God Chose You as Your Child's Parent for a Reason
I can remember the birth of my first son, Dylan, like it was yesterday: the way he looked and smelled, how he felt in my arms, and how unprepared I felt. I’d carried this baby for 38 weeks and in that time I'd read a dozen books on parenting, looked up blogs, watched documentaries, and had a few good ideas...but definitely more questions than answers. It seemed like each expert opinion contradicted the previous one. Each author seemed so sure that their way was the best way. I was overwhelmed and confused to say the least, and as I held Dylan for the first time, I wondered what sort of parent I would be.
Then, as though she knew what I was faced with, a good friend of mine stopped by the hospital with a gift--a list of mothers from the Bible and what each one was famous for. There was Mary, Sarah, Ruth, and many others. Beside their names were a few sentences about them, and as I looked it over something struck me: they were all so different. Their backgrounds, values, struggles and hangups were entirely their own.
God doesn't call all mothers to be the same.
That slip of paper lit a fire in me. For weeks I studied the women on the list. I read their stories and talked with others people about my findings. Eventually I came to the conclusion that God doesn’t call mothers to be the same. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all type of mom in the Bible. But there is a common thread, one thing that does show up in the lives of all of the mothers: God chose them to be the mother of their children and they responded to God with a “yes.” Each of them offered something different to their children--something only they could offer--and it was according to God’s purpose.
When this realization hit me, I sat up, stared down at the page I was reading, and knew in my heart that God had chosen me to be my son’s mother for a reason.
Just like the women of the Bible, I had something unique to offer my son.
I had something that he would need that no other mother could give him. I thought about my own life experiences--the things that set me apart from others--and I made my own list:
- I grew up in a family of missionaries
- I love art and writing
- I follow Jesus
- I come from a tight-knit family
- I love apologetics
You get the point.
These are all things that make me me. They're things that God saw in me before he gave me my children. After I made my list, I added a comment next to each item about how that quality would impact me as a parent and how I could use it to honor and say yes to God. I still have the list, and I still have a few of the books I read, but when I read them now it's simply to find helpful tips--not to become anything other than who I am.
When I think back on how much time I spent worrying, it seems silly to me now. I thought that to be a good mother I needed to become like someone else. Studying the mothers of the Bible showed me that it’s okay to be different; in fact, it’s a good thing, and it’s how we honor our call from God. No book on parenting can give your children what you can. God chose you to be the parent of your child because no one can pour into them, help them, and love them like you can.
Your turn: Write down the things that set you apart, and ask yourself how God can use these things in your parenting. He chose you for a reason--no one can do it like you can.