Authors: Karen Kingsbury
Tags: #Romance, #Christian, #Fiction, #Religious, #General
To Donald, my Prince Charming …
Another year behind us, and already Tyler is almost finished with his first year at Liberty University, while Kelsey is just a few months away from getting married. Isn’t our Lord so faithful? Not just with our kids, but in leading our family where He wants us to be. Closing in on a year in Nashville, and it’s so very clear that God wanted us here. Not just for my writing and to be near Christian movies and music … but for our kids, and even for us. I love how you’ve taken to this new season of being more active in my ministry, and helping our boys bridge the gap between being teenagers and becoming young men. Thank you for being steady and strong and good and kind. Hold my hand and walk with me through the coming seasons … the graduations and growing up and getting older. All of it’s possible with you by my side. Let’s play and laugh and sing and dance. And together we’ll watch our children take wing. The ride is breathtakingly wondrous. I pray it lasts far into our twilight years. Until then, I’ll enjoy not always knowing where I end and you begin. I love you always and forever.
To Kyle, my newest son …
Kyle, you and Kelsey might not be married just yet, but still we see you as our son, as the young man God planned for our daughter, the one we’ve prayed for and talked to God about and hoped for. Your heart is beautiful in every way, Kyle. How you cherish simple moments and the way you are kind beyond words.
You see the good in people and situations and you find a way to give God the glory always. I will never forget you coming to me and Donald at different times and telling us that you wanted to support Kelsey and keep her safe … and ultimately that you wanted to love her all the days of your life. All of it is summed up in the way you do one simple action: The way you look at our precious Kelsey. It’s a picture that will hang forever on the wall of my heart. You look at Kelsey like nothing and no one else in all the world exists but her. In your eyes at that moment is the picture of what love looks like. Kyle, as God takes you from one stage to another — using that beautiful voice of yours to glorify Him and lead others to love Jesus — I pray that you always look at Kelsey the way you do today. We thank God for you, and we look forward to the beautiful seasons ahead. Love you always!
To Kelsey, my precious daughter …
Never in a million years could I have imagined that as I finished the Bailey Flanigan series you would be in your very own season of planning a wedding. You are my inspiration for Bailey Flanigan, and throughout the writing of these four books I’ve seen life imitate art. You headed off to college after I’d already dreamed up
, and as
hit the shelves you were returning home to pursue acting and finish up at University of Portland. You were
for God’s plan alone when last March you met Kyle. Friendship quickly became a love like nothing you’d ever seen before, the love you have dreamed about from the beginning. In very little time we came to see that Kyle was the guy we’ve been praying for since you were born. God created him to love you, Kelsey … and you to love him. He is perfect for you, an amazing man of God whose walk of faith is marked by kindness, integrity, determination, and passion. We love him like we’ve known him forever. And so as I finish this series with Bailey’s wedding — a
wedding I dreamed up years ago — you are planning your very own beautiful wedding day. I’m so grateful we’re here in Nashville now, and that we have another front row seat — this time to watch you so very in love and planning your tomorrows as Kyle’s wife and best friend. I can’t imagine what Dad will feel that day when he walks you down the aisle. Or how the years will swirl together in moments as I take on the role of Mother of the Bride — the most beautiful bride ever. In some ways I guess this means our time raising you is finished. The ride is over far too quickly. But I’m grateful that this is not an ending, but the most glorious beginning. We look forward to sharing it with you. We will be here for you and Kyle, praying for you, believing in you, and supporting you however we best can. With Kyle’s ministry of music and yours in acting … there are no limits to how God will use you both. I rejoice in what He is doing in your life, Kelsey. He has used your years of struggle to make you into the deeply rooted, faithful girl you are today. Keep trusting God … keep putting Him first. I always knew this season would come — and now it is here. Enjoy every minute, sweetheart. So glad that in this season we’re close, best friends like you’ve always said. You will always be the light of our family, the laughter in our hearts … the one-in-a-million girl who inspired an entire series. My precious Kelsey, I pray that God will bless you mightily in the years to come, and that you will always know how He used this time in your life to draw you close to Him, and to prepare you for what’s ahead. In the meantime, you’ll be in my heart every moment. I love you, sweetheart.
To Tyler, my lasting song …
Some of my favorite moments since you left for Liberty University are when we gather around the kitchen computer and talk to you on Skype. I love that in those times you slip into your funny self, making us laugh until we cry, and pretending to be
every cutup character that comes to your mind. But while you can still make us laugh, the serious truth is you are growing into an amazing godly young man. Your blog, “Ty’s Take,” is being followed by all my readers who long to know how God is working in your life while you’re at college. What’s incredible is how you have become such a great writer in the process. I know you’re planning to make a ministry-related career out of singing for Jesus on stages sea to sea. But don’t be surprised if God puts you at a keyboard where you’ll write books for Him too. Oh, and let’s not forget your gift of directing. So many exciting times ahead, Ty. I can barely take it all in. I still believe with all my heart that God has you right where He wants you. Learning so much — about performing for Him and becoming the man He wants you to be. You are that rare guy with a most beautiful heart for God and others. Your dad and I are so proud of you, Ty. We’re proud of your talent and your compassion for people and your place in our family. And we’re proud you earned a scholarship to Liberty University. However your dreams unfold, we’ll be in the front row cheering loudest as we watch them happen. Hold on to Jesus, son. I love you.
