I’m writing this in anticipation of the birth of my third child, a son.
I have so many thoughts and feelings encircling my mind I was finding it truly difficult to sit and read my Bible this evening, so I decided to get them out.
Most of my thoughts are centered on time. There is great anticipation of natural labor. I was offered induction at my appointment today, and though tempted by the convenience of a “predictably timed, planned birth” (I’m a planner, y’all) I had to stop and think about what would be best for my son, and I believe that’s for us to be patient and wait on the Lord’s timing; he’ll get here when he gets here! (My son, AND the Lord) so we just need to be ready for whenever that may be.
And in light of that, I just wanted to say a few things to my kids that they’re probably too young to understand right now, but I decided to do future me a favor and document these thoughts before mom brain takes over and I can’t remember anything.
To my first born son:
You’re more like me than I care to admit, particularly in your high-strungedness… Your Papa and I are easily frustrated by how upset you become when you fail to do something the first time, but know this- it’s because we want to see you try and we want to see you succeed. Your strivings for perfection at such a young age give us hope (and admittedly anxiety) for your future endeavors because we know that the Lord can use your driven nature to accomplish great things in your life to His glory. Before you were born, I prayed to God that if He chose to heal my body and I had the blessing of conceiving a child, I would dedicate my children to Him, and raise them in the Truth of the Bible. That’s what I strive to do with you, and your siblings, and I’m so sorry when I fall short. Truthfully, it bothers me to struggle and fail too, particularly when it comes to being your Mama. But I love you so very much and I will never stop trying to be the mother God desires me to be for you. Don’t be discouraged, but be encouraged that even when we try and fail, God is right there watching, cheering us on. He desires for us to succeed, but mostly, He wants your heart. He wants you to trust Him with your life. He wants you to give your heart to Jesus and to let Him support you. You don’t have to be perfect, my boy. You weren’t ever meant to fit that bill- that’s why Jesus died for you- to do for us what we can’t do for ourselves. And as much as I love you, Christ loves you even more deeply and intimately and passionately.
To my daughter:
You’re so much like your father, it’s almost comical. Your personality is so much larger than your stature, I find myself amused that God gave you such a tiny frame that couldn’t ever contain the you-ness you possess. If that sounds like I’m talking in circles, just ask Mama and Papa’s friends to describe your Papa, and you’ll hear his name be used as an adjective. I’m just beginning to see you emerge as your own unique little person and I have to tell you, it’s a joy. Truly, I never expected to have a daughter. And I certainly never expected a daughter as beautiful as you are. Stay sweet. Stay innocent. Stay beautiful. And I don’t mean beautiful by our culture’s standards; I mean beautiful by God’s standards.
Your beauty should not consist of outward things like elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold ornaments or fine clothes. Instead, it should consist of what is inside the heart with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very valuable in God’s eyes. For in the past, the holy women who put their hope in God also beautified themselves in this way, submitting to their own husbands, just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him Lord. You have become her children when you do what is good and are not frightened by anything alarming.
1 Peter 3:3-6 HCSB
There’s so much about biblical womanhood and feminity that I want to teach you, but I realize that much of it, you’re 1-year-old mind isn’t ready for yet. Forgive my zeal, our time together isn’t promised. Until its time for us to have the tough conversations about clothes, boys, self-worth, sexuality, all that stuff no one ever really wants to talk about, let alone with their mothers- I’ll just focus on living out Biblical feminity and try by God’s grace to show you what that’s supposed to look like. I’m not really good at it, and I’m going to make mistakes. But if I have one prayer for your life, it’s that you don’t ever for one second doubt God’s love for you or the value you have as His image bearer. You are fearfully and wonderfully made and I pray you avoid the pitfalls of being female in our over sexualized, under churched culture. You may not like it when I say you don’t get to leave the house in a crop top and Daisy Duke shorts, but I promise you’d like it a lot less if your dad put on the same outfit and went out with you and your friends to prove a point…which he is not above doing, and I’m not restraining him.
My sweet girl, I love you so. And I’m terrified of letting you down or disappointing you in some way, but I’m even more afraid of what your life would be like if I failed to show you Jesus. So that’s my goal, like it or not. And I pray God reveals Himself to you through me (and your Papa) so that you may know the depth and richness of His love for you, His precious daughter.
And to my son… The other one.
Henrik my boy,
You aren’t even here yet and you’ve already managed to hospitalize me twice. Your Papa and I speculate at your personality and try really hard not to compare you to your siblings. We’d love for you to speak as fluently as your brother and sleep as well and consistently as your sister. But really, we want you to never feel like you don’t measure up. You are your own man! We named you Henrik, in part because of your German ancestry, in other part because of a great hockey player for the Detroit Red Wings (your Papa isn’t going to let you cheer for the Predators, even if you ARE born in Tennessee.) But what I really loved about the name Henrik was it’s meaning: “Master of the House.” It reminds me that if you do your darndest to undermine my authority, I’m (well, really, your Papa) ultimately the one who branded you with that moniker… In all seriousness, what it reminded me is that your time under my roof, my rules, my authority, my influence is so very limited and that one day, you won’t be kicking me from the inside out while I wait for labor to start. You’ll be a man, the master of your own home. And God willing, you’ll have a wife and a family to look after. My prayer for you is that you grow up in a Gospel-centered home and that your Papa and I instill in you a love for the Lord and a desire to pursue Christ with all you’ve got. You surprised us, son. But you weren’t a surprise to God. He knew all your days before a single one of them began. He holds you in His hands, and I pray you hold just as tightly to His Truth as you grow up.
For all of my babies,
You cannot possibly fathom the love I have for each of you. Until or unless you have children of your own someday, you’ll never know how it is I can love you all to the same degree, yet differently because of your uniqueness. I pray God grants you that honor and privilege. I never expected to get to be your Mama, and there are days I forget what a blessing it is. And I’m so sorry if, when you see me on one of those days, I cause you to doubt God’s goodness and love. Know this- I will mess it up. I will have days where I stay in my jammies all day and I will lose my temper, and we’ll all have days when we cry. But God is bigger, greater, stronger, mightier, holier, than any of it and He will be our Rock, no matter what. I’ve promised that much to Him, and to you. What’s more, I know God will use each of you to impact His Kingdom, because He already has used you to change me and bring me closer to Himself. And for that I owe you all a huge debt of gratitude.
My ultimate prayer for each of you is that on the Day when Christ returns and He carries us home, I’ll see you run through the gates of Heaven and into His arms; that we’ll all stand before the Father- me, your Papa, Titus, Astrid, Henrik, all of us- and we’ll sing His glorious praises together for the mighty works He has done; in our lives, in our family, and in all of Time.
Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!