On the day Abby Kate was born, I was giddy and could not wait to see her sweet face. For 9 months I had imagined what she looked like, and as all parents feel, I think, she far surpassed what I could have asked or imagined. Funny enough, the first thing I noticed on my perfect daughter was not her beautiful face, her dimple, her dark hair and skin, but it was her hands....and they took my breath away. No, she did not have 6 fingers or strangely large or small hands, but she had MY hands. Every detail of her hands reflected mine. Her fingers were long and lean. She had wrinkles that resembled mine, even her tiny fingernails were shaped like mine.
I have thought back on this so many times. I had no idea my baby would be the spitting image of my handsome husband. Even my sweet Nannie stared in her precious face and asked, "where is my baby in you?" (me being the referenced baby :) However, her hands were exclusively mine. And now, every time she laces her slender fingers through mine, I get a little teary. I remember God knitted her together with part Bobby and part me. How creative. How intimate. How beautiful.
But you know, as egocentric as we are...hoping to see a glimpse of ourselves in the tiny life we birth, I have realized how powerful that is....that God uses two parts of a person to make another whole person. And not only is that powerful, it is humbling. So humbling. Watching another walk around with traits of your own is a bit surreal. And it becomes even more harrowing when your personality traits, your habits, your faults become evident. That is why, I believe, parenting is the single hardest thing I have attempted. It is why I am daily crying out for God's to parent her through me, to help me get past myself to point her to a perfect Father who will change her life. Who will bring freedom. Hope. Beauty. Purpose.
There is not a day that I do not ask God, myself, and others who will listen....HOW exactly do I do that? Our pastor is doing an incredible series right now on parenting that has been incredible and impacting. You can listen to the series here.
But a few things that he has taught that has strongly convicted me and touched my heart. One being that we need to study our children. God is a perfect Craftsman. No two people are alike. So we are encouraged to study our children and know how God made them. How they are best loved. What gifts God has given them. How they are made uniquely to contribute to the world and what God wants to do with them in the world. And two, every day my ability to point Abby Kate to Christ comes from an overflow of my own relationship with Him. We cannot give our children something we don't have ourselves. If I do not know the Word, the moral reasons why I say "no" or why I teach certain character traits, then I cannot teach Abby Kate. I cannot merely hope that Abby Kate will see me attending church and acting a certain way on Sundays. She has to see my faith as my life. Every day, every second, every action, every word. It feels like such an overwhelming task. Impossible really. And it is. It truly is when I am walking in my flesh, feeding it the things it wants, like gossip and greed and lies and materialism and selfishness and pride and laziness. But I have found, when I arise before my household, cry out to my Father for help, for guidance, for wisdom, for His will to be done, my day suddenly becomes more intentional. And I am reminded that motherhood is God's greatest call on my life. That raising my children to live a life about knowing Him and making Him known matters above all else. I truly believe motherhood coupled with marriage is God's ultimate training ground. He expands your heart to learn new truths about Him through the joys and hardships of both. To strip you of selfishness, to broaden your understanding of unconditional love, to learn faithfulness and patience, to experience the power of redemption.
So this weekend, I am so profoundly grateful. For my child who I get to love on daily. For this child who I feel kicking and moving around inside of me. For the child/children I pray I may bear in the future and/or for the child/children we may adopt one day. For it is through them that my understanding of the love of my Father has been deepened and heightened and widened. And really, is there any more precious a gift He could give me with exception of His own Son? And by allowing me to become a mother, showing me His own love for me through that act? So, thank you Father for allowing me to experience Mother's Day. Not the holiday in which my children (or husband) runs out to buy me a present. But a yearly reminder of the blessing of being allowed to do what I do. And the daily reminder that I must do better. Not the guilt and shame that You do not author, but the reminder that I desperately need YOU. And the sweet knowledge at the end of the day that I can cry out and ask You to redeem my mistakes. And You will....