Friday, 2 October 2015

10 Years a Parent - A Humbling Experience

Today my eldest has turned 10.

He's turned from a little squidge into a mini-person who is looking forward to looking down on me.

10 years ago...

...earlier this year. He's grown, I've greyed!

He's grown in height, in knowledge, in love and maturity. I thank God for the person he's becoming.

I've grown too.

Having children is a humbling experience.

Right from the word go, you realise that you cannot make a baby sleep, or learn to sit up or crawl on schedule. They may be tiny, but they take over your life. They are dependent on you - a total amateur.

Then they learn to speak - and to argue. To walk - and to run off. Every milestone is both a joy, and a bringer of new challenges. The Bible tells of the tension of beautiful humans, made in God's image and yet marred by sin; we see this played out in our own children daily.

I had sort of envisaged my children being a bit like me, but without the rubbish bits. The reality is I see my weaknesses reflected back at me as much as I share interests with my children. They also have strengths I lack, and I have had to learn to help with struggles that I never imagined.

My own sinfulness has been made manifest too. I thought I was patient (Ha!). It turns out that my patience had never really been tested before. Having children has been an experience of learning to be patient.

I thought I had a reasonable idea of what I was getting into when we had our first baby. It turns out that teaching in Sunday School really does not prepare you for being a mother.

I like to think of myself as strong. I am daily reminded of my weaknesses, my need for God.

More than anything else, I find that what I desire for my children reveals the idols of my own heart.

I want them to be have comfort.

I want them to be spared pain.

I hope they will be clever and successful.

I don't want them to miss out on fun or experiences or on possessions.

I want everyone to like them. All the time.

If I'm not careful, these are the things that I long for, pray for, plan for. I guess they are the things I'd really like for myself.

So, what should I long for? What do I pray for in my better moments?

I long that each of them will keep on trusting Jesus.

I pray that their actions and their words would reflect their love for Jesus.

I ask that God would make them more Christ-like- even if that means facing suffering.

I pray that they will be prepared to lose all things for the sake of Christ - and know that they have riches that last forever.

Our children have brought us enormous joy, and we thank God for them. The Lord has also graciously used these last ten years to help us to grow in our dependence on Him.

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