The birth of my first child, Hailey, was such a mixed bag of experiences and collection of pre-conceived expectations.
Nothing went as planned during birth, my wife endured a 38 hour labour and was completely exhausted by the time our daughter was delivered by C-section. After she was delivered they did all the usual checks and then she was handed to me. My wife, the poor woman absolutely exhausted, briefly welcomed her into the world before passing out to sleep. She does not remember much after this for the next day or two!
So I was left alone with this wrinkly, peaceful little human girl in my arms, trying to open her eyes as I talked to her to see the first glimpse of the voice she had been hearing for the last 9 months. I still recall the warm feelings of love, tears I tried to hide and joy I felt as I sat there for some time cradling her while they stitched my wife back up.
Something changed in my mind too – I was aware of a new protective instinct that had kicked in where I felt that I would never let any harm come to her and will always put her needs before my own. I have stood by this, not caring if I was to offend someone (when I am usually a very passive person), who is potentially putting my children at risk in any manner. For example, asking if people could please not go near anywhere near her if they are smoking. I am surprised at how many people still think this is ok!
I also found myself preventing other people's children from hurting themselves; I recall walking through a supermarket aisle and stopping a child sitting in the shopping trolley from pulling a glass bottle of olive oil from the shelf while the mother was briefly distracted. In the past I don't think I would have been as aware.
So at that moment in the operating theatre, while I sat there admiring my little girl,
I realised that having children is God allowing us to share in his creation and to share in the absolute joy he must feel! Think about this for a moment, the creator of the heavens and the earth and everything around us chooses us to be directly included!
So man and woman come together to create the physical being, after which God breathes life into the new foetus and knits it together in the woman's womb – so we directly share in the creation of a new life – and the joy that accompanies it! So many times I ask people, 'who creates babies?' Their answers are either God, or Man and woman, occasionally both but usually one or the other.
God must feel this way when we come to Christ and are born again into his family! The love, joy, happiness and mode of protection, so to speak, are how he feels and so much more!
As my little girl grows (she is currently almost 5) I cannot help but to draw the parallels between the father to child relationship and God to Christians. You can get a real glimpse of the reality of God's love for us in your own relationship between yourself and your children.
When they do wrong your first reaction is not to want to rebuke, hurt or punish them but to teach them – why something is wrong, why you do not do things such as this and why you should not do it again. For example, writing on walls. When you get an honest apology from your children, your heart fills with happiness.
You would even sacrifice anything for them if it was for their personal benefit. God made the ultimate sacrifice as we all know. At the end of the day, if your children would rebuke you and leave home early, you would always be there, waiting with willing arms open to receive them back.
No instruction book
I will be honest though, I really struggled in the lead up to becoming a parent. Children do not exactly come with an instruction manual! Fears such as 'How do I make sure I do not inadvertently mess up or unintentionally hurt my children!' You see so many of examples of children abused by their parents and the parents seem to be mostly unaware until it is brought to their attention, that what they are doing is actual abuse.
The TV show, The Supper Nanny, focuses on a nanny who goes around helping families with their children is an example of this. I did not want to be one of these parents! I remember being led to the verses spoken by Paul in 1 Corinthians chapter 13 which speak about love to use as a starting point.
So it is my hope that most, if not all, parents have a similar revelation at the birth and in the raising of their children. It really is wonderful that God allows us to share in such an important, joyful, fun, stressful and tiring job. It is good to know that in these times, God really is with us and sharing every moment.
Michael Dahlenburg is an Electronics Engineer currently working in the ATM industry. He is non-denominational and has previously been involved in church plants and assisting those in ministry. His interests include; enjoying family, home DIY, gardening, all things tech-related and driving his wife crazy with a constant stream of inventions! He lives with his wife Michelle and (soon to be) 3 children in God's own land of Southern Adelaide, Australia.
Michael Dahlenburg's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/michael-dahlenburg.html