For the Joy: On the Passion, Submission and Parenthood

How many of you parents can nod your heads to this one: What to Expect didn’t cover any of this parenting stuff. I’ve got some title ideas in case it’s ever revisited:

  • What to Expect When You’re Expecting: A lifetime (or a least a couple of decades) of sleep deprivation!
  • What to Expect When You’re Expecting: Passing on family dysfunction one child at a time!
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Someone should have passed on a copy of this book to the littles. Image source

I’m not bitter… I’m just on my first cup of coffee.

Let me explain my previous stance on children: no way, no how. I considered some permanent solutions like never getting married. Somewhere along the way I met my best friend and fell in love so that option was out. But still, how could I knowingly bring a child into the world that still was full of the evils of intentional, destructive chaos, or where I could not 100% protect such a fragile, tiny being from kidnapping or abuse?

Ultimately, I was full of fear.

Watching the Passion of the Christ made me reconsider. There’s something wrong with that, right? As if watching the portrayal of humanity hitting it’s rock-bottom ugliest moment inspired me to create more humans. I was watching Jesus though. I think sometimes we forget that Jesus made a hard choice in the garden.

Jesus in the Garden of Olives, from the film Passion of the Christ

The Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26: 36-46Image source

He went away again a second time and prayed, saying, “My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Your will be done.” Matthew 26:42 (NASB)

He prayed three times, and each time He chose to submit to Father’s will. Every journey to being a parent is different. And being a parent is a tough job with little reward sometimes. But I hope every parenting trial can be redeemed through submission to Christ.

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2 (NASB)

When we hear of more atrocities or heartache, we hold our children a little tighter. Sometimes though, it’s tough to look beyond the present branches in our immediate line of site, and we have a choice to make: to feel deserted and burdened (as I so often have) or to see the promise of joy. When I look for the joy I find:

  • the love of my life called “daddy,” knowing he is setting the stage for lifelong friendship
  • my oldest son’s face light up when we talked about the Resurrection… his exact words were, “What?!? Jesus came alive again! That’s pretty good! I love him!” knowing a hope is taking root in his heart
  • my younger son’s arms wrapped around me while he presses his cheek to mine, knowing he is learning the life-enriching skill of giving comfort

 

As we are here at Good Friday, approaching Easter, what do you find when you look for the joy?

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