I know some people like to think they know everything, but it is impossible.
My son celebrated his eleventh birthday on October 6th. The night before his birthday I stayed awake for quite some time, marveling at the fact that I have been a mother for over a decade. It wasn’t anything I signed up for… All three of my children were pleasant surprises, but with my son being the first, he was a MAJOR pleasant surprise.
I was approaching my mid-twenties and in my first good serious relationship with my now-husband. Although things were going well between us I still had no intention on getting married and having kids. But God had other plans. And yes, although me and my husband were not married when Jayden was born, he is STILL a gift from God. You cannot say that God is responsible for giving life and then act as though that only applies to children born to married parents. I tell people whenever we get on the subject to please refrain from ascribing my sin of premarital sex to my innocent son.
Either way it goes, we were just having fun, getting to know each other, exploring our independence. I was still recovering from being raped and entered into the relationship quite precariously. That is another reason why I wasn’t interested in moving too fast. But alas, a baby kind of prods things along. I am confident that neither of us was quite ready for a baby. I was none too thrilled when my pregnancy was confirmed via multiple pregnancy tests.
And then something happened. On Friday, October 6th, 2006 at 3:17 p.m., the most beautiful little boy I had ever seen entered the world. I forgot all about my trepidation about being a parent as soon as I saw him, and the full force of how much I loved him was exhibited shortly thereafter. He was born with some issues and there was a chance he would have to have surgery. I cried like never before. The very thought of anything being wrong with my precious bundle hurt like a stab to the heart.
Luckily, God saw fit to correct the problem, allowing Jayden to avoid surgery, and here we are. If there is one thing I have learned about being a parent, it is that I will never learn EVERYTHING. Sometimes when my kids get sick, I have no idea what they have caught or how, and have to do a bit of detective work just to figure out the best way to take care of them. Sometimes they get into little moods and I don’t know why, and I have to either pry it out of them or give them space. I have to protect them and let go at the same time. There is no handbook for any of that. How could there be? Each child is different and has a different trajectory laid out by God for their life.
Studying the Word of God is just as complicated as parenting in the sense that there is so much to know, and some of it we learn as we go along, making mistakes as we do. In addition to reading what is there, we also have to consider what is NOT there. We don’t want to add to or take away from the Word–it doesn’t need our help. I have been a student with Moody Bible Institute for years and there hasn’t been a single class that I’ve taken and said, “I already knew all of that.” Nah. It is impossible. What’s cool about that though is that you’ll never get bored or complacent–at least, you shouldn’t. Just like you should never get bored with your developing children and instead look for opportunities to challenge them and engage them, so should you approach your relationship with Christ, with that same zeal. Do I sometimes get tired of hearing about the exact specifications of the latest rollercoaster? Do I sometimes feel like a total idiot because he comes up with such good questions that I can do nothing further than point him toward Google? Do I sometimes get tired of hearing “I’m hungry” eleventy-seven times a day? You betcha. Sometimes when Jayden decides he has something to tell me–usually, actually–I am in the process of enjoying a quiet moment to myself. But do I want him to withdraw because I don’t pay him any attention? Do I want him to go ask someone out there in the world the questions he should be trusting with his parents? Nope.
Parenting is a journey. It is exhausting mentally and physically, but I must admit, watching my boy become a young man is exciting. People remark about his kindness all the time. We sent him to school on Friday with 48 cupcakes for himself and his friends. When we went to pick him up he only had one left that he was saving for Layla. He hadn’t eaten any of them because he wanted to make sure his friends got one, and there were some people who looked kind of sad and left out when they saw Jayden handing out the cupcakes, so he bypassed his own desires to make them happy.
Both in parenting and in the pursuit of a true relationship with Christ there are boundless rewards, and time put into your kids and time put into God will result in very healthy returns. Kids these days have a lot of ways they can get off track. It is up to Mommy and Daddy to steer them in the right direction. Just like kids need their parents to guide them, we have to treat the Word of God like our guidebook as well, and try to keep from falling into laziness where we fail to adequately digest the Word.
Jayden also decided to push past his apprehension of water in order that he may be baptized. He has been saved for years, declaring his faith in Jesus from a young age, but was too frightened to be baptized. Last Sunday, completely on his own, he went to the front of the church and stated his desires. I have never been so proud of him. Typically the pastor has new candidates for baptism undergo a six-week class making sure they understand salvation and what it means to be a Christian, but our pastor acknowledged that Jayden already understands all of that and the class would be a waste of his time.
That’s my boy!