During my pregnancy, I read anything and everything I could get my hands on about taking care of a baby. How to change a diaper. How to recognize their different cries. How to breastfeed. The list went on. Just before we moved to Texas, Q’s pastor prayed over our family. One of the things he told us was that whatever we do and prioritize, London will learn to do the same. It wasn’t until that moment that I realized I wasn’t just physically raising a child. I was going to have to spiritually raise her as well. I wouldn’t just be taking care of her body and needs of the flesh, but I’d be caring for her heart just the same. Whatever decisions we made as parents were going to shape her personality and determine the impact our daughter would have on others for the rest of her life. (Woah.)
That made me take a look at myself and analyze my choices and priorities. I can listen to songs that make references to drugs and crude language, because I know my stance and a song won’t sway my opinion. I never saw it as a problem if I skipped a day of church every once in a while because I grew up going to church every Sunday. I have a close relationship with God, so missing one day wouldn’t change that. But she didn’t have the upbringing I did. If I listen to those songs now, it’ll normalize those things for her as she grows up. If I attend church casually now, she’ll be attending church casually later. I started to realize that I needed to be what I want her to become.
I’ve said it before, I believe our children belong to God. We are just given the job of bringing them up. I kind of compare it to taking in a foster child. They are temporarily in our care and will eventually be reunited with their parents. I looked up the definition of foster and it read:
Encourage the development of (something, especially something desirable)
Our job is to foster a love of Christ in our children. Foster a love of people. Foster a sense of self-worth. So that they will thrive and bring glory to God until the day they come face to face with him.
Having this perspective has changed everything about the way I view parenting. It’s a much bigger job than I realized initially. And while I’ll never be a perfect parent, I want to do better than just buying her fun toys and dressing her in cute outfits (even though I do love those things). On days when it’s hard, I can ask God to help me do the job he’s called me to do. And as important as it is to learn about how to swaddle a baby, it’s more important to be an example of the person I want her to grow to be.