Makaylan is now six months old, and over the last several months people have sought to give my husband and me some "advice" regarding parenting. The advice normally sounds like this: "Enjoy this stage because it all goes downhill from here ... This is when they are sweet, and then they grow up to be a 3-year old, a pre-teen, and a teenager ... I remember when mine were this little and now they are a pain."
Much of the time this "advice" is given right in front of their children and my heart breaks. What this precious child hears is that they were once valued, but now they are an inconvenience.
We live in a world where we despise being inconvenienced. We eat fast food. We drive fast cars. We talk on fast cell phones. And we live in the fast lane. We even DVR our TV shows to watch at a more convenient time. As stated in a recent New Your Post article, more and more women are choosing not to have children or they regret having them -- all because of the apparent inconvenience of children. The article noted that choosing to be childless in order to pursue a more fulfilling life is on the rise. And those who have children wish they could experience more freedom.
Since motherhood is a new role for me, I have learned a few things about being "inconvenienced." For example, I used to get 6-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep, but now I count it a blessing when I get 4 hours of sleep. I've also learned that just because your food is ready to eat does not mean that you will be eating it anytime soon. I laughed with a friend of mine the other day when she said, "I think my little girl hears the 'ding' of the microwave and decides it's time for HER to eat."
Any way you look at it, motherhood is inconvenient ... and that is exactly how God designed it!
Did we really think our precious children would come into our lives and not change things? From the moment you hear those amazing words, "You're pregnant!" God desires to mold and shape you into the parent who resembles His fatherly love. But this shaping can only happen as we give over our rights to ourselves and allow God the freedom to shape us. The problem I have noticed in myself and others is that, often times, we push against His molding. He wants to produce within us love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23), and the tools He frequently uses to teach us these virtues is our children.
But, when we see and treat our children as individuals who have interrupted our nice, cozy life, we disrupt what God desires to do in us and in them.
It saddens the heart of God when parents, especially professing Christian parents, handle their children with careless contempt. God shows His amazing love towards us when He inspired David to write: "For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well" (Psalm 139:13-14). God wonderfully and miraculously made each child, and then gave them to us to be a blessing in our lives. They come into our world needing us, as mothers, to serve them, mold them, disciple them, and show them Christ's love.
The Bible speaks over and over again about the blessing of children (Psalm 128, Psalm 139:13-19, and Jeremiah 1:5). One of my favorite passages on parenthood is Psalm 127:3-4 which says, "Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth." Mothers, your children are a blessing to you. Yes, they are messy, loud, and interrupt your day ... but that is exactly what we should expect!
I am SO thankful that God does not see me, His child, as an inconvenience. Instead, while I was still a sinner He sent His Son, Jesus, to die for me (Romans 5:8). When I have come to Him in need, I have never felt Him roll His eyes at me or turn away because I called at an inconvenient time. He delights in my need of Him, and He encourages me to come to Him ... with anything and at ANY time. He does not demand that I wait until morning, or that I grow up first, or that I get a grip. He offers Himself, and delights as we come to Him. What an amazing Heavenly Father we have who has given us the example of how to love, nurture and give, even when it is difficult. My prayer is that my little girl will always know and feel that her parents prayed for her and find her valuable -- even when she is 3 years old.
So I ask you, Mom, do you see your precious children as inconveniences or as amazing blessings from God? I pray God will show you how to love and bless your children ... even during the inconvenient moments of your day.
Amanda Walker is in the doctorate of educational ministries program at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Her greatest joy is serving alongside her husband who is the university minister at Cook Baptist Church in Ruston, La. This column first appeared at BiblicalWoman.org, a blog of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.
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