Leland’s 6th Birthday . the story of his psalm


I don’t really remember how I thought to choose a psalm for him. But I do remember that once I did choose one – we have prayed it over him, read it over him, and so desire for him to live under the banner of psalm one.

The canvas hung in his nursery before he was even born – the words a prophecy and a prayer over and for him.

And now, after this past year of growing as a young boy and also coming under Christ in new life , our prayer was answered!!, this psalm is our charge and challenge to Leland.

Psalm 1 . The Way of the Righteous and the Wicked

Blessed is the man

who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,

nor stands in the way of sinners,

nor sits in the seat of scoffers;

but his delight is in the lawof the LORD,

and on his law he meditates day and night.


He is like a tree

planted by streams of water

that yields its fruit in its season,

and its leaf does not wither.

In all that he doeshe prospers.

The wicked are not so,

but are like chaff that the wind drives away.


Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,

nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;

for the LORD knows the way of the righteous,

but the way of the wicked will perish.

Oh this psalm – the way we pray these holy words for Leland goes something like this – 

We pray Leland is a man who delights in the law of the Lord, day and night. This is the primary reason we teach him to read, to read the Word.

Be assiduous in reading the holy Scriptures. This is the fountain whence all knowledge in divinity must be derived. Therefore let not this treasure lie by you neglected. Every man of common understanding who can read, may, if he please, become well acquainted with the Scriptures. And what an excellent attainment would this be!” – Jonathan Edwards, “The Importance and Advantage of a Thorough Knowledge of Divine Truth,” in Sermons and Discources 1739-1742, 101.

We pray Leland walks in the Way, who is Jesus Christ (John 14:6). 

Oh, when I see a strong tree, a mighty oak… I think of my sons, I think of Leland. I pray deep roots in the banks of God’s life giving Word for his soul, mind, strength; I pray a strong trunk to withstand and stand firm; I pray for lots of long branches full of life, leaves, fruit, shade to provide rest and comfort for others. 

This idea that in all of his activity, his doings, he would prosper… an idea that’s been awfully thwarted by american-pragmatic-progress/health-wealth-and-prosperity-pseudo.gospel… Psalm 90 records a prayer for all of the work of Moses’ hands to prosper… the word connotes that the work would last into eternity and for all of eternity… that the work would be worth it work, work that goes through the fire and remains, pure work, good work, work for the glory of the Lord. work that prospers. This is the kind of, the real kind of, prosperity that we pray for Leland. 

The last part of the psalm reads “the Lord knows the way of the righteous” oh that Leland would be deeply, intimately, always known by the Lord… I pray Leland will be a righteous man. I pray that he will live forever in the presence of the Lord.




All of this for our six-year old son. All of this for our Leland, who made us parents, who already shows up and proves to be a lion-hearted leader. OH Jesus, all of You for all of our little man… this is our prayer, our gift, for our birthday boy, Leland.


{ photo credit – amy noon free photography }



big ole celebration . leland’s baptism

Praise the Lord! 

I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart, 

in the company of the upright, in the congregation,

Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them. — psalm 111:1

Yesterday evening, Leland got baptized. 

Let me unpack this for us. 

Leland – He is our oldest son. He is the son for whom we waited and prayed, and praise the Lord, He gave. About a year ago, we were impressed by the Lord to pray for him that he would be saved THIS year. We realized that he knew as much as he could, and he accepted by faith as much as he knew, and we prayed that he would know, trust, and commit to Jesus as His Savior as much as a little boy could. We prayed, and we watched. We watched the Lord transform this little boy – from preferring himself to preferring his brother. from choosing to disobey to choosing to obey (not by default, but choosing). from loving self to loving and learning to love others. We watched as the Lord convicted him of sin, convinced him of His love, and began to conform him into His Son’s image. Praying and watching the gospel of God begin to change your child from the inside out is a miracle of grace. Jesus, thank you for the heart to pray, for the eyes to see, for the mind to comprehend the Spirit of God working out Your salvation in Leland.

