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God named him. Really.

It was late in the year 1993. I had just discovered I was pregnant with my youngest son. At the time it was my secret. In my Mary-way I wanted time to play with it in my head. I was a traveling producer for The 700 Club television show. I remember sitting in a hotel room in Oklahoma City. As clearly as I have ever heard God –I heard Him in the quiet of my spirit say “It’s a boy. Name him Christian.” Christ-...follower. Done. I never picked a girl’s name.

On August 16, 1994 Christian Alan Chiero was born. In years to come his sister would playfully twist his name into “Kiffin.” Which was shortened to Kiff. To this day, he is Kiff in my phone, he is Kiff to his friends. But he is still Christian, the boy God named.

To my Kiff, today on your 23rd birthday.

Every year your name matters more and more. Because if God named you, God has a purpose, a calling. It would be reasonable to think, at age 23, that you have choices. And you do. You are blessed with a sound mind, a college education, close friends, siblings and parents who love you. You have a foundation for an enviable future.

In the Indy-car race of life you got a spot on the front row.

But the luxury of choice doesn’t trump the inexorable truth of calling. In the words of Os Guiness “ Nothing works better to debunk the pretensions of choice than a conviction of calling. Once we have been called, we literally “have no choice.”

You might not feel it, my son, you might not know the why’s and how’s and when’s. That’s the thing about faith – if you have a blueprint, it’s not. You may think your life is like a kite – tossed by winds that you don’t control. Or even more foolishly, that you control it. You might think your future is dependent on just that right wind at the right time steering a fortuitous path. Or foolishly, that you can command the wind. Never forget the string. Your name is the string that connects you to the One Who steers that kite. It means that in the buffeting and indecision, in the 'what if’s? and what’s next?' of a young man’s life - choice is simply the oar from the boat in a current God already controls.

I can’t make your choices for you. But I will never stop reminding you that in an Oklahoma City hotel room God introduced you to me. It is my firm conviction that the God Who named you will guide you.

You know I love you. My son of the midnight ride. You know my heart beats with yours; my boy of the tender mercies. You are never far from my mind – my son of shared thoughts.

For Christian Chiero, on his 23rd Birthday, August 16, 2017

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