I can definitely say that I knew God before I had kids but the depth of my relationship with Him has changed in the past five years. I came to know Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior when I was only two years old and I clearly remember making the decision to follow Him and over time, my understanding has grown, but these years of parenthood has given me deeper understanding about faith and God's character. Some of the lessons I have learned:
- Control is just an illusion. I have to trust God in everything because as much as I try to protect and plan for my kids, it is ultimately in God's hands. Luke was only 5 weeks old in a hospital bed because he was so sick that his breathing kept stopping when I realized I must submit to this. I can't fix everything, but He is in control. They are His kids too.
- God loves me more than I can possibly imagine. I used to treat this in a somewhat cavalier attitude until I understood the love a parent has for their kids. And He has so much more love as God than I do.
- It is humbling to know that while I would give my life for my kids, Jesus already did. I would die for my kids in a heartbeat to protect them. Ethan was running in a parking lot in front of an oncoming car and without a thought, I ran to get between him and the car. Fortunately everything was fine but now I see how Jesus saw dying for me.
- God wants the best for us just as I want the best for my boys. Even if it means dealing out painful consequences, I do it so they will learn and grow into the men God created them to be. The boys don't see the ultimate goal when they are dealing with the pain, but I do and I know God has the same purpose for the pain in my life. It refines us and makes us who He wants us to be in order to glorify Himself as He deserves.
- God is with me; really truly with me. I've sat up with both of my sons, holding them through their night terrors. I don't think they even realize I am there but there is no other place I would rather be even though I lose sleep over it. In the same way, I know God is always there too, even if I don't immediately feel it.
- God's plans are always better. When I lost some very special friends this past year, I had to explain death to my innocent Ethan who was wondering why I was so sad. I missed my friends so much, but it also hurt to have to explain something so miserable to my son and see him wrestle with it. It made me realize how much the Fall must have grieved God.
- I think I'm still just beginning to learn about God. I've been reading C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia to Ethan and we just recently finished Prince Caspian. In it, Lucy remarks to Aslan (who is symbolic of Jesus) that he is bigger and he replies that as she grows, she will always find him bigger. The more I've come to know and trust God, the more I've realized I just know a little bit and He is greater than I ever could have imagined when I first met Him. I expect to find Him even bigger later...