This is the 7th time we’ve celebrated your birthday together… and if I could never have predicted where we’d be now.
Allen is faithful. He is literally full of faith – he never doubts what God is doing or calling him to – but he is also loyal: loyal to God, to our family, to me, to the Gospel.
Allen is a servant. This man just serves, usually without any recognition or acknowledgement. The coat rack by the nursery at church is falling down? He’ll just bring his screwdriver and fix it without telling anyone. The tires on the Jeep need air? He’ll fill them up before I go to work. I mention off-hand that I could really go for a cookie-in-a-mug? He’ll make one for me in less than five minutes flat.
Allen is strong. He carries things that I can’t even imagine bearing the weight of. Not only does he endure the weight of being a stay-at-home dad, but he does so while balancing schoolwork required in order to complete a degree many years in the making. Other people would have given up and thrown in the towel. Not Allen. He perseveres. And when he does feel like quitting, he maintains a Kingdom-perspective, acknowledging His weakness and Christ’s strength.
Allen desires to be a man of God. On the inside cover of his Bible, he has written and taped inside a note that lists the characteristics outlined in 1 Timothy 3 for a deacon or overseer. This is the kind of man he wants to be.
Allen is growing. When I think about the 20-something man I met almost 8 years ago and the 30-year-old-man he is today, I see tremendous growth. He has grown in his teaching abilities, his service, his faith. He has fought through hard things that may have side-lined someone else. He has endured criticism and mis-directed anger and stands stronger in his identity in Christ because of it.
Happy birthday, Allen. I’m your biggest fan and you’re always my favorite. I love you.