This post is part of a series for expecting parents. To see the full series, go here: Expecting Parent Reflections.
Dear expecting parents,
Congratulations on the new life that is taking shape inside the mother’s womb. I love new birth. To me it is the ultimate symbol of new hope and new life. All the death in the world cannot take away the joy that comes from the birth of a new life. Also for me, birth is God’s great gift of life to us, a concrete manifestation of God’s creation. Birth is a holy and exalted event. And so I convey my joy and happiness for this journey you are on.
This is a time of preparation for you. Preparation for life that is about to change completely. Until now, you have lived life pretty much for yourself – your dreams, your passions, things you enjoy doing. But that is about to change in 2020. Life will no longer be just about what you want, but will be driven in large part – if not completely – by the needs of your child.
Much of your preparation involves the physical and day-to-day matters: getting the room ready, the crib made, having all the paraphernalia ready. Much of your day-to-day life with your child will involve attending to their external and physical needs: sleep, food, diapers. All of this shows that we are indeed physical, biological creatures.
But we are so much more than just that. We are human beings created in the image of God. We are created with feelings, emotions, thoughts, behaviours and stories. All of these comprise our inner being – the part of us that is created in the image of God. We are all created so uniquely and beautifully.
Here’s the greatest insight I’ve gained from youth ministry: the inner being of the parents shape most deeply the inner being of the child. Who you are will shape in profound ways who the child becomes. It’s not what you do on the outside, it’s who you are on the inside that will be the greatest shaper of your child. We can all fake what we do on the outside, but in our families, who we are will be manifest in our daily lives and ultimately in our children.
So my prayer for you is that as you prepare for parenthood, you take some time to reflect on and attend to who you are. What thoughts, emotions, pains, hopes, worries and much more do you carry in you? Because whatever you have will be transferred to your child. What is your story? What has shaped your life and how you approach it? What do you make of that?
My job is to study the Bible. In the writings and stories of the Bible, I believe there is tremendous insight and truth about life. So I would like to offer a series of reflections from stories in the Bible over the next few weeks. In particular, I want to focus on some birth stories. What is powerful about stories in the Bible is that these are stories of faith. When we reflect on them and grasp truth that flows from them, those stories can become our stories too. And that makes life much more full, hopeful and abundant.
I will share one reflection from a story each week for the next four weeks. I hope that during this time, we can convene on Zoom once or twice to share your thoughts on the reflections. That way, we can share what we’re thinking and offer support and prayers for one another. How does that sound?
I pray that the reflections to come can bless your life as you prepare for the new life to come. Again, I’m so happy and joyful for this journey you’re on!