Friday, May 16, 2014

Knowing God

Tonight I attended Philip’s Stockade Achievement Ceremony at our church.  I am so proud of Philip.  Just a couple years ago, I would have never imagined Philip would be standing next to his peers at church receiving badges and the Sentinel pin for his achievements in memorizing scripture verses, Bible study, and good citizenship.  The thought of even bringing him to a meeting back then seemed an impossibility.  But here he was participating in the ceremony like everyone else, and even honored as one of the top Stockaders of the year.  As Ranger Daryl called the boys up for their badges, he gave special mention to Philip as having a heart and knowledge for God’s word.  As we finished the ceremony with refreshments, Philip spelled for his teachers Ranger Bob and Ranger Tim, “I am happy to have had you as my teachers.”  They in turn told Philip how much he has taught them.  These Stockade leaders have truly enriched Philip’s life by accepting him as he is, recognizing his contributions, and teaching him every week about the character of God in the Bible.  

As I look on my church family both in Miami and Buffalo, I see what a blessing it has been in bringing up Philip to know God.  Just recently, Philip has been writing about some of his early memories.  We lived in Miami when Philip was between 15 months and 6 years old.  We attended a small neighborhood church First Presbyterian of Miami Springs where we knew everyone and everyone looked after one another.  Every Wednesday night we had dinner and Bible study at church.  Between dinner and study we sang praise songs together from a video with lyrics displayed on a big screen.  The kids, including Philip, would often dance freely or sway to the music as we sang.  I never knew the impact of these moments on my son who could not communicate yet.  Philip recently recalled, “I could not speak my thoughts.  I understood everything going on around me.  I loved to learn songs.  At my church they played videos of worship songs.  I used to match the words on the screen with the words sang.  I learned to read.  I understood God from these songs.”

Philip has continued to learn of God at our church in Buffalo, Randall Baptist.  About Stockade he once wrote, “I like Stockade.  It is a good worker of teaching God’s truths.  Today I went to church and learned about armor of help from God.  I am lucky to believe in Jesus.  No one defeats the devil without Him.  Each day I worship God.  I am tons of rough edges needing God to smoothen me out.  Each day I hope so much to soften up so I can be used by God.”  

I have found that Philip not only can memorize Bible verses, he uses them to guide him, much like Jesus did during his temptation in the wilderness.  In a previous post, The Difficulty of Self-Control, Philip addressed the problems he had in controlling impulses, difficult emotions, and a body that is often in rebellion to his brain.  He wrote, “I am most in control when I take some words and try to get me to follow it.  I understand a lot of verses from the Bible.  They help me touch mountains of depression and tossed wind of seeking out help.  The adamant art of each day is addressing my self-control by praying to God.”  One Sunday before church, a week after he had had a particularly rough week in Children’s Church, I asked him how he will try to avoid the meltdown of the previous week.  He spelled, “I am a new creation.  The old is gone.  The new has come.”  (2 Corinthians 5:17)  A day after having memorized the verse Ephesians 2:8-10 (vs 10 reads For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.), Philip spelled, “ I am tomorrow one day closer to my destiny.  I am happy to have a purpose.”  Another time, inspired by the story of Moses, Philip wrote his pen pal regarding fears, “You should sometimes try so much to face a fear.  Try thinking of God catching your Amens and not letting you fail.”

Today I was so proud of Philip’s achievements in Stockade, but I am even more proud of the man of God he is becoming and the way he teaches me daily about our great God.

*As always, Philip gave approval of all his quotes and the final draft of this post.

 Receiving his badges from Rangers Daryl and Miller

 Top Stockaders

Sentinel pin on Philip's backpack

 Philip and Ranger Bob


  1. Congratulations, Philip! What an achievement!

  2. Thank you for sharing. What an achievement indeed!

  3. Congratulations to Philip indeed! I love that his early memories include learning songs in church! Some of my earliest childhood memories are of singing in church and playing in the front yard of the church as the sun went down on a Sunday evening. It is great that he has very similar memories, and now has the voice to share!