Faith in more than a name

I was thinking about my daughter’s name this week.  Maybe, in part, because I helped her address and sign 15 Valentine’s cards for her preschool classmates.  But, it was also in part because I had some ups and downs in the week.

Once we knew we were having a daughter way back in 2009, we knew we had to come up with names. Naming a child is the first daunting task parents-to-be really face.  It’s a huge amount of pressure to give a child a name that he or she will be stuck with for a lifetime.  My husband and I weren’t immune from this pressure.  We didn’t come up with our daughter’s first name until a couple of weeks before she was born, but her middle name we knew much sooner.  I remember our discussion quite clearly, even almost five ears later.

We were having dinner at Johnny Carino’s Italian Grill.  That was back when dinners out didn’t require us to pack like we were moving into the restaurant.  That was back when we didn’t have to carry in sippy cups and finger foods.  That was back when we could eat our food warm and enjoy a full conversation between just the two of us while only being interrupted by the server who was bringing us food.  But, I digress.  As we ate, we discussed names.  And we talked about becoming parents.

My husband and I with our daughter just before we left the hospital to come home back in October 2009. We were excited and overwhelmed!

The only thing more daunting than coming up with a name for a child is realizing that you are about to be completely responsible for another human being and that human being relies on you to teach him or her everything.  We realized that the task before us was a great and overwhelming one.  We talked about and thought about the what-ifs.  We wondered what our baby girl would be like.  We wondered what parenthood would be like.  We wondered how on earth we’d be able to raise her well.  We had no clue what we were doing.  We were novices.  Sure we knew some things from books and Web sites.  We knew other things from experiences with babies in our family, but we didn’t know what it was like to be parents.

As we started to get overwhelmed, I said, “We just have to have faith that God will help us through this like He has everything else.”  It clicked.  We decided then and there that no matter what first name we would go with, our daughter’s middle name would be Faith as a reminder to us that God had blessed us with her and, as with so many other things before, He would help us through parenthood.

I thought about that this week.  God has been faithful.  He has helped us navigate through parenthood.  We’ve gotten through the initial life adjustment and upheaval that comes with a first baby.  He’s given us strength and energy to keep giving to her when we had nothing left to give.  And we’ve gotten through the additional adjustment with adding a second baby to our lives.  He’s given us greater energy and strength when we had less than nothing to give either of them.  He’s given us patience and wisdom.  He has been faithful.

Daily I draw on that faith.  Daily I am a better mother because of my faith in God. Daily I am able to find patience and wisdom and joy for the task of motherhood through Him.  He makes me a better mom than I could ever be on my own.  He makes my husband a better father than he could be on his own.  He is always faithful.

And as I think about God’s faithfulness in seeing us through the challenges of parenthood, I think also of the many, many blessings that have come through parenthood.  Our faith has also brought us joy.  I have faith that God has been there with us celebrating and enjoying our children as we do.  We’ve delighted in our children taking first steps, saying their first words, laughing their beautiful laughs and snuggling in close.  We have been filled with love so abundant that we thought we might burst.  I thought I knew all about love before I had children.  I knew God’s love, I knew my husband’s love and I knew my family’s love.  But, I didn’t really, fully know and understand any of those loves until I had my baby girl and later my son.  Now I know love as never before.  Now I understand God a little bit more.  Now I understand better His tremendous sacrifice in His Son.  Now I praise Him even more for His salvation for not only me but for my children.

Parenthood isn’t easy.  Every day brings new challenges.  Yesterday, for example, my daughter got her head stuck in the drawer under her bed (she has my knack for finding unique ways to hurt herself) and my son dunked a Doc McStuffins doll in the dog’s water.  But, both of them spent a few minutes snuggled together in my lap in the morning and again as we tucked my daughter into bed.  Both of them needed so much from me yet gave so much to me in return.  My day ended with exhaustion, but it also ended with satisfaction.  Being a mother is the perfectly imperfect job for me.

I also know that 10 years from now, my challenges will be very different.  My daughter won’t be getting her head stuck in a drawer and my son won’t be dunking things in the dog’s water dish.  They’ll have new concerns.  I won’t be able to fit both of them in my lap for snuggles and I doubt either of them will want nearly as many cuddles and snuggles as they do now.  I still get overwhelmed to think of all that lies before us from navigating playground worries to middle school mean girls to high school pressures.  But, I have faith that God will be right there in the midst of all the challenges and all the goodness then as He is now.  He will smile with me when they do something spectacular.  He will encourage and strengthen me when they do something that leaves me shaking my head.  He will be faithful.

One day I will share with my daughter the story of her middle name.  I want her to understand that while we prayed for her and were so excited to become parents, we also knew being her mom and dad carried a responsibility with it that was beyond either of us.  We knew that we needed God to help us be as close to the parents she deserved as we could be.  On that day, I know I will have even more examples for her of His faithfulness.  I’ll be able to reminisce with her about the challenges, the hard times and the many good times along the way.  God is ever faithful!

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