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Andrew's fourteen year old poem:

Trailblazer

Andrew
You have come so far
In so many ways
So far beyond where I was
When I had lived your days
You are an awesome young man
With a heart for God

Fourteen years have passed
Still I will never forget it as long as I last
That singular moment of pride and awe
When I first held you and looked in your tiny face
and saw
That God had blessed me amazingly with a son
Our firstborn, our little one

And I have watched as you have grown
In wisdom, in stature, and in honor
as the paths of life you have trod
And I see in you a great heart
A heart that through the struggles
beats for his God

As the firstborn you have had to blaze the trail
And explore the undiscovered countries
Hoist anchor and set sail
Upon the uncharted waters
Because you had no older brother or sister
To go before you, as the firstborn of our sons and daughters
And we as your parents, truth to tell
Had a thing or two to learn as well.

But you're turning out great, by God's good grace
And that makes me glad
I think of all the good times we've had
I remember that bright-eyed little guy at three and four
Who loved to play football and roughhouse on the floor
A lover of animals, and, before you could read a page
A reciter of Scripture at a very early age
And how you progressed on this journey you have taken
Through elementary school
You earned respect unshaken
From your teachers, for they were much impressed
By your good character and swift mind
They saw in you traits of the loftiest kind
Reverence, virtue and others as rare
These they saw in the smiling boy with curly brown hair

You learned the taste of victory
Through sports in those days
Especially football, as God blessed you
With great teams
and the beginning of a life-long love
For the sport, and though in recent years we've been a little short
Of wins,
Well I like to think
That often through losses God begins
To build the character He desires in you
That winning or losing, you will always be true.
I believe in you there's a quality
That has been honed through football
Though things can get tough, and life can hurt for awhile
You're learning never to give up
No matter how hard the trial

God made a way
For you to go on the
Junior high Mission trip
During summer's days
And we were so glad you could go
As He stretched you and pushed you
We were thrilled to hear about Mo
That little boy that you witnessed to
Who met Jesus Christ by your lead
And that very day was set free indeed

And then there are girls, ah . . . you made some mission-trip friends
They have an appetite for drama and it never ends
As well you have discovered
But I think it's cool
That they look up to you
Because you are no fool
You understand how girls should be treated
Now that's great wisdom, cling to that
And you will not be defeated
in this area of life - it's just beginning
But I am confident that if you look
With God's eyes, you'll come through winning
Because the feminine mind is a perilous thing
Decorating your room for a surprise party one moment
treating you like a king
And the next, almost without reason or rhyme
Ganging up on you with tear-filled rejections
It's enough to make you, in the meantime
Spend some moments in your room, sorting out right and wrong
And writing "Alone in my Principles", your new hit song.

Musically you've come such a long, long way
You have really worked hard and you're learning to play
Some amazing stuff, your musical taste
Is so much like mine,
(I haven't decided yet if I'm fine
     with that), but I'm glad you appreciate this amazing gift
And I pray that music will be used to lift
You up to God, and not bring you down
It's so great to hear you going to town
On your electric guitar
and I look forward to the day
When you pass me by and start teaching me how to play

You're a quiet leader who's not afraid to speak out
Though I know that you struggle at times to be more outspoken
And all the while to live for Christ
To lay your all down and bow before Him, broken
Last year I wrote about your wrestlings with God
Just like Jacob who held on, bruised by rock and sod
until he was blessed
And speaking of which
Getting to pray with you on that day this year
When you made your faith your own
Was a privilege like few I have ever known
And baptizing you an experience that stands alone

And now you are becoming a man
Though still a ways off, it approaches
And you are putting away childish things
As life and growing up slowly encroaches
Let God's word be a light to your way
Because leaving childhood can be hard
As you walk the narrow path I fervently pray

That you will know in your heart that you are not on your own
For you have not been left alone
One has gone before Who felt the hurts that you feel
Jesus Christ Himself blazed the trail
And He was once fourteen too
And going through many of these things
That perplex and trouble you
And I know that at times
     you might be afraid
Of the work involved and the prices paid
     In growing up
Well, don't fear my son
Because living in you is One who never shunned
The hard way, He gave it all
     All the way to the cross
And He will be with you
     Through every win, every joy
     Every pain, every loss
And He'll make you strong
     A warrior for Him
So that you won't be captured by our dark world's whims
And He'll give you strength to stand tall
And to the world never stoop
So that you can run victoriously against a troop
And set a thousand enemies to flight
Because in walking, Andrew, in His light
Jesus will ensure that you win the fight

So I pray that a blessed year lies ahead
As further on this journey the path you'll tread
A path of life, fun and victory, because He will never fail
To give you the strength
     To blaze the trail.

Happy Birthday!

Love

Dad
October 21, 2003