A Letter To My First-Born Son

Taylor Leal

Taylor Leal

Never would I have predicted all of the ways you were going to deepen my faith in just three short years. We have been through a lot together, you and me.

Before I became your mom, so many people prepared me for the resilience you would have, the strength you would teach me, and the patience I would grow to understand.

But really, no one truly prepared me for the journey of being a parent. Sure, there are books. Yes, there are podcasts. Of course, I endured the unsolicited advice from a relative that I filed away in my mind as “never in a thousand years will I do that.” Still, nothing prepared me for the day that you entered the world.

I remember June 10, 2017 so well. It was a Sunday morning in Traverse City, a smooth delivery, and we welcomed you, Jaxon Joseph, into the world. In that moment, our world was forever changed. We were on the parenting path. New, but full of energy.

Jax, you have been through a lot in three years. When you were three months old, we learned that you had a hemangioma on your lip. The doctors sent us to the oncology and hematology floor at children’s hospital, and I’ve never prayed so much in my life. I’ve walked with Jesus years before I met you, but what the three of us were going through together created an intimacy with Jesus. I have you to thank for that.

Challenging and growing my faith didn’t stop there. From the minute you were born, there were markers to hit. We knew not to bank on what everyone says that you should be doing, but it was hard not to compare you to others.

At 18 months, with lots of wisdom and prayers, we met with specialists to understand if there were concerns with your development. Very early on we learned that you had a Global Developmental Delay and were slow to hit milestones. Slow to roll over, slow to crawl, slow to walk, and not talking.

For months I blamed myself. What did I eat while being pregnant? Did I not do tummy time enough? Do they have 1-year old preschool that I didn’t know about? Fish oil? Why didn’t anyone tell me about those vitamins?

Jaxon, you are 3 years old now. You are a big brother who is still learning the fine line of a hug and crushing your sister. You are full of energy. You have a BIG personality. You are full of love and passion. Your smile and laugh are contagious. You are a trickster. Your character is developing more and more every day. You comprehend so, so much. But even though you are growing and changing every day, I still find myself comparing and wondering why you aren’t hitting your appropriate milestones. Why can’t you talk?

We have seen many doctors, had genetic testing done, an MRI completed, we work weekly with therapists both in the office and in our home. We have taken every meeting with any doctor that could maybe shed some light on what is happening. And every twist and turn has brought us the very real fear that you, buddy, may never speak words. We know that is a real possibility.

I long for the day to hear you say, “I love you.” But I also know there is a chance I may never hear it. I hold onto hope that Jesus is still writing your story and this chapter we are in isn’t over just yet.

The writer Jeremiah pens the words in Jeremiah 1:5, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.”

I read that and I am reminded, God, the creator of the world, knew this path before I even took a step on it. He formed you, Jaxon. He knows you. He knows your thoughts, He sees your smile…He made those things. He is proud of who you are. And even on the hard days….the days of comparison. The days of jealousy. The days I am just too exhausted to teach and help you, I hold tightly the words of Jeremiah. That you were set apart to do something great. On the days where this path we are walking in seems winding and scary, I have to believe that the One who created the path is walking with our family.

I love you Jaxon Jo,

Your Mama

Share this post

19 Shares
You Might Like...
narcissm
Chris Zarbaugh

Do I think about myself too much?

Everyone has that moment where they answer the inevitable question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” To be completely honest, I never really had dreams of making an impact of any

boring
Dave Wilson

Church can be boring.

It’s truly amazing to me that I am a pastor at a church, considering my journey getting here. I grew up being dragged to church by my single mom whether I wanted to go or

Never miss another blog post.
Subscribe to be notified when new posts are published.

pagination_prv_arrow
EnglishPortuguese

Learning Labs

Experience a closer connection with God and His presence in your life while meeting others who are pursing the same.  Explore rhythms and practices that can help us abide in the love, grace and hope of God.

Please email with any questions.

Clarkston

Orion

Birmingham Campus

We are offering a time for our congregation to gather after the 10am service for prayer in the Groves Auditorium, 20500 W 13 Mile Rd, Beverly Hills, MI 48025.

On Sunday evening, Dec 5, parents of high school and middle school students are invited to the second half of our Edge gathering at Genesis Church, 309 N Main St, Royal Oak, MI 48067, at 6:15pm. We will have a breakout to equip parents in caring for themselves and processing pain with their children in times of tragedy.

Parents & Student Resources

Parents – self care is critical. It’s important to do your own processing with another adult so that you can be more present as your child processes. Here are tools that you can use to get you started.

