Isaiah 43:1-3, 7, 10-13

But now, this is what the LORD says— he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior... Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth—everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.... “You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me. I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior. I have revealed and saved and proclaimed—I, and not some foreign god among you. You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “that I am God. Yes, and from ancient days I am he. No one can deliver out of my hand. When I act, who can reverse it?”
Isaiah 43:1-3, 7, 10-13

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

In Honor of Mother's and Father's Day

I started this post back in the beginning of May, and never had a chance to finish it.  I have been wishing for time to sit down and put down on paper - or should I say screen? - what it is that these unique beings have taught me.  Time: an impossible wish.  And yet it seems so important.  So with Father's Day coming up, I figured I'd bring it out and brush it up and publish it in honor of 7 years of being parent.  7 years.  Seems like a lifetime, and a heartbeat at the same time.  What is it that God has taught me most in this journey of being a parent?

Self-sacrifice - I did not know until I had children what it was to give myself up completely to the need of another person.  To wake, to feed, to play with, to rock, to change and bathe and clothe at every moment of every day - not to mention doing laundry, picking up toys, washing dishes. How is it possible to do so much for one tiny person, and instead of being overwhelmed with need, to be overwhelmed with love instead.  I think this reveals a small inkling of how much God loves us.  He cares for us in every moment, and yet is not overwhelmed by our need, but rather loves us fiercely.

To love fiercely - Falling in love with someone and committing your life to them teaches you a fierce love - a love that considers what is best for that person, a love that surpasses their faults and mistakes, a love that endures through the joys and sorrows of life.  Rearing a child teaches you to love fiercely as well - to love through the moments that are great frustration, to love them for their unique personality and gifts, to long for the best for their life, to agonize with them in their pain, and rejoice in their accomplishments, to long to protect them and guide them.

The myth of infallibility - Being a parent has taught me above all that I am not capable.  I cannot do this journey alone, dependent on my own strength.  I will fail every time.  I remember when we were deciding on a name for our 3rd little girl, I wanted Faith for her middle name, because I knew there was no way I could continue the path on my own.  There is Hope as well, because the Spirit of God leads me beyond my weaknesses.

The Spirit of God leads me beyond my weaknesses - When I have thought I have not the strength to go on... when I feel that my patience is completely depleted... when there are those days of little sleep, cranky kids, sickness, struggles, transition, travel... God leads me beyond myself.  He has never abandoned me.  I remember when I felt I was at the end of myself, I emailed a dear friend and mentor and she wrote to me and encouraged me and shared with me the following verse:

He tends his flock like a shepherd: 
    He gathers the lambs in his arms 
and carries them close to his heart; 
    he gently leads those that have young. Isaiah 40:11

Gently leads those that have young.  He gently leads us because he understands.  He shows the way because he knows we cannot make this journey without a shepherd to gather us in his arms and carry us close to his heart.

To enjoy life - One only has to watch a child carefully to truly understand what it means to enjoy life - the joy that comes with the fascination of discovery  The joy that comes from the simple things in life: a hug from a parent, bubble blowing, a tickled tummy, swinging, a shared giggle, playing in water.  The joy that comes from reading.  The joy that comes from singing.  Joy in the beauty of nature.  The joy that comes from spending time together.

So many lessons learned.  These 5 are just the ones I thought of first.  I could continue writing all night.  Boiled down to one main lesson though is how much our Father loves us.

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears,[a] we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.  1 John 3:1-2