Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Words for Barrett's New Parents

Two weeks ago I was asked to say 3-4 minutes at a baby shower - to offer some encouraging words, or a charge, to the new parents. At first I was very hesitant, knowing that, surely, there must be many other more seasoned parents in attendance (and that turned out to be true!). But, then I thought about what God had taught me in the ten years I have been a parent, and I knew he had a message for Mark and Sarah as well.

I copy it here, in its original form, because I received some very good feedback about how meaningful it was - not just to Barrett's parents, but to many others in the room. I think there is something fundamental here that touches the hearts of all who are honored and privileged to have been given the gift of parenthood. Let us not take it lightly.

First, I just want to say, Congratulations! Nine months ago your lives changed – you will never be the same. But that is a good thing. I’m here to let you know, parenting is not difficult. It is impossible. It is impossible to parent the way you want to parent, and the way that Barrett needs to be parented without the grace and strength of our Lord Jesus.

Barrett is a precious little bundle – a beautiful sweet baby. He makes you smile. He makes you laugh. And right now he makes your heart ache with longing in a way you never knew before.

But eventually, he will come home. And then he’ll start waking you up at night. Even when you didn’t get to bed until thirty minutes ago. He will cry and wail and you won’t be able to figure out why.

He will turn his nose up at the creamed peas and spit the sweet potatoes all over his brand new outfit. Or yours.

He will try to run into the street. He will reach for the stove. He will climb up on the kitchen table and toddle to the edge before you even know he’s up there. He will figure out how to open a pocket knife. He will pull the cat’s tail and eat out of the dog’s bowl. He will throw rocks, whack trees with sticks, and collect bugs. Alive.

He will trip while running to first base and he’ll break his arm falling off his bike. He will stay out past curfew and ask for money, and want to borrow the car.

But through it all, through every stage of the journey, you will find yourself falling in love with him over and over and over again. You will wonder what you ever did before he came into your lives. You will gently sing him to sleep and then watch and wonder at his perfect, peaceful face. After he has cried for what seems like hours, though you still don’t know what started it or why he stopped, you’ll collapse in the rocking chair and find that the tears are welling in your own eyes.

You’ll introduce him to his first hamburger, or his first piece of pizza, or his first cup of lemonade, and you’ll giggle at his reaction. You will watch him as he investigates the frosting on his first birthday cake and wonder where in the world the year went.

You will teach him boundaries, warn him of danger, and correct him with loving discipline when he crosses the line. You will stroke his hair when he’s feverish and comfort him when he’s in pain. You will long for him to come to you to discuss his struggles and to trust you with his secrets. You will fall on your knees and thank God for him every single day. You will want to never take for granted what a treasure of grace he is.

But, I have found that one of the most incredible aspects of parenting, Mark and Sarah, is that through all this you will begin to discover more of Who God is. One day it will hit you - just as you desired a child, prayed intently for him … God chose you, too. Just as you love your child, so God, your Father, must love you. You discipline Barrett because you love him … and you will start to see just how wise and just is God’s loving discipline of His children. Because He is your Daddy, God hurts when you are hurting, and He laughs when you discover some new delight that he has held in store for you. He watches you intently – your perfect face – and rejoices over you with singing. God longs for you to turn to him with your struggles and needs and to trust him with your deepest secrets. You are God’s treasure.

I truly believe there are some things about God that we can only learn when we become parents. What an awesome privilege, and an awesome responsibility!As you love and teach Barrett about Jesus, you are God’s agents, building up a mighty warrior for the kingdom of God. We pray with you that he will give his heart to Jesus early in life, and that he might serve Him and love Him and know Him and long deeply for Him more and more each day. Perhaps someday the Lord will see fit to give Barrett his own special gift of grace – a child – through whom God may begin to unfold some of His great and awesome mysteries.

We love you and are so happy for you. God bless you!


We are missionaries serving God and the task of Bible translation by serving the missionary community in Papua New Guinea through Personnel Administration and MK Education. We thank you for your prayers!

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(Updated 13 April 2013)