My church hosted a baby dedication on Sunday where parents commit to raising their children to love and follow God. I love how my church honors and celebrates its youngest members.
The theme was, “What Is Your Story? What is the unique story God is writing for you and your family?”
I love this idea because it offers so much hope. For new parents, it’s the hopeful anticipation of the beautiful story that will unfold in the years to come. For seasoned parents and grandparents, it’s the hope that chapters are still being written, and it’s never too late to write a new story line.
God writes a different story for every family, and I had the privilege to share part of mine at the dedication brunch.
I appreciate how God makes every child and every family unique. But I haven’t always liked parts of the story He was writing for my family.
When my oldest son was a toddler, he was the shyest little guy. As the most extrovert of extroverts, being home with my toddler was lonely for me, so I attended every moms group, playdate, and church event possible. My reserved son did not share my enthusiasm. He would cling to my leg, cry when I dropped him off, and took a long time to warm up in social situations.
I would stay awake at night, wondering how he was ever going to make it in life. How would he interview for a job? Would he ever be a contributing member of society? I was concerned for him, and I was embarrassed by what people thought of me. I wondered if his nerves were my fault. Did I fail to form a healthy attachment? Had I done something wrong? I just knew I was somehow to blame that he wasn’t outgoing like most boys his age.
Fast forward a couple of years and a couple of kids later.
Pinterest was invented and singlehandedly took parenting to a whole other ridiculous level. Birthday parties now required a bank loan, and I believed that I had to be a crafty mom to be a good mom. Following a tutorial from someone who is actually talented, I made my first DIY home décor. I hot glued some materials to a dollar store vase and filled it with candy. When my husband got home from work, he gently questioned the wisdom and quality of a dollar store glass vase filled with candy in a home where our three children were all under five years old. Sure enough, my kids plowed through the candy by bedtime, and the vase didn’t make it much longer.
Never deterred, I decided to impress my children with my newfound Pinterest knowledge. They enjoyed eating their boogers, so I figured they were an easy crowd to please. I made them the cutest lunch. I used cookie cutters for fun sandwiches and topped their peanut butter celery with raisins to create edible ants on the log.
My children sat down at the table and all ran off screaming, “THERE IS RAT POOP ON OUR FOOD!”
All of my Pinterest hopes and dreams were crushed.
Fast forward a few more years.
A dear friend, who I greatly admired, taught her kids the Bible in the coolest ways. Her family read it together, and she made the words come alive. I wanted my kids to love the Bible and thought how I would be an amazing mom if I accomplished that. So I gathered my supplies, sat my kids down, and told them that we are a Christian family who would now be reading the Bible together.
The best way to describe how this turned out is…well…have you ever watched WWE? This sweet devotional time turned into an episode of Monday Night Raw. Kids were wrestling. Things were thrown. There was screaming. Mostly from me.
In what could only be described as the ugliest of ugly cries, I sobbed to my husband that our kids would probably never follow the Lord if we couldn’t even read the Word of God without trying kill each other. Ever the voice of reason, he kindly suggested maybe I should stop being so hard on myself and trust God.
Over the next few years, that’s exactly what I did. As I gained more experience as a mom and matured (both in age and in my relationship with God), instead of trying to be someone I am not, I embraced the unique story He is writing for my family.
The nervous and shy toddler that I was unsure could ever adjust to adulthood is the most awesome young man. He is outgoing and has lots of friends. He is so funny and has gotten in trouble for being the class clown. Who he was as a toddler was, in no way, indicative of the person he has become.
These days, my kids are content with a bag of chips and an orange for lunch. I gave up on DIY projects years ago, and they’ve grown up just fine in a home with factory made décor from Hobby Lobby. My daughter loves to craft (and destroy my house in the process). My complete inability in that area did not impede the creative girl God made her to be.
My children, whose spiritual lives seemed doomed before they began, all love the Lord with their varying levels of childlike faith. We’ve yet to have a precious devotional around the dinner table. However, sometimes when we are driving down the street and the car is unusually quiet, my little boy will pipe up from the back of the van, “Mom, why do boys have wieners and girls have front butts?”
This is not at all how I pictured their spiritual growth to happen, yet here we are. While buckled in their seats with nowhere to wrestle (legally), I have a captive audience to share with them the words of Psalm 139 that tell how God made each of them perfectly before they were ever born. He knows exactly how many hairs are on their head. He made them just the way He wants them: how they look, their personality, what they’re good at, what they’re not. As much as I love them, Jesus loves them infinitely more and is writing the most awesome story for each of them.
The same is true of you. Your story may be everything you dreamed of and more or it may look nothing like you imagined. Either way, God made you the perfect parent for your children. Your strengths help shape them into the people God has designed them to be. Where you fall short, His grace and goodness are more than enough to make up for your deficit.
Chapter by chapter, God is penning the most beautiful story.