Sunday, March 19, 2017

What a Parent Wants

"Lord, you are my God; 
  I will exalt you and praise your name,
for in perfect faithfulness
  you have done wonderful things,
  things planned long ago."
Psalm 25: 1

     Our family is going through a season of babies. Children having grandchildren, a new generation springing to life.
Evelyn, Lily and Jackson
     I remember childbirth. It wasn’t easy, but it was far easier than what happened when we got the baby home from the hospital. I don't think any parent realizes the time involved in taking care of the bun-in-the-oven who's bigger than a bread box.
Jamison and me
     The sacrifices mothers make during pregnancy—the sacrifice of our waistlines, our wardrobe, and our freedom to eat the foods we really love—pale in comparison to the sacrifices we make once the bundle of joy has arrived. Every minute of our day is spent focused on this wiggly little being who has no inkling of our sacrifice. If our time is not spent actually touching them, talking to them, and caring for them, it is spent thinking about them, fretting over them, and talking about them.
     Our baby is totally helpless. And so are we as we’re lured into their world and the spell of their tender existence. We revise our purpose for living to provide, protect, and prepare our child to be all they can be. They cry and we rush to their sides, eager to fulfill their every wish. If they are hungry, we feed them. If they are wet, we change them—or con Grandma into doing it. We give comfort and take it. We wrap them in too many blankets when we venture outdoors. We shackle them into car-seats when we drive. And when they start crawling, we follow their every move to protect them from stairs, sharp corners, and the consequences of porcelain knickknacks.
     What do we ask in return? We don't ask for monetary consideration. We don't ask for awards or a write-up in the newspaper. We don't even ask for a thank you. All we expect as payment for our loyalty and attention is their love. And we aren't even picky about how it is extended to us. A smile. A laugh. A child's outstretched arms. The indescribable moment when their head rests against our shoulder. And eventually the most loving words they could ever say: Mama or Dada.
     As we provide for our children, God provides for us as He protects and prepares us to be all we can be. What does He ask from us in return? He doesn't ask for monetary consideration or awards or a write-up in the newspaper. He doesn't even insist on a thank you. All God expects as payment for His loyalty and attention is our love. A smile. A laugh. Our outstretched arms. The indescribable moment when our head bows in surrender. And eventually the most loving words we could ever say: Father. Lord.
     In this sacred season, give our Heavenly Father what He wants.
     He wants you.

But from everlasting to everlasting
the LORD’s love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children’s children—
with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.
Psalm 103: 17-18