Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate,
I’ve never been the sort of believer who talks freely about hearing God’s voice. It always seemed so out there to me; like something people who are a bit “off” did – or worse, something people who are putting on a Christian front do to disarm or deceive others or make excuses for their behavior.
I’ve never been ready to classify myself into either category.
But the truth is, I’ve heard God’s voice. Time and again, over the course of my life.
Without going back too far, I’ll tell you that I knew God really existed when I saw your face sweet Izzy. The words from the rock band Live’s song stuck in my head: “i don’t need no one to tell me about heaven, I look at my daughter and I believe.”
I felt that in a real way. I knew.
Over the course of your 9 years with us Izzy, you have shown us how to be better people, how to have real Faith, and how what Grace looks like. We’ve always known that you hear God’s voice. And because of that I’ve always known that God was real; with us in every moment. Even those hard times when your mommy was sick, when Max and Kate were sick, in cold sterile hospital rooms, in dark nights when I felt lost in my journey as the head of our household and as a father. I spent too many years trying to wrestle the answers out of Him.
I heard God’s voice many times over the last decade. Usually through you, my 3 children. He also spoke to me one day at the bottom of the ocean, as I fought for my senses after hitting my head on the ocean floor, spraining my shoulder, stumbling back onto the beach in a heap. Broken.
Ready to listen again.
And trust Me, He said.
So I did. But it took me 2 years. I quit a job that was no longer making me happy or feel like I was following God’s will in my life.
It was scary. But things are great now. So much better than I could have imagined when fear was telling me to rely on myself rather than trusting in Him. I reached a point where I didn’t have the strength anymore. So I surrendered to His command in my life.
That’s all he wanted, I guess.
Today, less than 2 months later, I start a brand new job that I believe God had in mind all along.
Last night you showed us again, Izzy, what Grace and trust and Faith look like. I cried tears of real joy as you made a public declaration of the Faith you’ve always had.
You were baptized last night at the closing of VBS. You wore a small necklace around your neck that reads: “Believe”. Your Nana, Papaw, Grandma, Grandfather, Aunt, Uncle, cousins, friends, brother, sister, and Mommy and Daddy all shared the moment with you. Your past and future sins washed white as snow, you chose this dress to wear afterwards.
We came back to the house afterwards and had cake and icecream. I could feel the change in our home. It’s never been bad. But I can feel a difference. We’re listening now. Not doubting. Trusting. And following.
I’m so proud of you, Isabella Hope.
I love you,
ps. You did great at the County Championship Swim Meet on Saturday too. Here are a few pics we took!