Babies have been on my brain lately, but not in the typical way for women my age. I’m not at the mercy of my “ticking, biological clock,” at least not quite yet. I’m not oohing and ahhing over every tiny pink and blue article of clothing, picking out crib-liners and chewing on names (though I must admit I seem to have an uncanny attraction to teeny, tiny footwear). What I have been feeling, however, is the weight of responsibility that will one day come with being a parent.
It is one of life’s greatest marvels to me that God Almighty would choose to trust me, trust all parents, with the little ones He loves so much. How much does He love them? Well, for starters, He takes the time to form each one together uniquely in the womb and knows all the details of their lives before they ever take a breath (see Psalm 139). We also see in scripture that in His heart of hearts, He is willing to take extreme (even violent) measures to protect them (see Mark 9:42).
You see, one day it struck me: I’ll not just be responsible for diaper changes, feedings and making sure this child gets through his school years un-maimed; I’ll be responsible for representing the ultimate Parent, the Father, to him.
My behaviors, my choices and my values will shape a world around this little one, and begin to explain the nature of the universe, and all that it is in it. It will be my responsibility to train and to discipline, to raise him up in the way he should go, so that when he gets old, he will not depart from it. It will be my responsibility to show him how to be kind, generous, loving, faithful, loyal and hopefully, show him the reality of our Living God in a way that will point him to Jesus, not myself.
That’s quite the responsibility!
And at the same time, I am humbly aware of the fact that I will have no control, whatsoever.
I will not be able to dictate whether he will be born healthy, if he will like me, or if he will like himself. I won’t be able to control how he understands or responds to the other influences in his life. Though I will be able to train my child to be obedient, to have good attitudes, good behaviors and good choices, ultimately, I cannot control these things in his life, and I certainly will not be able to control the heart behind his choices. I will not be able to choose Christ for him. I will not be able to make him even want God in his life. Talk about weighty!
And yet, this dynamic is freeing.
You see, as I decrease, Christ will increase (John 3:30) and in my weakness, His strength will show itself strong (2 Cor 12:9). There is sufficient grace to be obedient to the call of a parent and to be successful. If I can get out of my own way, and let go of the things I can’t control, I’ll have everything I need to be the parent my child needs on earth. That is all God asks of us. God does not demand our version of perfection from us; He simply asks for our obedience. And our trust.
If I can remember who my Daddy is, if I can let Him do His job, I’ll be more than able to do my job. I suppose that’s really all we can do. Daddy will take care of the rest.