact, he made you, caring for you before you were even born.
Then our Father did something even more amazing. Shortly after you were born, God wrapped his strong arms around you and brought you to faith through the saving waters of Baptism.
This was all part of God’s wonderful plan for you, a plan he made before the world was even created. The Bible says that God “predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will” (Ephesians 1:5).
Those are some big words, but they have a very simple meaning. God adopted you into his family before your Mom and I adopted you. God thinks adopted children are so special that he decided to adopt you and me and your Mom and everyone who loves Jesus. He does this not because of anything we do. Instead, Jesus died for our sins and paid the price for all the bad things that we do.
Luke, Andrew, Elizabeth, and Grace, you’ve been adopted twice! First by God, then by your Mom and me. God will always love you and so will we. You have every reason to say, “Thank you, Father!”
Every night I say, “Thank you, Father,” for making you his children through Baptism and for the chance to be your father. Every night I say, “Help me, Father, to be the best Dad that Luke and Andrew and Elizabeth and Grace could have, a father who forgives, as you have forgiven me through Jesus, a father who lives and teaches your Word.”
Children, I make mistakes. So do you. It’s our nature. But we also have a new nature that clings to Jesus. Every day, we will take our fears, worries, sins, and mistakes to our Father in heaven. Every night we will say, “Thank you, Father. Thank you for sending Jesus to be our Savior. Thank you for bringing us into your family.”
And I will always say, “Thank you, Father, for giving Luke, Andrew, Elizabeth, and Grace to me.” And I pray each of you will always say, “Thank you, Father, for giving me my Dad.”