Swords of Blessing

10 years ago, I wrote this post about lettering names on wooden swords. And 10 years later, that’s on my agenda for today, for a whole new batch of 5th grade boys who weren’t even born yet when I wrote this post!

This Father’s Day weekend, my to-do list included personalizing almost three dozen wooden swords. A dear friend has a wonderful boys’ summer camp called “Warrior Week” where men sow love and truth (along with a fair share of messy fun) into the souls of boys. I am privileged to use my calligraphy experience to letter each boy’s name and a prayed-over character trait that is a blessing for each boy concluding his last year of Warrior Week. So I lettered blessings like “Justin the Magnanimous” and “David the Faithful” and “Cooper the Strong,” under which was lettered “Dangerous for Good.”

The camp leaders asked each boy’s father to write a letter affirming his son, in his own handwriting,  and walked them through what to say. Affirmation is a mystery for many dads, who never received it from their own fathers. “You can say whatever encouraging words you’d like to in your letter,” the dads were told, “but we would like for you to at least include these four points:

1.    I love you.
2.    I am pleased with you.
3.    I am for you/in your corner no matter what.
4.    God has a plan for your life.”

Wow. This is powerful stuff! I rejoice in the power of a father’s words of affirmation because I have seen firsthand what a difference it makes in the lives of our sons. For all our gifts and strengths, women cannot imprint masculinity on the souls of boys and men. We can confirm what we see, but we can’t put it there. And a father’s voice, whether spoken or verbal, can have a “weight of glory,” to use C.S. Lewis’ term, that lasts for an eternity.

While I’m thrilled for the boys who will be receiving this amazing blessing, I am also reveling in the truth that my heavenly Father delights to affirm each of us. He says, “I love you, I delight in you, I am for you, and I know the plans I have for your life!”

Even if we don’t get a sword. . . at least we get the letter. It’s bound in a Book. 


Originally posted June 22, 2009. 

Sue Bohlin is a speaker/writer and webmistress for Probe Ministries, a Christian organization that helps people to think biblically. She loves teaching women and laughing, and if those two can be combined, all the better. She also loves speaking for MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) and Stonecroft Ministries (Christian Women's Clubs) on the topic How to Handle the Things You Hate But Can't Change, based on her lifelong experience as a polio survivor. She has a freelance calligraphy business in her home studio; hand lettering was her "Proverbs 31 job" while her children were young. Sue also serves on the board of Living Hope Ministries, a Christ-centered organization that helps people struggling with unwanted homosexuality and the family members of those with same-sex attractions. Sue never met a cruise ship she didn't like, especially now that God has provided a travel scooter for getting around any ship! She is happily married to Dr. Ray Bohlin, writer and speaker on faith and science with Probe Ministries, and they have two grown sons. You can follow Sue on Twitter @suebohlin.

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