Raising a Man of Faith
|By Sheri Rose Shepherd
Bestselling Author and Bible Life Coach
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made this vow: "O LORD of Heaven's Armies, if you will look upon my
sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back
to you. He will be yours for his entire lifetime."|
1 Samuel 1:11
I was invited to write a book for mothers of sons titled Preparing Him for the Other Woman: A Mother's Guide to Raising Her Son to Love a Wife and Lead a Family. To be honest, this topic intimidated me on many levels. I had my own insecurities and fears of failing as a mom, and I grew up in such a messed-up family that I couldn’t see how I would ever be qualified to write a book on this subject.
As I always do before I write any book, I put this message to the test. I gathered a group of young men ages twelve to twenty and asked them if they felt they would be good husbands when they grew up. Sadly, their comments reflected their fear of women; in fact, they felt marriage was something to be avoided. Many talked as if marriage were a death sentence that caused a lifetime of pain. Others asked why they should get married since marriage usually ends in heartbreak, adultery, or divorce.
My mother's heart broke for these boys and all our sons, and their answers were enough for me to fight my fears and write that book for the sake of the next generation of marriages. As I began writing, I reflected on one of my favorite “mommy memories.” It took place on a gorgeous summer evening on a California beach with my husband, Steve, and our son, Jake, when he was three. As my husband tended the campfire, Jake and I snuggled together under a blanket and watched the sun set over the sea. A young couple walked past us hand in hand, with eyes only for each other. My little boy watched them for a couple of minutes before turning his sweet face toward mine and asking, "Mommy, will you marry me when I grow up?"
I gently explained that mommies can't marry their sons. I'll never forget the ache I felt as I saw tears well up in his big blue eyes and roll slowly down his cheeks. In that moment it hit me: not only was I raising a son, but I was raising someone's future husband. I decided that day to dedicate my time with Jake to helping him become a good husband when he grew up. I knew I needed to stop focusing on my fears that I would fail him and begin to focus on the fact that God appointed me as the first lady in his life, his mother. Later that night I got down on my knees and prayerfully committed my son's life to God once again. I felt a new sense of peace about being a mom as I realized that Jake ultimately belonged to the Lord and that my faithful God would cover my son where I could not.
Years later, just a few weeks before my son would marry his beautiful Southern bride, Amanda, I found myself in a reflective mood. On the one hand, I felt as if I'd done everything I could to encourage him to keep following Christ and to prepare him to be a good husband. I knew I needed to officially release Jake to his new life with his bride-to-be. On the other hand, I wondered, Have I done enough? I feared the years my husband and I struggled in our own marriage might affect Jake's marriage. In my inward battle to believe I had done a good job raising him, God gave me the desire to write Jacob a very personal letter the week before his wedding. With his permission and in my hope to bring some relief to your momma's heart, I want to share it with you now:
To my son, Jake,
This morning as tears fill my eyes, I reflect on the past twenty years of life with you, from Winnie the Pooh, goody plates, and snuggles to late-night talks when you were a teen. I remember when I first heard your heartbeat in the doctor's office and the doctor saying, "You are going to have a son." Joy and fear flooded my heart at that moment.
What kind of mom would I be, coming from a broken home with no foundation? And could I take on the task of raising a son in this perverse world?
I was so afraid of failing you, and I became desperate for God, which kept me in a constant state of prayer for you, knowing that our God would cover you where I could not and cover me where I failed. What I did not know is that I was not just raising a son; I was raising a warrior and a world changer!
Today I look at your fearful heart for your future, and I see a man who seeks God's face with humility, knowing your God is faithful. I see a man who is passionate to do something great for God's Kingdom. I see a hope in your heart that screams, "I will not settle for less than God has for me!"
Jacob, in all my imperfections and insecurities, I am honored God chose me to raise a mighty warrior like you. I know you don't know how your story will be written, and it seems unclear how you will fulfill your calling. Remember, you are not the author of your own life; therefore rest in Him. . . . He is writing your life right now. Any and everything you are about to walk through, good or hard, will prepare you for His ultimate plan.
So as I wipe the tears from my eyes and say good-bye as "Mommy," once responsible for your care, I now give you away to care for your bride. And say hello as a friend. I will always hold the memories of my little son as a hidden treasure in my heart. I pray that all you have seen and heard these past twenty years, "good and bad," will become building blocks, as you will now lay the foundation of faith and life for your new family. Jacob, you will fight the good fight, you will finish your race, and your faith will be passed down to many generations long after you’re gone.
I love you, Son.
For more teaching videos from Sheri Rose, go to www.biblelifecoaching.com.