Here I sit again, thoughts racing madly through my head about my Treasure #2, Son #1, Justin.
He has only just "left the nest", and I am missing him immensely. He is my quiet, non-talker child. He has always kept his thoughts to himself, and any conversation I had with him, usually just replied "Yes-maam" numerous times. Very rarely did Justin talk back or get disrespectful with his mom. He has always pursued and modeled respect to any adult, whether an acquaintance or a stranger.
At the tender age of 5, he accepted Christ as his Savior. His heart was challenged in a chapel meeting at the Christian school he was attending, and afterwards he talked with one of the adults and gave his life to Jesus. Katie and he came home and told me all about it. Mama once again was thrilled for another child safe under the wings of our Lord! :-)
He is a cut-up and a joker. He likes to make other people laugh, and MANY a night I would hear my 4 kids' voices in the den, especially in the last 6 months leading up to Justin's departure. These four siblings are quite close. Maybe it is because they were homeschooled, or maybe it is just because they love one another and try to get along. Justin is another generous giver. He liked to come home with special treats and foods from BJ's to share with the others. He often would buy himself food and then some from McDonald's or Wendy's or Taco Bell, and come home to offer to whoever was hungry. He especially liked to come home with Protein bars and let Jonny have his pick.
The kids are always conversing, laughing, impersonating characters from movies, and watching the latest DVD together late at night that Katie has purchased or ordered. Justin's voice was usually the most prominent. :-) I know now that this was a good thing... sigh...as he was going to have to be "sounding off" in his loudest voice to a Drill Instructor every day in every way.
He loves football and played his junior and senior years for the Carolina Pride football team. His dad and brothers (especially) loved to go and watch the games, especially dad since he played football in high school. The men in this family always talked "sports".
Kurt loves this firstborn son. He admires his discipline and ability to show respect no matter what. He draws inspiration for his days from Justin's current challenges at boot camp. When Kurt had to just recently work an 80+ hour week, he said if Justin could do what he faces every day, he most certainly could endure a long work week.
He cried at Justin's graduation. (He's such a softie.) :-)
When Justin worked at BJ's Club for the past year, he did everything from stocking, re-shelving, recovery, and shopping cart detail to clean up. Before he took off for Parris Island, he was presented with the "Employee of the Year" award by the managers. It is an honor there among the workers to receive the title. Justin's Granny wrote when she heard, and said that he took what could have been viewed as a "ho-hum" job, and made it more. He did not think he had done anything to deserve the recognition, as he was just doing what he felt he should do with anything in life.
Justin always has been my "biggest" eater. We claimed that he had a hollow leg which is why he could put so much food away! Yet he never was out of shape or overweight.
Needless to say, there are more leftovers around now than there used to be when Son #1 was feeding his appetite!
Between 2 and 3 years ago, Justin started mentioning that he was interested in joining the Marines. I hoped this would just "go away"... But as time passed, I could tell his heart was not changing, and rather than God changing him, God changed his mama's heart. Through many conversations with Justin, I became convinced that this was God's calling for Justin. He felt this pull in his heart, and he was drawn to the lifestyle and discipline of a soldier's creed and commitment to stand for what is right. What could I say???? We had named him "Justin", which means One who defends or fights for Justice. Even over a year ago, I noticed he even looked like a soldier the way he walked, the way he stood, the way he held himself, (his shaved head, even) *photo below has Grandmama and Granddaddy Shaw*
We are proud of Justin, and love him fiercely. We know that he is doing what God has called him to do. We know that he will do well because of his mindset and his life views. We know that he will have faced his greatest fears, and reached his highest goal when he gets that little pin showing he has earned the right to be called a Marine. And we can't WAIT!!
Below is a photo of the last time we saw him. Two weeks after he enlisted, he came down with pneumonia, and we got permission to go down to the Naval Hospital in Beaufort, SC to be with him for a few days to just encourage him and give him all of our love. He is healed!, and now in a new platoon starting the journey once again. ;-)
He is our Treasure #2. He has deeply motivated us more than he will ever know to attack the areas of our own lives where we show lack of discipline. We want to emulate our son and strive to be stronger and more committed to the higher callings in life, and most of all to the callings of our God. Justin is another cherished gift from God to teach us....his mom and dad, that children are given to families in this world to be God's greatest instruments in the journey of sanctification. Out of the mouths of our kids...we grow and we learn and we receive great joy. Godspeed his journey on Parris Island. Graduation Date: May 22 or BUST! :-)