My wife and I discovered that we were pregnant in August of last year. The initial shock transformed into happiness and gratitude that we were blessed with a child. I still remember holding my wife as she wept tears of joy. These past few months have been jam-packed with preparation. We have been reading books and listening to various podcasts regarding birth and child rearing. Our schedule is filled with various appointments to doctors and midwives. We are even taking a class on birthing.
I am going through a book entitled, Parenting, by Paul David Tripp with my wife. The book is meant to be a reference guide for parents in any stage of life, reminding them what biblical parenthood looks like in the Bible. Frankly, it is quite daunting. The first few chapters point out the fact that our children really belong to the Lord. As much as we would like to claim ownership, we cannot. This does not absolve us of the immense responsibility to be good stewards of our children and to be ambassadors of Christ to them.
Being a steward is simply being entrusted with the responsibility to manage and care for something that is not your own. I know that is a strange concept in this day and age where personal autonomy and full ownership to your body, your stuff, and your life are deemed most important. Scripture pierces right through that veil, showing us that God not only created the universe, but holds it up by his power (Hebrews 1:3). Our very existence depends on the power of the Creator. We have no control over the basic aspects of life, such as our atoms being held together, let alone what happens to us on a day-to-day basis. Every breath is literally a gift from God. That leads to being ambassadors of Christ to our kids. We can model Christ and teach them the Truth of God’s Word as best we can, but we cannot change them. Paul Tripp pointedly reminds us that in the same way we ourselves need grace and the Spirit’s work in our heart to be saved and changed, so do our kids. At first glance that may worry people because so often we link our success as parents to the performance of our children. (Not that I have direct experience with this) But as Scripture reminds us, our aim is to not produce children that look good on the outside, but ones that love and follow Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:18-20).
As a fledgling parent, this feels like drinking out of a firehouse both emotionally and intellectually. Even so, I am drawn back into comfort knowing that my God, the Creator of the world and the only being that can change hearts, is in control and can use me as a tool to influence my child’s heart for his glory. My wife and I are on the ground floor of this journey. It will be a difficult one and we have so much to learn, but it is worth embarking on. So, here is to sleepless nights and dirty diapers.