How having children healed my misconceptions about God
It might be cheesy to say having children opens up your eyes, but it really does. I'm sure it's different for everyone because we're all on different journeys, but for me, there are two things in particular that having children taught me.
1- Being a new mum helped me understand unconditional love.
When my first son was born, I loved him immediately. This is a normal response for a new mum, to fall in love with her baby. It was only later that I realised just how much I loved him, and how, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't rationalise my feelings. When William was born, he didn't do anything. He didn't thank me for carrying him for 9 months or give me a little "hello" present. He didn't have any exceptional talent that I could be proud of. If anything, he was actually more of a burden (although it never felt like it): entirely dependant, unable to feed on his own or move by himself. Taking care of him was a 24-hour job and it wasn't easy. Yes, this is what all mothers do, but at one point I realised there was no reason why I should feel anything for this newborn baby. In a way you could say he didn't deserve to be loved.
Yet, I loved him. Not like I love my friends or my husband; I loved him with an unconditional love. It is very difficult to explain, because it is not the kind of love that is taught, but one that is felt. I can only say that I knew, then, that no matter what he'd do or what he'd say, I would always love him. I might not always agree with his choices, but I will always love him. The same is true for my second son, Ezra. There is nothing he could do to make me stop loving him just as much as I do.
This is such a powerful truth for me. I don't need to do anything for God to love me. I don't need to prove I am worthy of His love. Even if I am totally dependent on Him for everything, He doesn't consider me as a burden. No matter what I do, no matter what I say; He loves me, always and forever, with a love that will never be shaken. Like the way I love my children, and possibly even more.
2- Seeing my sons grow up helped me understand that mistakes are ok.
When William took his first steps, he stumbled. There were a few falls, bumps, and tears, before he could walk confidently. Never once when he fell did I think it was hopeless. I knew that every time he tried, he was closer to that condifent toddler walk.
This is just like us when we exercice a spiritual gift. We don't get it right first time. It is ok to make mistakes along the way. In fact, I believe mistakes are a necessary part of the learning process.
Now that William is learning to speak, I can see it even more. He can say a few words, but doesn't pronounce them all correctly. Some words he doesn't know how to say yet. But as time goes on, he is able to speak more and more, and we now understand most of what he is saying. I know it will take another few months before he can speak properly, and that's fine. We are not disappointed when he doesn't get it right, nor do we feel ashamed or angry. It's actually the contrary; we love watching him learn! We love hearing him improve day after day and being able to see just how much progress he already made.
If this is how God sees me when I practise a gift (and I know it is!), then I have nothing to worry about! I used to be so fearful of making mistakes that I wouldn't even try. Now I know that God will never think "I wish she didn't go for it", but "I am so proud of my daughter". Even when I do get it wrong. Because I am still a learning child, and because He is the one who teaches me.
Tags: what having children teaches you, Christian family, walk with God
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