25 years ago, God had heard my prayers and I was holding my first baby, a son. After two miscarriages, with a year of infertility between them, I doubted we would ever be blessed with a child. At 25 weeks, as I begun to go into pre-term labor and my fears mushroomed. Thankfully, 13 weeks of complete bed rest later, Samuel was ready to meet his parents. I was blessed indeed!
The name Samuel means, God has heard. I felt very much like Hannah in the Bible, as I cried out to God for a child. It was a given… if our first child was a boy, his name would be Samuel. He was also given two middle names, in the event we were not blessed again, so as to honor two important men in our lives. Thomas for my maternal grandfather, Thomas Fred Ragland, and Owen, after Kenny’s father, Herbert Owen Branch. Samuel is quite fond of his middle names seeing as during college often was called “T.O.”
As parents, don’t we invariably speculate as to what kind of people our children will become? I certainly did. In fact, I remember crumbling one afternoon during Samuel’s first year when the gravity of it hit me…It was OUR job to point this child to Christ. What if we failed?
Thankfully, I now know that it was more God’s job than ours. It was our calling to be faithful in pointing him in the direction of his heavenly Father. It was God who would bring about the fruit. It took us many years to get that truth ingrained into our hearts and minds. In the end, there was no doubting the fact that GOD was the One to receive the glory for Samuel’s life.
Samuel, I am honored to be your mother. You have taught me far more than I ever imagined teaching you. There has been SO much growth over the last 25 years, in both of us. God has blessed me beyond words. You are a sensitive young man who cares much about his family and those around him. You have overcome many struggles, and in doing so are grasping Jesus Christ as the source of your strength.
I recognize I haven’t been terrific at “letting go” in recent years, but I will continue to seek God’s guidance each day as I grasp the times He desires me to speak and when He needs me to stay silent. I am eager to see what the Lord has in store for you in the year(s) to come. Always remember that you are more HIS son far more than you are ours. I love you!