The dictionary definition of “ode” is a lyrical stanza in praise of, or dedicated to someone that captures the person’s interest or serves as an inspiration for the ode. Granted, it’s probably too late to make this post super poetic, but at the very most basic level, this is my birthday dedication to the man who has my interest, and who very much is my inspiration.
Jeremy, today you are 36 years old. And if we were to look together over the past year, we’d see these different moments in time that highlighted so fully the incredible man that you’ve grown to be.
We both know that this year started out with it’s challenges.
At it’s very beginning, I watched you navigate the hardships of watching one of your best friends go through the most difficult journey imaginable. You visited him in the ICU nearly daily for three months and continued to love and support him weekly when he transitioned over to Rehab. I saw the pain and your heartbreak, and at times it broke my heart as well. But through it all, I also saw God work in and through you as you reached out to love and comfort both Michael, his family, his friends and his community. The truth of it is, is that few friends could have done what you did and continue to do.
This past year I also watched you share your love for both your son and basketball when you coached Christian’s 6th grade team. To be honest, I think I was even more proud though, when Christian decided not to continue basketball and your response was not selfishness in wanting him to continue, but immediate support for what he would try next. In this instance and in so many, you proved your deep love for you children and that you truly are an incredible father.
This past year, there were many times that I marveled at the drive and passion that you continue to have in your job as a Youth Pastor. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that we are nearly in our 14th year of Youth Ministry. But you continue to be steady and strong in your desire to love students and to point them to Jesus. And they continue to learn and grow in the things you’ve taught them.
Your continuing love for our families is something that also proved itself this past year. We spent many weeks this year with them which is always a blessing considering that they are scattered all throughout the United States.
I loved how excited you were to welcome my sister, her husband and their five little ones into our home this past summer.
And I loved even more the genuine excitement that you had when we visited my family in Michigan. You (and I) considered it great fun to take all fifteen kids to Chuck E. Cheese which in itself proved you have an incredibly loving and serving heart. To be honest, I don’t know many men who would do that for his nieces and nephews, but you did and it was a fun afternoon and memories were made for years to come.
My favorite summer memories with you were always here. Most every time you asked if we wanted to go out in the boat, I’d always respond yes, because this is the smile I knew I’d see. I love your passion for the water and the peace and joy that you find on it. You’ve grown into a very wise man, finding the tricky balance between our busy life of ministry and the rest and re-energizing it takes to not get burnt out.
Jeremy, another one of my favorite things from this past year have been watching you enjoy the rewards of investing into youth. Both of these young men grew a deep love for serving the Lord as they saw the example of your love and service in their Jr. and Sr. High years. And now, both are working at serving God and entering into lives of ministry: one as a missionary in Africa and one finishing up at Seminary in Dallas.
Jeremy, today you’re 36. And it’s awesome to know that even though we are getting older, I truly believe that you’ll never be too old to yell out “Goofy Picture” and then do something ridiculously fun.
I’m so thankful for the husband you are to me and for the amazing father that you are to our kids. They love you so very much.
We both know that parenting is getting more challenging as they get older, but I’m thankful that we are learning and growing right along side of each other. You’ve done an amazing job with our kids and I truly believe that you will continue to do an amazing job with them in the tumultuous years ahead.
Knowing how much you love a good celebration, I want you to know that today, I celebrate you. I celebrate the man that you’ve grown to be and the man that you will be in the many years to come. I celebrate your 36th year of living and praise God for the many, many blessings He’s given me in you. You are a strong and faithful and godly man and I could not be more thankful to live this life with you.
Happy, Happy Birthday Dear Jeremy. I can’t wait to see the new adventures and challenges and joys and hopes that this coming year with you will bring. Thank you for being all that God’s created you to be and for the wonderful way you live your life. I love you so much and wish you the very best of days.