To Sean, my happy sunshine …
It’s spring and for the first time you get a whole off-season just to focus on basketball! That’s a wonderful thing, but even more wonderful is the way you’ve improved as a student, Sean. You are growing up and listening to God’s lead, and in the process you are taking your studies and your homework so much more seriously. God will bless you for how you’re being faithful in the little things. He has such great plans for you, despite the fact that the move to Nashville wasn’t altogether easy on you. We all left great friends behind in Washington, and you maybe more than the others. But you are open to communicating about your feelings,
and you believe us that the opportunities here are worth pursuing. You’ve always had the best attitude, and now — even when there are hard days — you’ve kept that great attitude. Be joyful, God tells us. And so in our family you give us a little better picture of how that looks. On top of that, I love how you’ve gotten more comfortable talking with me and Dad and Kelsey about your life. Stay that close to us, Sean. Remember, home is where your heart is always safe. Your dream of playing college sports — in soccer or basketball — is alive and real. Keep working … keep pushing … keep believing. Go to bed every night knowing you did all you could to prepare yourself for the doors God will open in the days ahead. I pray that as you soar for the Lord, He will allow you to be a very bright light indeed. You’re a precious gift, son. I love you … keep smiling and keep seeking God’s best.
To Josh, my tenderhearted perfectionist …
Soccer was where you started when you first came home from Haiti, and soccer is the game that God seems to be opening up for you — both when we were in Washington and here in Nashville. We prayed about what was next, whether you might continue to shine on the football field and the soccer field, or whether God might narrow your options to show you where He is leading. You still shine on the football field, no question. But in a number of ways God seems to be showing you that more through soccer you can be a very bright light for Him. Now we all need to pray that as you continue to follow the Lord in your sports options, He will continue to lead you so that your steps are in keeping with His. This we know — there remains for you a very real possibility that you’ll play competitive sports at the next level. But even with all your athleticism, I’m most proud of your growth this past year. You’ve grown in heart, maturity, kindness, quiet strength, and the realization that time at home is short. God is going to use you for
great things, and I believe He’ll put you on a public platform to do it. Stay strong in Him, listen to His quiet whispers so you’ll know which direction to turn. I’m so proud of you, son … I’ll forever be cheering on the sidelines. Keep God first in your life. I love you always.
To EJ, my chosen one …
EJ, I wish you could know just how much we love you and how deeply we believe in the great plans God has for you. With new opportunities spread out before you, I know you are a bit uncertain. But I see glimpses of determination and effort that tell me with Christ you can do anything, son. One day not too far off from here, you’ll be applying to colleges, thinking about the career choices ahead of you, the path God might be leading you down. Wherever that path takes you, keep your eyes on Jesus and you’ll always be as full of possibility as you are today. I expect great things from you, EJ, and I know the Lord expects that too. I’m so glad you’re a part of our family … always and forever. I’m praying you’ll have a strong passion to use your gifts for God as you finish your sophomore year. Thanks for your giving heart, EJ. I love you more than you know.
To Austin, my miracle boy …
Austin, I can only say I’m blown away by your effort this past school year. Leaving Washington and all your friends was not easy — especially for you, since you were our most social student at King’s Way Christian. But rather than grumble and complain or waste time looking back, you simply dove in. From the first day you stepped on the football field, you have given one-hundred percent of your special heart to everything related to your new school. Of course in the process you’ve made friends and memories because you were willing to pour into this new experience.
All of you boys have handled the move so well, but I see you seriously embracing it. Along the way you are becoming such a godly leader, determined to succeed for Him, standing taller — and not just because you’ve grown several inches lately. Only God would’ve moved us next door to a family with an indoor gym and a willing heart to let you shoot around every day. Amazing, how faithful our God always is! Austin, I love that you care enough to be and do your best. It shows in your straight As and it shows in the way you treat your classmates. Of course it absolutely shows when you play any sport. Always remember what I’ve told you about that determination. Let it push you to be better, but never, ever let it discourage you. You’re so good at life, Austin. Keep the passion and keep that beautiful faith of yours. Every single one of your dreams are within reach. Keep your eyes on Him … and we’ll keep our eyes on you … our youngest son. There is nothing more sweet than cheering you boys on — and for you that happened from the time you were born, through your heart surgery until now. I thank God for you, for the miracle of your life. I love you, Austin.
And to God Almighty, the Author of Life, who has — for now — blessed me with these.