God knew exactly what I needed when he sent you to me 18 years ago. He knew my heart, my desires, and my dreams. He knew that I desperately wanted to be sober, loved, and feel a purpose. I believe that’s part of why he sent you to me. Sometimes I feel selfish because I know that your life is so much more than what it’s done for me. But I can’t deny how powerful your presence has been for me. Before you came, I had forgotten who I was. I had allowed myself to listen to the voices of the world and the lies of the adversary. Before you came, I was searching for love and happiness in all the wrong places. Before you came, I numbed the pain and tried to run from reality. But lucky for me, God met me where I was and offered me the greatest gift. He sent a beautiful, red-haired little boy for me to love and cherish. And although the circumstances of my life at the time were not ideal, he knew my heart and saw my potential. You were the life line that I needed to muster up the strength to be the person I already was but had totally forgotten about. There’s a phrase, “That which you won’t do for yourself, you will do for others.” You were the beginning of the “others.” And once I started to believe I could do it for you, the rest followed. Step by step, I walked back into the light and out of the darkness. It was the hardest time of my life and the best time of my life. I thought terrible things about myself. I was ashamed of who I had become. I was single, pregnant, and barely making ends meet. I thought you deserved better. But none of that mattered to God. His eyes saw me differently. He didn’t care what I had accomplished or not accomplished. He saw me for who I am and what I could become. A daughter of His that desperately wanted to follow Him but was struggling to do so. So, he did what He does best. He rescued me through your life. Little by little I started to trust Him. And as I did, I began to see just how much He loved me. The road was long and hard. There were days when I wanted to quit and run away. But He continued to love me and allowed me to fumble. I used to think I had done it all wrong. But nothing could be further from the truth. It went exactly the way it was supposed to. I could write an entire book about the past 18 years but I’ll sum it up in one word, LOVE. Your life has shown me what love is all about. A love I never knew I was capable of. A love I never deserved yet was given anyway. A love that is available to all of us if we will just turn to Him. I will spend the rest of my days trying to show you and your siblings a fraction of the love that has been shown to me by Him. Happy 18th Birthday, Jared.