Emancipation: freeing someone from the control of another; especially a parent’s relinquishing authority and control over a minor child.
Eighteen years ago today, a boy was born. More specifically, YOU were born.
And my journey from slavery to freedom began.
The day of your birth was not a happy one for me; disability was not part of my plan. I’m ashamed at the memory of my thoughts from that day.
But here you were: blind, helpless, needy, entirely dependent on parents who didn’t understand your world.
Foolishly, I did not trust the promises of God, which I had been taught since I was a child. I went my own way.
Even this was part of God’s plan.
At the right moment, God breathed life into me:
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:4-7, ESV)
My son, you are still blind, helpless, needy, entirely dependent on your parents who don’t understand your world. Over time we added autism, cognitive impairments, epilepsy and more. It has not been easy for any of us.
But God understands your world. He made you for a great purpose, or 10,000 purposes. God has kindly let me see a few of them.
And God is happy to provide help every day, for you and for me. That is exactly what he has done for the past 6,575 days of your life. I expect God will do it again tomorrow. He promised he would.
I am your guardian, responsible for all decisions concerning your life and health. You don’t seem to mind. From that standpoint, today is like every other day of your life.
But in a tangible way you are my champion, the very means through whom God called me to himself. Maybe someday Jesus will tell us the stories of how he used you to change people all over the world. Or maybe that won’t be important any longer because we’ll be so happy to be with him. Either way, we’ll be happy!
So, today you may not be emancipated as other 18-year-old young men will be.
But you live a mostly contented life. You do not worry about tomorrow. You do not hold grudges from past wrongs. You expect your needs will be met today.
You are free in ways most people can only dream about, in ways I long for. Your happy confidence in your parents isn’t warranted, but it is a great picture of how I should trust our Father-God. I’m glad for that picture. And I’m glad to have you.
Happy birthday, son! Daddy loves you very, very much!
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:17-18, ESV)