My friend, H, is going to have her first baby this week. Isn’t that exciting? She does not know yet how much her life is about to change, the thrill ride she is about to take, the highs and lows she will soon experience.
So, as a conclusion to my Intentional Parenting series, I thought I’d write an open letter to H, just giving her a little something to think about while she waits for her baby to be born.
This week you will receive a gift. A gift like none you’ve ever received. A gift more valuable than the most precious of jewels, more rewarding than the highest of degrees you could attain, more enthralling than your greatest love.
This week God will deliver to you a child. He is entrusting this gift to you and R because he knows you will take your responsibility seriously. He knows you will treat her with care. He knows you will love her deeply—you already do.
But He also knows that you will never love her as much as He does. He knows that, and He still gives us children—isn’t that amazing?
Having been down this road a time or three, I’ve thought long and hard about the adventure you’re about to take. Sure, you’ve been warned about the diapers, the laundry, the sleepless nights, but has anyone told you about those moments when you are so filled with love for your daughter that your heart just hurts? Or when you stare so deeply into your baby’s eyes that you feel like you can see into her soul? Or the worry that will fill you as you look at our fallen world and you wonder what kind of future there could possibly be for her?
H, you are in for a ride like none other.
So here’s my advice as you embark on this journey: be intentional. Every day, have a plan and seek to carry it out. Now, I know that sounds completely overwhelming, but it’s not. I can break it down into two simple steps—Intentional Love and Intentional Trust.
Intentional Love. You already love this little girl—everyone who knows you knows that. But there will be days, trust me, when she won’t be loveable. There will be days when you’ll want to put your comfort above hers—a little more sleep, a little more time, a little more . . .
But parenthood is never for us or about us. It’s about loving these gifts that God entrusts to us by putting their needs above our own. And by needs, I don’t mean the “stuff” of this world. What our kids need is discipline, responsibility, a sense of right and wrong. Jesus. Teaching these things takes time and energy, and you never, ever stop.
That is love.
Intentional Trust. It’s a funny thing, parenthood. God entrusts these children to us, knowing full well that we cannot do it on our own. He knows we are not equipped to do this job the way He intends, and yet He gives them to us anyway. Thankfully, He gives us His word and prayer—two mighty defenses that we need in order to conquer our daily battles.
And in return, we must give God our trust. I’ve written and spoken on this topic quite a bit, you know, but I believe with all my heart that God does not want us to live in fear. Yes, this world is scary. Yes, having kids in this world is scary. Yes, there is so much that could go wrong. And yet, God tells us, “Do not fear.”
One of my favorite verses is Joshua 1:9: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
As you step out into the battlefield, fighting for this child every day—praying for her, defending her, loving her—trust in the One who gave her to you to walk beside you wherever you go. He has promised to do this, and you can trust Him.
So, do not fear, H. God is with you.
And you, and R, and your daughter are loved.