got baptized – Little doctrine lesson, friends. Baptism = when and after an individual confesses God as Lord and Savior, Jesus calls the person to baptism. In Scripture stories are told of a man and his household coming to faith and being baptized immediately afterwards; the story of the Ethiopian eunuch, who believed and was baptized on the side of the road; an account of a large group of people moving from death in sin to life in Christ and then being baptized. Baptism = after one realizes that they are a sinner and turns from, or repents of, their sin, confesses that only Christ can save them from their sin and into real, true, eternal life, and commits their life to be lived under Jesus, the Lord and Savior, a person is baptized. Baptism is when the person is immersed under water as a symbol of death with Christ, death of former self, and raised to life with Christ, His new life in you. Like the stories in scripture, baptism can happen with only two people involved, and baptism can occur with many eyewitnesses. As the church has grown and developed, oftentimes baptism happens in the context of church and includes coming under church membership. The eyewitnesses amen your conversion to Christ and your commitment to Him, and the church members answer the call to help you live out this new life in Christ. So there’s a lot jam packed into baptism, making it one of the most significant outward acts of the Christ-follower.

Leland got baptized – As we watched and prayed for the Lord to save Leland, He answered our prayer. Leland moved from belief in Christ to commitment to Christ. Of course, a five year old little boy doesn’t understand much about commitment, or what the call of Christ in his life could look like, but as our pastor said ‘any step toward Jesus is a real step toward Jesus… walk with him there.’ We happily said, ‘ok! here we go!’ (And as an aside, who of us totally understand what it might mean for us to be committed to Christ?,… this is a place of continued growth and prayer for Leland, as well as for ourselves and our faith family.) As we conversed with Leland, we asked the the Lord to confirm what we sensed, and He did. Leland talked with the pastor, his Uncle Daniel – which is so cool! Thank you, Jesus!, we gathered up our family, went to our church’s annual celebration; Leland went with his daddy and took seriously the meeting, stood on the dock, walked into the water, and Leland got baptized.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow

As we invited our family to come, we particularly invited them to pray, and not only for Leland, but also for Grafton, Samuel, Addison, and Annabeth, as they witnessed “their Leland” getting baptized, that the Holy Spirit would work in their hearts through this special event, through seeing him obeying Jesus.



waiting – all of our family happily sang and patiently waited

after-baptism hugs
blessings upon blessings : before the big event – thankfully, mom thought to get a picture of all of us, pre-total sweatiness and all of the dinner, two roosters ice-cream, singing and baptism fun 🙂 and we are so grateful for all of our family who attended, who prayed, who lovingly support Leland and our family, because, yes they’re family, but so much more significantly, they are brothers and sisters in Christ, they are our spiritual family.

Not to us, o Lord, not to us, but to Your name give glory, for the sake of Your steadfast love and Your faithfulness! — psalm 115:1

Leland, our lion hearted leader

Oh goodness. I remember when a friend’s child turned five years old and I was so overcome.

And now it’s my turn. We’ve been doing life together, day in and day out, for the last five years. And I have treasured every minute. Perhaps not enjoyed. Perhaps not engaged like I should have. But definitely treasured. I have learned and grown and been transformed heart, mind, and strength through your little life, through great love for you.

O Leland. We didn’t know what we were saying when we called our roly-poly strawberry blonde hair bright blue eyed baby “Leland, the lion hearted leader”….

But it’s true. You, my love, are a lion hearted leader. You are bold and full of life; you motivate and encourage and inspire. Each person who meets you must engage you; you provoke response. The Lord has given you passion, energy, and strength to love Him with your all and love others well. He wants for you to live blessed, loving His word and serving His people. I love seeing glimpses of His glorious plan play out in your life. And I cannot wait to see what ends of the earth for His glorious name He takes you to. You love your daddy. You love your brother. You take care of your momma.

Fearlessly you live and love.

Which is so good, clearly God-given, since every day with you daddy + mommy are new at this – we’ve never raised a five year old before, not to mention a Leland. What a holy privilege! What a sacred duty + delight. You, fearless, and the two of us, trembling standing before the Lord, praying we lead you to Him – the Lion.

We eat cake and have a party and celebrate the life the Lord has given us, has given you. And we pray you accept His life even this year, that you may always live for Him, never turning back, never slowing down, always going further up and further in.

We pray for you, our Leland, that you will be the blessed man who delights in His Word, prospers in His way, and is known by Him today and for eternity. (Psalm 1)

We love you, Leland – Happy 5th Birthday!