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Taylor's Crossing

Our boy is turning 13 this month so we've been intentional about trying to create something that would fit his personality and that would speak to his heart to help mark this "crossing" year.  We did a more elaborate version of this for his sister, Anna, but he made it very clear that he did not want the same kind of pageantry.  

As we thought about how to tweak some of our ideas that we'd put in place before, we still had some of the same goals that we'd had for Anna.  The ultimate message that we wanted him to hear and remember was that he is loved. One small thing we did in preparation to drive this home was that we had him memorize Psalm 139 over a period of a few months as this passage is a beautiful reminder of God's love for us and His presence with us.  

We also wanted Taylor to know that as he turned from 12 to 13 into the realm of being a teenager that he was not doing this alone. We wanted him to know that he has a team of people who are with him, cheering him along the way.  My friend’s church calls mentors “COWS” which stands for “cloud of witnesses.”  So during the months leading up to his birthday, we identified a number of friends and family who are influential in his life.  We talked to them asking if they would be willing to spend some one on one time with him during the coming months or even after his birthday if the timing did not work out.  In addition to that time, we also asked them to write a letter that had the following instructions: 

Taylor is turning 13 in May. We are gathering letters from people who have had an impact on him.  I'd love for you to include an affirmation of his spirit and character, a piece of life advice and any other wisdom for helping him grow in his faith. 
My cousin’s church in Nashville calls mentors “COWS” which stands for “cloud of witnesses.”  I know you may not like being called a cow, but thank you for being among his tribe!!

Taylor was invited by my parents to come on a trip to North Carolina to a favorite bed & breakfast in the Smoky Mountains to celebrate his birthday early and to hike with them on some of their favorite trails. I decided to combine this trip with time for him to read the letters we had gathered.  So, when the time came, I sent him on the plane with a notebook tucked in his suitcase with over 20 letters, and I asked my parents to read them to him at different points along the way when the time seemed right over the weekend.  It was our prayer that God would open his ears that he could hear loud and clear that he is loved.
(Just for the record, Taylor's uncle wrote to me that if Taylor makes the letter that he wrote to him into a paper airplane to please redistribute in his mid twenties. :) 

Over the weekend when he was on the trip, Taylor hiked over 36 miles with my parents in the Smoky Mountains. (And for a boy who would probably not rank hiking in his top five things to do, this is amazing). This song below by Andrew Peterson captures what my heart has been for his 13th birthday and for this “Crossing." Taylor got to soak up the beauty of that place and got to hear words of affirmation and wisdom from the letters we sent with him from family and friends to mark this new chapter, and I'm confident that he will never forget this time and that these words will sink in over time.  It truly felt like his heart and soul grew three sizes through this rich time. 

You'll Find Your Way 

When I look at you, boy

I can see the road that lies ahead
I can see the love and the sorrow
Bright fields of joy
Dark nights awake in a stormy bed
I want to go with you, but I can’t follow
So keep to the old roads
Keep to the old roads
And you’ll find your way
Your first kiss, your first crush
The first time you know you’re not enough
The first time there’s no one there to hold you
The first time you pack it all up
And drive alone across America
Please remember the words that I told you
Keep to the old roads
Keep to the old roads
And you’ll find your way
You’ll find your way
If love is what you’re looking for
The old roads lead to an open door
And you’ll find your way
You’ll find your way
Back home
And I know you'll be scared when you take up that cross
And I know it'll hurt, 'cause I know what it costs
And I love you so much and it's so hard to watch
But you're gonna grow up and you're gonna get lost
Just go back, go back
Go back, go back to the ancient paths
Lash your heart to the ancient mast
And hold on, boy, whatever you do
To the hope that's taken hold of you
And you'll find your way
You'll find your way
If love is what you’re looking for
The old roads lead to an open door
And you’ll find your way
You’ll find your way
Back home




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