I am speaking at a parent’s retreat weekend this month, and I wanted to share this little excerpt of one of my sessions, because I think some of you might need to hear it.
I remember my first Superbowl party after Madeline was born; she was one month old and we had some friends over to watch the game.
I remember one particular moment. I looked around the room, saw only myself, my husband, and our friends (all of whom were also in their early twenties), and I panicked. I thought, “Where are all the grown ups? They’ve left us with a baby!”
Next I realized that, even if there were “grown ups,” they would still defer to me, because I was mom.
In that moment I felt flush with fear and deeply okay at the exact same time.
I was afraid because I didn’t know what was going to happen. Was she going to cry? Was she going to get hurt? Was she going to sleep? Or refuse sleep? Was she going to gag on her own spit or choke on her own tongue? Were we going to have to go to the hospital and pretend like we were parents who knew what the heck we were doing? I was afraid because I didn’t know what was coming, and I knew that whatever it was – I was going to have to walk through it. It was on me. It was like standing in front of a closed door, knowing that when you turn the handle, whatever is back there, it’s yours to deal with. That’s scary.
The unknown is some scary business.
But I also felt okay. I felt okay because I knew that there was nothing I would need that I didn’t already possess.
If she needed to eat, I had milk. If she needed to sleep, I had mom-arms. If she needed comfort, I had my own breath and skin and heartbeat, which were home to her. If I needed help, I had my husband and my friends. If I needed answers, I had Google. If I needed a miracle, I had prayer.
I had fear because I didn’t know what was coming.
But I also had courage – because no matter what the unknown turned out to be, I had everything I needed inside of me already.
I have since learned that this is all of parenting. It is, in fact, all of life.
I want to be very clear that this isn’t a message of self-sufficiency. This is a message of God-sufficiency. It’s the same reason I can say, “I’m enough! You’re enough,” even though we’re not enough at all. We are enough for God to love and save and redeem and use, though. Our not-enough is enough. His acceptance makes us enough. His work on our behalf is enough.
Similarly, we have everything we need because we have Him.
And if you don’t yet believe – if you don’t yet have a relationship with Jesus – you have everything you need in order to begin one. He requires nothing, only everything. Just you. You as you are, no more, no less.
You are not enough, but that’s enough.
You have nothing, but you have everything you need.
God’s love is big enough to fill the difference.
He created everything out of nothing. In the same way, He makes your nothing everything you need.
Christians are like seeds. We have everything we need for our perfect sanctification inside of us already, it just hasn’t matured yet. But it’s in there. It’s in there because Christ is in there. It’s in you.
(source: There is an oak tree in there! A GIANT, STRONG, TOWERING OAK. That seed contains every single thing it needs. The oak is inside of that seed! It just needs time and the proper circumstance – like you )
So it is with parenting as it is with all of life.
We are scared all the time because we don’t know what’s going to happen, ever. But we can also have this blessed assurance: No matter what happens, I have everything I need inside of me already.
This is the human experience. We have fear and courage, nothing and everything.
It is enough, and it is good.