I never wanted children. Occasionally, I would let my mind wander to a field with a little boy in a baseball uniform patting his glove and guarding the third-base line, but I honestly never believed that image would become a reality in my future. I don't know if I was too scared to believe it, fearing I may jinx myself, or too selfish to picture my life revolving around anyone other than me. For whatever reason, offspring were never really a part of my plan...until, of course, the day Kayla told me she was pregnant.
If you've ever read any of my articles, you'll know that I'm thankful to God for Jude; that God's plan for me is better than my own! I know that this is a horrible cliche, but I truly don't remember my life before August 13, 2015 at 4:43 PM central time. That's the moment I heard Jude Alexander Vance cry for the first time. That's the first time I saw him. That's the moment that I fell head over heels, overwhelmed with emotion, completely grew up and loved him! He was mine! And forever I am his!
He arrived only three weeks after my nephew, Dax. Dax also happens to be Jude's closest friend and fellow troublemaker. Together they make quite the dynamic duo. I remember the day Dax was born too, though it is slightly less vivid in my mind. I held him, and I talked to him, and I tried to imagine what my yet unborn Jude was going to be like. Being with newborn Dax did help me get a general picture of what to expect. And, yet, within mere minutes of Jude's triumphant birth, I could already see their uniqueness. I was fascinated that two boys with such similar parents, environments, DNA, and birth dates could be so very different from their very first external moments.
I remember rolling Jude in a cart to the nurses' station so they could clean him thoroughly and put him under the heat lamp. He was already wearing a scowl that I had been perfecting for 30 years. He kept his tongue out like he'd spent time intently studying the great Michael Jordan. And he would jerk his entire body every so often like a person does when they find themselves free falling in a dream. At only one-hour old he had already established himself as the one and only Jude Alexander Vance.
I'm just recently finishing the Old Testament book, Jeremiah. It's the longest book in the Bible by word count and in my opinion one of its most challenging reads. That being said, there are a few parts of it that give the reader a glimmer of hope and a true, deep insight into the nature of God. As I read the book, I thought about my son and my nephew and how different they really are. Putting the two together gave me a profound realization and I gleaned it in one of Jeremiah's simplest verses. In Jeremiah 1:5, it says, "Before I formed you in your mother's womb, I knew you." That's our loving creator speaking!!!
In developing this website, Kayla and I spent months simply working on the idea. That was before we ever decided on a web host, an aesthetic, a layout, the type of content we wanted to generate, the imagery we would use, or the people we would trust to assist. All of those elements had to be thought out, discussed, designed, and re-designed before we ever dreamed of hitting the button to go live online. We believe in the Loveidemic or we wouldn't have ever spent that time getting it exactly how we wanted it. It was designed and created with love! Because it matters so much to us!
Isn't it powerful then to imagine the process that went into designing and uniquely creating each of us. Think about the painstaking detail that every human being has, right down to individual fingerprints. That's not random; that's design. Some would insist that Jeremiah 1:5 is a word from God that is only meant for Jeremiah. I would concede that it was spoken to Jeremiah; however, the Bible is quite clear that God is no respecter of persons, so if he said this to Jeremiah, then he meant it for you and me, too. The Bible also makes it clear that God is not man and therefore cannot lie! So when he said he created them male and female in Genesis, and said that it was good, it meant that he took the time to design Adam and Eve, and Jeremiah, and you and me, too.
So take heart! God had a plan for you from the moment he started designing you! You're not here by chance or accident or by random chemical reaction, but with specific intent. You, the human being reading this right now, have more coding behind your existence than the world's most complex and powerful computer (which had a designer). It stands to reason that you would have an even greater designer. You are evidence of a loving creator that made you to be uniquely you. He set you apart from every other person he ever created. And in order for God to go into such tedious detail, much like the process we went through to create our website, only to the zillionth power, it must have been a labor of love.
But I'm broken, damaged, defective, imperfect, unwell, flawed, different, strange, etc.
So am I. So are we all.
Unfortunately, this world is damaged. In Genesis, God gave the property deed of the earth to Adam and Eve and they gave it to Satan when they disobeyed God. Since gaining dominion over the earth, Satan, Lucifer, the Devil has been trying to ruin all of God's perfect creations. That's why Jesus came----to fix our brokenness, repair our damage, heal our defects. He came to redefine us, back to our original intent. That's how loving our creator is. He made a way to restore us!
So you're not like everyone else----that's because you were created just to be you, and everyone else to be them. It was never more clear to me than on the day my son was born. It's his differences that make him special, and in those differences, it is so obvious that he was made with love! Let's grab a hold of that love and spread it! It's the kind of love that will change the world!