My friend, and fellow family member, Kara, is currently expecting her first child, which is due in September. I recently received an emailed update from her and in it she mentions that she is feeling a variety of different emotions. The strongest of which is questioning whether or not she’s going to be a good mom or wondering if she’ll know what to do when Baby gets here. I smiled as I read it because I remember every one of those emotions and thoughts when I was pregnant with Devyn. As I sat at the computer, fingers poised above the keys ready to write my reply, I thought to myself, “Do these doubts ever really go away?!”
Granted, once the baby arrives, feelings of apprehension and hesitation seem to float away as you start handling the day-to-day care of a newborn. Soon, your household has fallen into a routine and even new mommies start to feel confidence in their ability to care for their child. But that soon gives way to new questions and fears and I've decided that mothers are always going to doubt themselves. I know that I’m constantly plagued with questions and doubt, wondering am I doing a good job; is this how my mother would have handled it; was God pleased with my action there; could I have handled that differently; and the list goes on. Even my own mother questions herself and wonders if she brought us up to the best of her ability, and we’re all grown adults. I’ve decided that to be a mother is to be weighed with doubt.
However, every once in a while, we’ll see that glimmer of truth and light in the lives of our children and we can say to ourselves, job well done. Take for instance, Jon’s cousin, Jessica. She recently recounts a night with her 2-year-old daughter, Sophia, and a day of bad attitude problems. As they’re sitting on the couch together, Sophia suddenly breaks out in prayer asking God for forgiveness of her attitude that day. Jessica and her husband, Griff, were silenced into tears as they listened to her plea.
Another example is watching Devyn during the worship service. We keep Devyn with us during worship because we want Devyn to absorb the music and emotion that belongs to God; we want her to experience and remember it, so that it rests in her soul. My favorite part is watching Devyn lift her arms and close her eyes during a song. It is humbling to see a child, albeit 16-months-old, withhold nothing and copy those she sees around her.
Now, I’m sure both Sophia and Devyn aren’t quite aware of what they’re doing; either asking for forgiveness or lifting their arms in praise, but the important thing is that they’re mirroring actions set before them. And that, my friends, is what parenting is all about. Representing a life and relationship grounded in God and hoping (and praying) that our children will emulate what they’ve learned and seen in us.