Almost 7 months ago, we welcomed our 2nd daughter, Sophia, into the world! And with the joy of her arrival, God ushered in a new season of my life: one of servanthood.
I cannot tell you the joy and the honor it is for me to spend my day taking care of children. (Those of you who know my story can understand the depth of appreciation I have for the gift of motherhood.) But the arrival of a second baby resulted in a loss of my free time, my rest, and my energy. Amidst the joy of finally holding this sweet new baby I was often frustrated that I was not able to do the things I wanted to do.
At the time, I had been reading through Matthew and a couple of passages caught my attention:
“But the greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled ; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.” Matthew 23:11-12
“Whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:26-28
What a backwards thing to say! The first shall be your slave, the greatest shall be your servant. This goes against the grain of every natural inclination in me. It is my default to see how I can climb the ladder of greatness, whether in the realm of motherhood, the world of blogging, or within my own circles of friends. I often find myself trying to become “greater” without even realizing it. It is just the subtle current of my sin-inflicted heart to drift toward self-exaltation and self-promotion.
“Say goodbye to date nights!” “Better catch up on that sleep now because you won’t be getting any.” “You won’t have any free time, so use it now.” If you have ever been pregnant, these statements might sound familiar. These are the types of remarks I received when I was expecting the birth of our daughter last year. I was amazed at the amount of negativity that was associated with having children. Along with the (unsolicited) advice I received came warnings of nightmares to come. Even now that my daughter is 15 months old, I still receive those warnings from other random parents in the grocery store: “Enjoy it now! Just wait til she starts talking!” Over and over the message I hear is this: children are a burden and an inconvenience.
How sad that one of the most exciting adventures we are privileged to embark on is often clouded with pessimism. I think the main reason children are viewed so negatively is they keep us from being able to do what we want when we want to do it. Before our daughter was born, my husband and I could pick up and go wherever we wanted to go at a moment’s notice. It didn’t matter how late it was or if was naptime or not, we just went. If I wanted to go shopping for a few hours just for fun, I could do that. I didn’t have a heavy car seat to carry around, and didn’t have to fit all of my shopping into the few hours in between naptime. I could visit friends or work an extra few hours and it wasn’t a problem. Now that has all changed.
But as I look to the Bible, I am left with only one option as to how view children: they are a blessing. Psalm 127:3-5 says “Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; they will not be ashamed when they speak with their enemies in the gate.”