Gracelyn, today you are Five years old! I want you to know how special you are to me, and what you mean to me. When Lydia and I heard your Mommy (our daughter Tonya) was pregnant with you, she was working for me at Tompkins Paving. It was the fall of 2003, and we were having a disastrous year. Stupidly I had allowed the company to grow too fast and we were doing jobs we had no business doing. Cash flow was horrible. We lost over $600,000 even though we had our best sales year ever-over $7 million in revenue. I owed the IRS $200,000 and the pressure was too much to take. I kept thinking I would have to shut the company down. Every week was a tremendous struggle to meet the payroll for 50 employees. On top of all that, I was also pastoring a small church in Edgerton, and some of the people were being fleshly and causing problems over trivial things.I was beating my head against a wall there as well.
All this time I was constantly going to the Lord, seeking His strength and provision, but my faith was deteriorating badly. I was having so many troubling thoughts-thoughts of running away, giving it all up, even thoughts of suicide. I thought that there was no way for God to turn things around. But every time I was tempted to give up, I would look over at your Mommy and see the growing baby in her stomach. I would think about you and pray to God that I would be able to see your birth and watch your grow into a Godly woman. I prayed that I would have an influence on your life, that I would be able to see a Godly Heritage begin in my grandchildren. I wanted to be able to tell you about a Mighty God, Jehovah Jireh, El Shaddai, who TRULY is able to provide our needs! God began to keep you ever before my heart, and used you to keep my heart open and depending upon His matchless GRACE, the GRACE that kept me having the WILL and the DESIRE to do His goof pleasure!
Although I had no part in your name, I know that God did, for you have become a Living Monument to God’s Grace for my life. It was almost miraculous, but at the time of your birth, God started to do amazing things to turn the business around. Profit and cash flow improved dramatically. God even brought a buyer for the business just 10 months after your birth. The church turned around, problems were solved and people came together. God’s Grace showed once again how powerful He is. He even enabled me to pursue that full-time ministry He had called me to over 34 years before.
So Gracelyn, I pray that someday you will give your heart and life to Jesus Christ. He is God’s only Son, the one He gave to die on the Cross for you and me. Jesus is the Monument of God’s Grace for the whole world. When you give your heart and life to Jesus Christ, you immediately come into the awesome Grace of God, the same Grace that kept my trust in God through all my trials. God has a miraculous purpose for your life, it began when you were but a tiny bump in your mommy’s stomach. God used you then to keep my eyes focused on eternity. I pray that God will continue to use you to turn others to Him!
Gracelyn, you are a constant reminder to me of the Amazing Grace of God in my life. I am praying that you will allow God’s Grace to capture your heart and lead you to LIFE in Jesus Christ. I LOVE YOU! You are a Visible Monument of God’s Grace in my life! Love – “Big D”