I knew as I held the tiny 6 pound body in my tired arms that I had never loved this way before. She was a scrunched face and dark eyes growing accustomed to a world beyond the womb wrapped tightly in a baby blanket. She was perfect and she was ours — the baby that ushered us into parenthood with a 15 hour labor and an ideal ending. I thought I could never love another the same way I loved my baby girl.
2 years later. After 6 hours of text-book labor in Islamabad, Pakistan I gave birth to the most beautiful boy in the universe. His blonde hair and dark blue eyes captivated me and all night long we stared at each other. I thought I could never love another the same.
14 months later. I went into unexpected labor 2 weeks before my due date. Six hours later another little boy is born, perfect, calm, coming into this world as though he knew he was coming to tired parents. I thought I could never love another the same.
3 years later. An hour after arriving at Nile Badrawi hospital on the banks of the Nile River, a second girl came into our family. Tiny at 17 inches and 6 plus pounds, her rosebud lips and clear eyes stared up with a statement “I will love the world, and the world will love me!” I thought I could never love another the same.
3 years later. The surprise of my 30’s came with the birth of our fifth and final child. A baby boy who looked so tall that I thought he couldn’t possibly belong to this short family. But he did, and he does. And again I thought I could never love another quite the same.
Parenting is like that – it is realizing that the human capacity to love is beyond understanding. It’s realizing you would do anything for this little person who captured your heart and daily taxes your patience. Parenting is the worst/best thing I’ve ever taken on — second only to marriage.
Robynn and I are talking about parenting this week. And we’re doing so with our hearts in our throats. We are doing this with halting words and faltering pens. Because parenting is beyond difficult. It is faith stretching, tear jerking, knee bending, heart pumping, work. And it is a gift — but we’d be lying if we claimed anything beyond grace.
Because there is common sense and there are good tools and there are mentors, but even with all that, grace is the most important ingredient, the thing you can’t forget.
Parenting means putting self aside and being willing to be hurt. It means finding out how inadequate is our love, how obstinate are our hearts. It means physical labor and emotional exhaustion.
And it’s a fair bit of mystery isn’t it? You think you’re doing something right one day and the next you fall on your knees, hands outstretched to the God of the universe, begging for answers, longing for grace.
Parenting is part puzzle, part common sense, part admitting mistakes, part humor, and fully humbling. And the ingredients to good parenting could be mixed together in a bowl, stirred up with a heavy dash of mercy and a double scoop of grace. But when you put it in the oven you’re still given no guarantees.
Just like God. He mixed the ingredients together, added overwhelming grace and redemption, but there are no guarantees. No guarantees that we will get along, that we will learn to love with heart, soul, mind, and strength, that we will accept unconditional love and indescribable relationship.
So this week we’ll speak to parenting. You’ll hear from Robynn Tuesday through Thursday, and I’ll be back again on Friday with a post from A Life Overseas.
And in speaking to parenting, may we learn more of a God who loves fully and parents perfectly.
Caramel Muffin Apples by Stacy are this week’s muffin. They are actually from last week but because I took a short break I was unable to post. These look amazing so head over to Food Lust, People Love to get the recipe. Click here or on the picture.