I go through so many ups and downs when it comes to keeping a regular writing schedule. Deadlines were my friend in college -- not because they would motivate me to work harder and sooner, but because I was a good enough student that I couldn't miss one. I called myself a "pressure writer," because although I would start a paper as soon as it was assigned, and maybe touch on it here and there as the semester went on, I would -- in true procrastinator form -- invest heavily in the final days before the deadline to get the thing written.
"Because," I'd say, "that's when I do my best writing."
Truth or justification, I ended up graduating Magna Cum Laude with my bachelor's degree in 2012, but I've never fully gotten past that whole procrastination thing.
That's why, when my son missed his due date, I simply said that he, like all good Carlton men, was just taking his good old time.
Tara carried to her 41st week, a full seven days beyond our June 8th due date, and was induced on the 14th due to some sudden high blood pressure. Our son was born on Friday, June 15th at 11:07 in the morning. Ezekiel Joseph ("Zeke") came into the world crying, with good color, weighing 8 lbs, 1 oz, and stretching to 20.5 inches in length. After two recovery days in the hospital, we were able to take him home on Father's Day, Mama and baby boy both healthy and feeling great. Zeke regained (and surpassed) his birth weight by his 10-day checkup, is rapidly becoming a pro at sleeping most of the night, and is what I can only describe as the most chill baby I've ever met. He prefers to sleep in the powerlifting stance, remains unperturbed by Kaylee's incessant barking at the neighbors, and -- unlike his father -- is incredibly punctual about his eating schedule. He'll be three weeks old tomorrow, is already showing signs of smiling and laughing, and I'm trying really, really hard not to be THAT first-time social media dad. Never in my life have I been so quick to pull out my phone to take pictures (#whatishappeningtome?).
I've been asked about the name choice, which we somehow managed to keep a secret from everyone until Zeke was born (though many tried to bully or trick us into revealing ahead of time). Ezekiel means "God will strengthen." Our son's biblical namesake is also called the Watchman of Israel, and while many of his Spirit-inspired words contain harsh, ugly truth, his message of judgment is tempered by the tenderness of God's unfathomable love for his people. We pray that Zeke too will be a truth-teller, a man who won't refuse the messages, instructions, and tasks God sovereignly places on His life.
Joseph means "God will increase." In the Bible, Joseph is a man who experienced intense betrayal at the hands of his family, but also knew the steadfast love of the Lord, who intended good even in the evil Joseph experienced. Tara and I desire for our Ezekiel Joseph to know firsthand God's steadfast love and kindness, and to respond to every circumstance of his life with the knowledge that God is faithful, and has his best interests at heart.
In other words, his names are lessons and reminders.
God will strengthen you, Zeke. Remember that. Contrary to popular belief, He WILL give you more than you can handle -- so that you can learn to trust His strength above your own. The Scriptures resound with God's good, invigorating promises to His children. His Word and power do not fail.
Remember: God will only increase His goodness to you, Zeke. Again, contrary to popular belief, that won't mean you'll experience the rags-to-riches-American-dream kind of increase, or that you will live your "best life" now. But it will mean that God will give you more of Himself, lavishing grace upon grace on your life, and will continually prove Himself to be faithful.
Tara and I waited on the Lord for our first child, and in His good timing, He granted our request. We are so blessed to be parents that we can't stop thanking Him for the gift of little Zeke. To all those who were praying along with us, THANK YOU as well -- your prayers have been effective, and we've undeniably felt them at work.
Suffice it to say that God has both strengthened us and increased His goodness in our lives.
While procrastinating to write for a blog or to sketch out the next chapter in a novel is one thing, procrastinating to begin teaching my son is something else entirely. There truly is no time like the present. Lord willing, I'll start kicking my deadline habit once and for all -- if only to invest in my boy today. And tomorrow. And every day thereafter.