Wednesday, April 28, 2010

What I Needed to Tell Myself

It's about 10 p.m. Friday night and I've sat down on the couch to write a short devotional to the newest parents-to-be in our extended family.  I've been in the car with young children for about 3 hours earlier in the day.  Need to get us all up and out the door by 8 a.m. the next morning.  Still have clothes to iron.  My man and I are in the grumps.  What can I possibly say to encourage this couple when I'm so frazzled?

I have a verse, John 15:5-- the vine and the branch.  Since I'm running on empty, it certainly applies.  Suffice to say, it was exactly what I needed to hear.  And how I want to be.

Becoming a Parent
John 15:5
I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

This verse came to mind immediately as I thought about what to say to encourage you as new parents.

Conceiving, carrying, and delivering a baby is an awesome wonder. Holding that new baby for the first time, reaching the finish line of your pregnancy, becoming a family unit—your life changes in a moment. In some ways, loving your baby is effortless.

It’s the day to day that is not. Some days are hard. You’re not sure if the baby is hungry, sleepy, or uncomfortable, and the crying stabs at your heart and strips your nerve endings. Other times it’s the chaos of home life: mountains of dirty bottles and clothes. The frustration of a drastically altered body. And all the time, you could do with a little nap.

This is why God instructs us to abide in Him. He wants to redeem every thing in our lives, most especially our relationships. Outside of relationship with Himself and our spouse, relationship with our child is of utmost importance. If we go too far one way, we can make our child our God. If we go another way, we can make our child our peer and lose their respect. We can fall into passivity, apathy, or overindulgence—sometimes all in the same day.

In Jesus’ hands, the circumstances of our lives are safe. All he asks us to do is stick with Him and not give up. Though it is easy to get discouraged by the exhaustion of caring for a young child while trying to provide for a family and nurture a marriage, God does not want us to live in survival mode. He came to bring us life to the full, bearing much fruit. I say this as much for you as for myself. I often find myself in survival mode when I know there is so much more that He offers.

My charge to you is to take advantage of any spare moment, whether it’s a sleepless night due to trips to the bathroom at regular intervals, or your 5 a.m. feeding. Those are the moments that God is wooing you to remain in Him. You will find Him there. And when you find Him, lavish His love all over that sweet baby you carry. You’ll fall in love all over again with both of them.

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