Life and FaithParenthood

Becoming Child-Like

As I stood in the sterile and strange new world of a hospital recovery room, having given birth less than 24-hours prior, one of my remarkable nurses walked in to check on me and my new baby. “How do you feel?” she asked. Such a simple question, but so many answers ran through my mind. Tired, sore, elated, uncertain. My answer was, “Empty.” I was not empty on an emotional level, rather empty in a physical way. When you have another person growing inside you for 9 months and are suddenly detached from one another the transition is strange. My insides were my own once again and I literally felt like my body had been emptied.

Since that day I have discovered the joys and trials of parenthood. Times of great love and joy, and days when I felt empty emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. During this time I have gradually learned the virtue of trusting my Heavenly Father in the ways that my daughter trusts me. Our LORD calls us His children and teaches that we are to “become like children“ or “you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3 ESV) For many years this command has challenged me and I have found it difficult to understand and live by. What does it mean to be like a child when it comes to my Christian life?

Children depend upon their parents and caregivers for absolutely everything. The only reason my child eats, has clean clothes, combed hair, and brushed teeth is because her father and I do those things for her. When she is happy, hungry, needs help, falls down, or is scared she finds a way to communicate her needs. It’s second nature to her to bring her desires to us, and she never doubts that we will care for her every necessity. It is the same with Abba.

On my tired and empty days I must remember to bring my requests to the LORD and trust that He will deal with them as He sees fit. It is difficult to comprehend that the infinite being of Yahweh cares about the small things that trouble and excite me. I can’t help but think that when my child brings me something that makes her happy, and we share that joy together, our heavenly Father feels the same. He longs for me to bring my sorrows, struggles, and delights to him, and to have confidence that He will care just as much, if not more, than I do. If my daughter is having a wonderful or terrible day I hope she will share that with me, and I can’t help but think that it is the same with God. How many days have I struggled through without taking my concerns to Him? Far too many I’m certain.

Faith like a child does not come easily to me. Most days it is difficult to understand how to take my requests and worries to the LORD and my heart fills with doubt. “There are people going through worse trials than this”, “Praying may not change anything anyway”, and “Does God really want to be bothered with my small concern?” have all run through my head more often than I care to admit. When this happens I must remember 1 Peter 5:7 “Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” There will still be days when I struggle with this, but I am profoundly grateful that I have a excellent example of this simple, beautiful faith–she calls me Mama.

 

Image courtesy of Sergejs Bablkovs.

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Sterling Oakley

Sterling Oakley

Sterling enjoys her life as a woman blessed by a God-fearing husband and their beautiful little girl. When Sterling isn’t chasing her toddler, she enjoys reading, knitting, walking to the library and exploring new skills in a kitchen not quite big enough for her culinary endeavors. Out of all these things, Sterling most enjoys her continued journey exploring what it means to be fully human, made in the image of God, shadowing her creator in her day-to-day life.

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  • Sterling,
    First of all, welcome to Conciliar Post–I’m overjoyed you’re writing for us!

    Second of all, thank you so very much for these reflections. I really needed to read this the other day, and your message was a great encouragement. As Hayley and I prepare for our baby, you’ve given us much to ponder and some motivation to recognize our need for reorientation.

    Looking forward to you wise words in the future. JJP

  • C.T. Casberg

    Excellent reflections. I’m a new father myself, but I must admit I haven’t much dwelt on how my daughter’s relationship to me patterns my relationship to God. I’ll be sure to think of it next time she’s screaming at me for a bottle.