Wednesday, November 14, 2012
What a daughter can teach you about manhood
“We’re pregnant!” It took quite a while for that to really sink in. I don’t think that either my wife or I really grasped the gravity of that statement until the day came for us to head off to the hospital to meet our daughter. I was one of those kids that looked forward to getting married one day and having kids of my own. It seemed like we blinked and it was here. There I was, standing by my wife’s side while she did the hardest thing that her body was created to do and the time had come. I told several people that I have never prayed for anything more consistently than I did for that day. Months, weeks and days had gone by that I had asked God to give us a healthy pregnancy, keep Anna safe and keep Nora safe. He did. There was nothing that I could do to make sure that happened. What a strange feeling! It does something to you when you are truly helpless and devoid of the strength, ability or power to make something happen. Those kinds of moments create dependence; dependence on someone that does have the strength, ability and power to make that happen. Of course that’s not to say that God exists to grant my requests; that would be a Nick-centered universe of which I would not want to be a part. But He was faithful, He was gracious and He displayed His infinite goodness and grace that day.
Those moments of dependence on something outside of ourselves, namely God, helps us to realize how much we don’t have everything all together. We trick ourselves into the illusion of safety, security, health, wealth and peace wrought by our own hands, when we have little to no control over any of those things. All of that can fade in an instant. Pacing the floor outside a delivery room while your wife gets an epidural is maddening. The only prayer you can really get out is, “God, please…” You don’t even really know how to sum up all the stuff that should come after that please, but you trust that He knows. You transition from the adrenaline-fueled few days at the hospital to the completely new experiences at home with a newborn and you have not left that state of dependence. You still know that you desperately need God to be with you, near you, next to you, and ministering to you in ways that are indescribable. This is how God works and when His work in us can be most fruitful. I felt my spirit literally being stretched and shaped in those few weeks and still do. It’s called discipleship and God is working it out through a little baby. Sound familiar?
My daughter is only a few days from being one month old and already I am thinking about the day I will walk her down the aisle (although I really would like to perform her wedding, but we can talk about that). I’m 28 years old and I feel like this little peanut of ours has brought about this overwhelming sense of maturity and responsibility in me. Now I’m not saying that a man has to get married and have a kid to truly be a man, but I am saying that, that is how God works things out in some of us. Men of my generation like to live out their manliness through video games that put them in the place of a hero, while they are equipped with their Mountain Dew, Doritos and Under Armour sweatpants. They live it out through their music that talks about hoes and all kinds of other stuff that I won’t even mention. They live it out through their revolving selection of dysfunctional, over-sexualized relationships. Now, video games are not inherently evil and are not all bad, but they can be destructive. Music is not inherently bad, but it can be destructive. Sex is not inherently evil, but engaged in outside of marriage and it is destructive relationally. Meanwhile, I feel like my daughter stares me in the face and calls me to be a man, have some responsibility, love her Mother and display for her what a man, particularly a man of God, should be.
What a responsibility! It’s terrifying in some ways, because you don’t want to mess her up. You don’t want her sitting down with her husband one day talking about all the ways her Father messed up her life and let her down. Although I will let her down, I won’t be perfect, but I pray by God’s grace I can point her to Jesus. I pray that she may never know a day that she didn’t know the love of Christ in her life. I pray that she will serve God well and be an amazing woman for Christ in whatever vocation He places her. I pray for my grandchildren and their children. I told my wife the other night that we are given this great opportunity to build into the kingdom of God with this addition to our family. The implications are staggering!