I am always excited about the ability to bring a new life into the world. When a friend shares that she is expecting, or I meet a new mother, the joy and excitement of having my first child comes flooding right back to me.
I have shared before how I was raised as an only child. My sister left for college the week after I was born. I always wanted little brothers and sisters, but my parents said I was more than enough for them! When David and I discovered we were expecting and then a few months later discovered that this would be a daughter, she was all I could think about. What would she look like? Who would she be like? What would she become…all answers that now 20 years later have begun to come into focus and I look back on that time of hope, prayer, and excitement now with awe at all He has done.
But enough nostalgia. As a new mom, sometimes those great expectations can become great concerns, or great moments of humiliation. Or great embarrassments. Or great frustrations.
Like when they told me Ryli would have serious mental challenges because she had Intrauterine Growth Retardation. Praise be to God the only mental challenges the child has is finding something TOO mentally challenge her as she is blessed with incredible intelligence.
Or the time I was changing Bliss when she was a week old. We were living in an 800 square foot apartment and so I figured no point in walking ALL THE WAY (insert sarcastic tone)to the diaper changer, I will just change her on my lap. Promptly she covered me in spit up. My breasts were gushing…leaking everywhere. I was already a mess…that is until I removed her diaper and she decided to not only wee all over me but then explode what would have been a full diaper’s worth directly up my shirt. I didn’t even know so much could come out of a one week old. I didn’t know a person could be covered in that much bodily fluid! Shower time.
Or how about when I agreed to take Daly Kay to a play date in kindergarten. At the time she was attending a private school and these four moms (all who had one child each) invited Daly Kay and I over for a swim. I had to bring little Kemper because she was still nursing at four months old. As the moms eyed me strangely because I actually had to feed my baby in their presence (discreetly of course) little Kemps let go of enough bowel material that it soaked through her diaper, her outfit, and through my shirt. Obviously the other moms had amnesia about what it was like five years ago when they had their babies, or maybe their babies were so angelic they never let it rip like little Kemps did, but the owner of the house insisted I take Kemper back to my car to change her. I never really did fit in with that crowd…
How about the midnight ER runs? The unexpected hospital stays? The spinal taps? The stitches? The vomitting and diarreah? The tantrums?
Great Expectations indeed. The walk of parenthood is amazing. Enjoyable. Frightening. Exciting. Humbling. Somedays it is downright embarassing or humiliating.
Like the inner mama bear you didn’t know existed until some bully on the playground decides to take a swipe at your kid.
Or when your little guy decides he has to go wee…right NOW…in a public place…
Or when, after all those years of preaching and teaching you begin to see the kind of fruit emerge from the little tree you have been pruning and shaping for so long…the fruit of the Spirit you have been praying for…THAT makes every ounce of difficulty worth it, folks.
Every challenge, emabarassment, every tear and prayer are worth it when you begin to see the kind of spiritual growth and maturity that you hoped for. And the beauty of it all is that – while it takes great effort on the part of the parent, it does not take PERFECTION. It takes faith and trust in the Perfect One who wants you to succeed at parenting more than even you do…because He created your child for such a time as this! Trust Him folks, when He says, “Apart from me you can do nothing,” but that, “With God, all things are possible.”