It’s hard to believe but it’s true. Time doesn’t stop for anyone. While I think I still kinda sorta wanna look young, I’m reminded how old I’m getting when I see my children. Today, my eldest child celebrates her 16th birthday.
Her name is Jubilee and her name means the “Joy of God.”
Jubilee also has a very powerful Scriptural meaning. It’s referenced in the Book of Leviticus where it is to “occur every fiftieth year, in which slaves and prisoners would be freed, debts would be forgiven and the mercies of God would be particularly manifest.” We pray that our daughter lives into both of these meanings.
It’s been particularly hard because joy has often become the biggest challenge for her. It would not be appropriate for me to broadcast her life story because it’s not for me to tell and I know that when she’s ready, she’ll share her story with the rest of the world…and it’ll be raw, painful, honest, and beautiful. But without going into much details, she has struggled through an illness (along with severe food allergies) through her entire life. It has been painful and difficult. We have been to the hospital more this past year than in recent years combined.
Yet, she has wrestled to find that joy and rest in God. Yes, she has wrestled with God. There are good days and there are bad days.
But this is why her faith in Christ … has such honesty and realness – and it humbles and inspires me. It’s real.
And I’m especially proud of her that as she celebrates her 16th birthday, she’s chosen to create her own birthday campaign to help raise funds for those around the world that don’t have clean water. In her own words:
This year has been one of the most difficult years of my young life so far; I have my reasons. But despite the hardships, I’ve had several highlights. In June, my youth group and I went to Portland to support our broader community. We created relationships, expressed our love and served. As a result, I felt a passion for helping others. July of 2014, I began a four week internship at One Day’s Wages. I researched potential schools for partnerships, I wrote one short short blog post and labeled lots of letters. Most importantly I was able to research about extreme global poverty. I thought I knew a lot about it, I thought wrong. The painful reality of this broken world was hard to accept. But, I fell in love with the One Day’s Wages mission statement and vision. I wasn’t able to finish my internship due to health problems, but the learning I experienced there was incredible. I seek to bring hope and justice to our world, little by little.
I am turning the big SIXTEEN on Halloween. I want to donate to the One Day’s Wages Clean Water Fund. 100% of your donations go straight to the cause! Together we can alleviate extreme global poverty!
Would you consider making a $16 donation to her birthday campaign?
Even if you aren’t able to make a donation, please leave her a note of encouragement in the comments.
And I know all Dads and Moms brag on their children. We do, too. Our kids are incredible and special. They can also be cranky and whiny. They are beautiful and handsome. They also have bad breath in the mornings and pick their noses. But we love them so much and feel so honored to be their parents.
But speaking of bragging on your kids, I love Jubilee’s sense of empathy and her artistic, creative spirit. In the last couple years, she taught herself to play the ukulele, found confidence and joy in singing, learned to take photographs and shoot/edit video.
Then, she created this video for a school project and my wife and I were shocked. She took hundreds of photos, played the ukulele, sang a mashup of songs, and created this video entitled, Modern Day Revolution/Total War Song.
What?! Who’s your Daddy?!