June 3rd , 2023 Thoughts for my Son on the eve of His Wedding

June 3, 2023 1 By Mirm

Clayton, soon after your dad died, I started a blog to keep saying all the unspoken things, not leaving my thoughts and feelings stranded in my heart. Our lives are stories, letters and words to others and sometimes by sharing them we grow our love.

What would I want to say on such a day as today?! What words do I need to share from my heart?

What would Jim say if he were here today? He would start by telling you how proud of you he is and then probably crack a joke or do a magic trick.

Over the years, I have so many fond memories of my son. There was your very first word (ball), your first steps, and your first day of school and your last days of school I had so many emotions. Imagine how I feel today, on the eve of your wedding day, to Amanda, a godly, beautiful woman.

When you were born, we knew several things to be true. First, that you were going to be a boy that we would name Clayton James, after your great grandfather & dad, ) and not corn cob like your sister wanted) and that you would complete our family.

We knew you would grow up in Illinois and that you would have more than your fair share of privilege and opportunity because we would be able to provide that for you. Most of all, we knew we loved you already, even though we had not even met you!

What we did not know the day you were born is what you would be like. We looked at you those first moments of your life, pushed back that long dark hair out of your blue eyes so you could see us ( you needed a haircut) and wondered at such a miraculous gift. We were (and I still am) awed at the privilege of being your parents and we were humbled to be included in creating an immortal soul with our Creator Jesus. We began immediately and joyfully getting to know you (I still am!). We looked forward to learning all about you, your personality and giftings. And we were soon overwhelmed by your intelligence, your quiet compassion and gentle nature and your musical ability. Yours were soft cries because you couldn’t hear well and even after we got tubes put in your ears you still mostly whispered because you are an introvert; and yet, your mischievous spirit came through with a sparkle in your eyes and an infectious belly laugh!

I shared at your sister’s wedding some of the things your dad said to her on the day she was born. Now it is your turn. Hers was a long labor and yours was a more troubled one, forcing an emergency C-Section. This means that your dad had quite a bit longer to bond with you all to himself! But I could hear him. He held you and prayed over you. He whispered to truth to you, starting with the most important thing we wanted you to know and that is that you are loved before the foundation of the world by a good God. We still want you to know that, as it is the most important thing about you.

Your dad then kissed your nose and brought you over to me where we stared in awe, memorizing the beautiful gift we had been given to steward. There your dad told you the second important thing: you are loved, not only by God but, by us.

You dad also told you about the plans God has for you and while we didn’t know what they were we made the promise to you to help you learn to listen and obey so you might hear whatever God might say to you. Because we named you Clayton we gave you Isaiah 64:18 as your life verse: Oh Lord, you are Our Father, we are the clay and you are our potter. We are the work of your hand.

Our nightly routines included stories, songs, revisiting the day with gratitude, prayers and a blessing your favorite song to song was “Change my heart O God” and you would sing, “You are the potter, I am the Clayton…” As you keep moving forward in life, it is my prayer that you would continue to allow God to mold you more and more into a vessel that He uses to advance the Kingdom.

Clay is a fairly inexpensive material but it becomes something valuable in the hands of a skillful potter, who transforms it. Tomorrow is your first day of life as “2 become one” and I want you both to know the same truths as you start out on this adventure for the rest of your life: That you are loved forever by a good and holy God, that you are loved by many (look around you).

I know that your marriage is starting out as 2 ordinary lumps of clay from which God is going to create one beautiful vessel, though we don’t know what it will be like. I am glad I get a front row seat to watch His workmanship for which you were created! I pray you both will remain pliable, soft and responsive to His touch; your marriage will be a lifelong opportunity to let the Lord continue to redeem and use all the parts of your individual lives to mold you into the image of His Son.

As Clayton’s mother, it can be very tempting to take all of the credit for the wonderful person that he has grown up to be. While his father and I did our best to be great parents and to raise him with good values in a loving home, at the end of the day, we are not responsible for the person he is today. That is actually the cumulative effect of all of you and the Lord. Thank you all for being some of the many “hands” that have shaped these two, along with other family, friends, teachers, trials, circumstances of life and hardships. Struggles are part of life and marriage. Life without them is like an unfired clay pot. The beauty of heat/fire is that it strengthens you. It refines you and hardens the definition of your relationship so that it can stand up to the test of time! I am not hoping for struggles in your marriage rather I am counting on them to add to and perfect the work of the Lord for his use!

Love is a way of being, of knowing and of seeing. Love is that grace that changes everything and a generous gift that cannot be contained. Love is seeing into another person and all their deep places. Young love needs courage and patience to grow into intimacy. Today you share the words “I love you” and for the rest of your life you live out those words with intention and actions. To be married is to be blessed with a best friend who wants to wake up next to you every day. Someone who will stick with you through good times and bad, who will make you laugh when you cry and laugh along with you when you are overcome with joy. I can say without a doubt that Amanda and Clayton have found that in each other.

I love you so much. I am overcome with so many happy emotions: love, gratitude, excitement, and joy. You could not have found a better bride to spend the rest of your days with. Amanda, thank you for making my son so happy. I am more grateful to you than words can possibly say.

There is an old Reba McEntire song titled, “He gets that from me” and while I know you get some of your traits from me, you do reflect both your earthly father and our Heavenly Father in powerful ways:

To quote part of the lyrics :

[Clay] looks at me with those big [blue] eyes
He’s got me in the palm of his hands
And I swear sometimes
It’s just like you’re here again
He smiles that little crooked smile
There’s no denying he’s your child
Without him I don’t know what I’d do
He gets that from you
Oh, he gets that from you

How he loves your old guitar
Yeah, he’s taught himself to play
He melts my heart
Tells me he love me every day
And cracks a joke at the perfect time
Makes me laugh when I want to cry
That boy is everything to me
He gets that from you
He gets that from you

Last night I heard him pray
“Lord, help me and mama make it through
And tell daddy we’ll be okay”
He said, “He sure misses you”
He sure misses you
He really misses you
He gets that from me