I remember the day our firstborn entered our life like it was just yesterday – June 7, 1990. The day that dragged on and on with an unsuccessful induction. Then, just as the true pains of labor began to finally manifest themselves, the doctor came in with the news that a C-section was needed due to potential damage to both momma and baby. Preparations were made, and just a few hours later, Harmony entered our world.
I didn’t realize it then as a brand-new mom, but my job to prepare her to leave had just begun. No new mom thinks about this when her child enters the world. And I doubt that any new dad thinks that either. Nevertheless, this is the reality. These little bundles of joy enter our lives for a short and potentially gospel-filled season.
For those who are able to procreate, it is important to remember that children are entrusted to their parents by the Creator. When God created Adam and Eve, He told them to, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.” (Genesis 1:28) In other words, they weren’t created to keep to keep their family in the “status quo” mode or their own protective bubble. They were created to recreate and spread out.
So when our daughter entered this world 27 years ago, it became my job as her mom to prepare her to leave our family, to spread out and multiply. This responsibility increased as my husband and I were blessed with two boys, Nate and Brandt. Our fourth child became part of our family through a different avenue. Because we live in a broken and hurting world, the reality is that sometimes the biblical mandate found in Genesis 1 is not adhered to. Families don’t always function in a healthy manner. So in January of 2002, at the age of 2 ½, our family was blessed to have Kenya Joy enter our world through the gift of adoption. That story is for another blog post. =)
My 27 years as a parent have passed quickly in some ways, but in other ways, they have passed not so quickly. Nonetheless, they are passing. Our family door is now revolving. Our children are now in the stage of going and coming. One of our jobs as their parents has been to prepare them for this time in their lives.
This process is painful, yet it is also joyful. You see, Psalm 127:3 tells us, “Children are a heritage from the Lord.” The word “heritage” comes from the Hebrew word “nachalah”, which in the context of Psalm 127:3 is used to indicate a “portion that has been assigned by God.”
In other words, our children are gifts that are given to us by God. They are gifts that are ENTRUSTED to us by God. They are not gifts that are meant for us to hold on to. They are gifts that we are to teach, develop, love, mold and then share. That is why our door MUST NOT remain closed as we raise our children. We need to realize that the door will ultimately be a revolving door. That’s the way God has designed our relationship with our children to be.
What spurred these thoughts? This year, that little girl who entered this world 27 years ago, moved to Colorado. Last night, June 28th, she walked through our door again. This time, she walked through that revolving door with her husband Josh and our grandson Jack. They will walk back out that door on July 1.
I cried this morning. It’s painful. But at the same time, it’s joyful. It’s right. This is the way God has designed the life of a family to be. The reality, though, is that this process involves a lot more in between the unfolding of a child’s coming and going. Deuteronomy 6:6-8 tells us, “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
What happens in the in between time with our children is the GOSPEL. This means that as parents, we need to be living out the gospel in every moment that we have with the “nachalah” we have been entrusted with. It means living the gospel before our children when they won’t sleep, when they are sick, when they are disobedient and when you are upset with your spouse. It means that we live the gospel in the mundane and difficult moments of life, along with the good times. We are to speak, teach, and live out the power of Jesus and His life, death, burial, and resurrection in front of our children every day. The passage in Deuteronomy 6 is exhorting parents to allow the God’s Word, and the Gospel, the story of of redemption through Christ, to permeate our parenting.
Why do we do this? So that when our children walk out that revolving door, they too can be “fruitful and multiply”. Not just physically, but also spiritually, spreading the Gospel, the good news of Jesus, to the lives of all those whose lives they touch. That, my friends, makes the revolving door not one that will cause us to weep, but one that will cause us to rejoice. Be faithful with the “nachalah” you have been entrusted with by God.