dear jackson: about your dad’s second book

Dear Jacks,

You are finally asleep. You have taken to resisting it unless someone is holding you, rocking you, standing up… you have a pretty specific list. I love how much you already seem to know about what makes you happy: our faces, your bright red fox toy, your yellow and purple rattle. You light up this world, you light up the rooms where you are. You’ve caught the hearts of your nurses and your doctors, and that smile – oh Jack, that smile – we will do almost anything to see that smile, to catch it for just another second.

Last night your dad gave you a bath. You smiled and smiled and smiled at him. You already know a lot about your dad. He is the one who sings to you with the record player, the one who catches you up in his arms, keeps you safe, rolls you over and over, tummy to back and back again, helping you be strong. He is so good at that work, helping us be strong.

I want to tell you about your dad’s book – Out of the House of Bread. In the chaos of your arrival the months slipped by. I meant to write this when he finished it, as soon as we knew about you last year. I meant to write this all summer, while we were waiting to meet you. I meant to write this all fall, and time rushed past, slow and too fast all at once.

Your dad wrote a book that kept me, that keeps me, tethered to a life of prayer. It is a book about bread. It is a book about talking to God. But Jacks, this is the thing. It is a book where Dad lays out gently, moment by moment, practice by practice, ways for people to connect to Jesus. It comes out next week, right before you are four months old.

You must have heard him pray, all those long months while you were growing inside me? He would close his eyes and place his hand over you, and you would kick him back with your fierce assertions that you were listening, that you were there. He would pray with the Psalmist, pray with Scripture, pray with wonder. He would help me pray the examen. He would pray, day in and day out. He still prays this way.

Your dad wrote a book about prayer. I bought you a copy. I know someday, when you have questions (because we all have questions) about this living conversation with God, about the work of prayer, this is the book I will want to have ready to give you.

The kitchen is a place of great prayer in this house, Jacks. When you have questions about the work of prayer, I will tell you to go into the kitchen. I will tell you that there, sitting with your dad, I learned to pray.

Chances are good Dad will be in there, his hands full of spices or dough, his eyes alight. Chances are good that the kitchen will be a place where you go to talk with God. Chances are good that God will meet you, again and again, along the hallways and among the smells and tastes in this home.

When you ask me what to do, what to pray, I will offer you this book. I will offer you this kitchen, so well loved by your dad. I will tell you that this is where God meets us.

Your dad will teach us so much about prayer. Much of it will be lived, something we can’t write down. Some of it he wrote down, in this book, and we can read it again and again and practice it together, the three of us and everyone God sends to join us on the way.

I wanted to tell you this, Jacks – your dad is a man of prayer. I can’t wait for you to ask me those questions. I can’t wait to give you this book.

Love,
mom

3 thoughts on “dear jackson: about your dad’s second book

  1. Jackson, your dad’s book arrived yesterday. i opened it and walked into the slimness of it and remained. Father God used your dad’s words to thaw a heart frozen hard in grief. Holy Spirit used your dad’s words to help lift a slab of ice from a heart stuck in winter. Someday, Jackson, you will read your Dad’s word and they will feel so familiar. The familiarity will be because you watched the words fleshed out in the daily, the mundane, the tedious, and the sweetness of your mama’s wise words and your dad’s floured hands. My prayer? I pray your mama buys you a stool, one about counter height. And when it is time for your dad to make bread, I pray she puts you on your little boy knees on that stool right beside him.

  2. So beautiful. As someone who had a dad who is also a man of prayer, I know how lucky Jackson is. I am a stranger who has followed your story from afar. Your words and life are a gift to a fractured world. Thank you

  3. i have been silently reading for months. each time i see there’s a new post in my bloglovin’ feed i rush to open it. your words–your story–your testimony are all so beautiful and they have touched me way down deep in my heart. (and our little guys are about the same age–my son, lawson, was born august 13th) this morning i found your instragram account and finally got to see jackson–hilary, he is beautiful and so perfect! what a gorgeous, happy little guy and you are glowing from motherhood.
    i will continue to pray for you all.

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