Podcast

Helpful Blogs

Other Materials

Counselors Are Needed After Tragedy

“The aftermath of the Oxford shooting tragedy will undoubtedly result in traumatic symptoms and experiences across our communities for quite some time. Healing the brain through evidence-based therapies is absolutely possible with clinical guidance. There is a valuable village of Trauma Therapists with collective resources standing by for Oxford, for both direct and secondary survivors to engage in therapy. Until then, we honorably hold a sacred space, as students, families, staff and school partners continue to mourn.” -Laura Azoni, LMSW, Founder of Sanctuary Services

Orion Campus

We believe that unity at this time is more important than ever. Several churches in the area are partnering together to offer space for students to begin the process of healing.

We will have several grief and trauma specialists on site this Sunday evening at our Orion Campus (4640 S Lapeer Rd Lake Orion, MI 48359) from 5-6:30pm and will have a night of prayer, worship and an opportunity for students to process with each other.

Tate Myre Funeral:
Monday, 12.6 Visitation 1 to 8pm
Tuesday, 12.7 Visitation 10-12pm and funeral at Noon

Clinton Township Campus

We will be offering a time for our congregation to gather after each service for a time of corporate prayer in the Greatroom. Prayer will be offered at 10:15 am and 12:15 pm. (25000 Hall Rd, Charter Twp of Clinton, MI 48036)

This Sunday at 3:30 pm as a community we want to gather, pray and mourn together. We are all looking for answers and wondering why tragedy happens but we can find hope and peace in Jesus. 

Troy Campus

Join us Sunday night, December 5th for a Community Prayer Vigil at Kensington Church at 6:00 pm. Invite friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers to come together for a time of hope and prayer. 

Following the Vigil, at 7:00 pm, there will be breakouts for students and for parents to process and be equipped in caring for themselves and those around in times of tragedy.

Marriage Classes

What grows marriages? Focusing on the two of you and being in community!
The Marriage Course includes seven sessions, designed to help couples invest in their relationship and build a strong marriage. Some couples do the course to intentionally invest in their relationship, others are looking to address more specific challenges. Either way, the course offers essential tools and practical ideas to help you build a relationship that lasts a lifetime. The Marriage Course is based on Christian principles but designed for all couples with or without a church background.

Please email with any questions.

Financial Peace University (FPU)

Financial Peace University (FPU) is a catalyst to help people live in financial freedom and enable them to have a posture of openhandedness. We have witnessed numerous Kensington families experience life change as a result of applying Biblical truths to their personal finances. The real blessing is seeing people create lives of margin that allow them to hear and respond to the Lord’s calling on their lives.

Please email with any questions.

Bible Basics

Whether you are brand new to the Bible or have been reading it for decades, Bible Basics is a course that will help you understand the overall flow of the Bible. Over the course of several weeks, learn how the Bible came from the original writers to the English versions we have today. We’ll look at the big-picture story of the Bible and how all the individual books add to the whole. We’ll even learn a little about the history of the Jewish nation. But most of all, we’ll grow in our awe of the amazing author of this amazing book!

Please email  with any questions.

Birmingham

Clinton Township

Orion

Troy

Alpha

What is my purpose? What value does the Bible have in my life? How do I pray? How can I grow in confidence to share my faith? These are the big questions that are at the heart of what it means to have a relationship with God. Alpha is a space to explore life’s big questions, to say what you think and to hear other people’s points of view. Over ten-weeks you will explore and discover while listening to weekly topics, participating in table discussion, and developing community. Alpha courses meeting in-person gather around a meal.

You don’t have to come for the whole series—just check it out for the first session and see what you think. No pressure.

Please email with any questions.

Troy

easter Tickets

No tickets needed for Good Friday

GROUP LEADER DEVELOPMENT

Together Again

updated June 23, 2021

It’s been life-giving to be in-person for our weekend services since last July when we reopened. If you haven’t yet, we invite you to join us in person sometime soon.

Reservations and ticketing have been discontinued at all our campuses.

Masks are optional at all services, events, and ministry gatherings for kids, students, and adults. We know that everyone needs to make the right health decisions for themselves and their family, so if you feel comfortable removing your mask, you may. And if you’d like to continue wearing a mask or face covering, you may do that as well. This is a personal choice that only you can decide what is best for yourself when attending in person at Kensington.

If you are sick, are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, or have possibly been exposed to COVID-19, please plan to stay home and participate in our services via our many online streaming options.

At the start of the pandemic, Kensington’s Executive Team commissioned a group of staff members as a COVID Task Force to establish protocols and procedures for the safety of our church community. Thanks for sticking with us throughout all the changes and adjustments over the past 15 months.

We’re grateful to be together again!