I remember after my son was born how quickly things changed for my life. His father and I were responsible for him, this treasured baby that was so long in coming. We had anticipated his arrival and pictured how the whole thing would go. You know, easy birth, healthy baby, everything just right. Sure, there were sometimes those thoughts that maybe everything would not go okay, but mostly I dismissed those thoughts since I knew that this long-awaited child was a provision from God. He was due on the 12th of the month, and when it was seven days past his due date, they scheduled me to be induced on the 25th. Well, that wasn’t anticipated! Nor was the notification that things were not quite right with his breathing after he was born. I was released from the hospital without my baby. He would remain in the special care nursery for five days until he was released. It seemed like an eternity to me.
After he came home, I remember thinking, “ok, now what?” For the first time it dawned on me that I didn’t really know what I was doing. That feeling would repeat itself over and over and over again while raising my son. The funny thing about babies is that they don’t come with a manual. And, all those grand ideas you had about parenting before you actually became a parent, well, when you’re in the trenches, they don’t always work.
I remember watching how rapidly he changed over the first 18 months of his life. The smiles, the coos soon switched over to purposeful movement, and so on. I loved the onslaught of each stage, and I remember thinking that I didn’t want him to change more. But, then the next thing would come along and I loved that too. We celebrated each new achievement. His first words, his infectious laughter, and just before his first birthday, his first steps. We encouraged him to say words, we encouraged him to get up on his feet and take steps to us. They were joyful, fun days. Before long, he was off running. Running was alright when we were in the back yard, but it was terrifying for him to take off running towards the street. And, because of all that running – running ahead of me, darting off to the side and being seemingly oblivious to the dangers ready to swoop in, I was often heard saying things such as “no running,” “stop running,” “come back here,” and also “walk with me!” And, while I don’t know about your children, but mine was not so inclined to be obedient when he was told to stay with me. The term compliant child was not in my vocabulary, however, the phrase frustrated parent sure was!
Yup, those were the days. Somehow or other, we muddled through, and despite all of our inadequacies, frustrations, ignorance, and outright errors my son survived into adulthood. Raising him sure has given me plenty of fodder for my reflections. And, it’s uncanny to me just how after all those years, God is still teaching me things about the experience of raising my son.
I am now able to see so many similarities between my son and I that I never noticed before. The most current revelation is that just like my son when he was a toddler, I too have a penchant for running ahead or darting off to the side, chasing after something that’s got my fancy. Too often I have not stopped to think about what I was doing, but just barreled right in, oblivious to any dangers that lie ahead, to make something happen just the way I was so sure it was supposed to happen. Right there, I can picture God shaking His head, and maybe even wagging His finger at me while He says: “Victoria, walk with me!” This revelation has much to say about my obedience factor, it’s been lacking that’s for sure. And, that causes me further reflection, most especially about what I don’t want. I don’t want to be known as a Child of God that didn’t stop to ask for or listen to God’s instructions. I don’t want to be known as the Christian woman who took matters in her own hands, because she couldn’t or wouldn’t wait on God.
Just like my son, I still have many lessons to learn, and things to master.
How about you, are there things that you don’t want to be known for?
Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long. (Psalm 25:4-5, ESV)
Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground! (Psalms 143:10, ESV)