Selfishness: Eliana's New Journey & My New Worry
The difficulty of parenting.
I wonder if it says something about my faith that an amazing moment in my home concerning my daughter strikes me with much fear and selfish thinking.
It probably does, right? I should explain.
Last night, I went to put Eliana, our four year old daughter to bed. As per tradition, we chose a book to read and that night’s reading was “The Christmas Story”, a pop up book that details for kids the birth of Christ. As we read it, she would often say “Jesus is God, right Daddy?” or “Jesus is already God!” which gave me the opportunity to explain why God came to earth in human flesh (note: I did not use the words human or flesh. She’s four.).
We talked about sin and what sin is which started her down the rabbit trail of “So…when Liam does __________________, that’s sin?” Then she asked a really telling question: “Daddy, where does sin come from?” When I explain that it comes from our hearts and that only Jesus could remove it from us, she thought and simply said, “Okay. I’m ready for Jesus to step into my heart now.” I quickly got Wifey and we went to her room excited for this moment. To make it better, Ellie kept on saying, “Stand back! Stand by the wall! Jesus is going to come in my heart now!”
Becca led Ellie in a beautiful prayer and after Ellie said yes to Jesus, she asked about what she should do next. Becca talked to her about being kind to her friends, loving her brother and such to which Ellie asked, “Can I practice?”
It was great.
We went downstairs teary but laughing at how Ellie is always Ellie at every turn and how cool of a moment that was. God is indeed good.
But then for me, dread set in. My child is now a Christian. And her example of that is me and Becca. Ellie said at one point to me, “You and Mommy never do bad stuff!” And I quickly told her how wrong that thought was. And now, I wish my witness was better, my devotion clearer…and now for Him and for her it has to be. To glorify him and to instil truth in her. I mean you can't help but look back and say...uhhh...? Now, I don't say that for attention sake because many parents know the exact feeling I am describing. It's crazy to think at this point that I am what I preached about to parents at APC for 8 years: I am the pastor of my child. I always knew it. Now I realize I must always live it. I knew that too but now I KNOW it.
Plus: What if God calls her to ministry? EEEEEEKKK! I love what we do but my kids? Take my arms but not my children:) Now I am exaggerating but that fear of my little girl ministering to others makes me protective and fearful. I know that she is “loaned” to us by God but still…
This past weekend, Ellie hung out with a bunch of great leaders, two in particular who took her under their wing and poured into her as their gifts and time allowed. And it changed my daughter, setting her up for questions and this moment. And who knows where the road leads. I just know that I have to even more so, hold on to His hand while she holds on to mine,
Plus: this AM she asked Becca, “Can I tell everyone (at school) I opened my heart to Jesus?” It’s already on her…
But that’s okay. And it's okay. It’s going to be okay.
God, thank you for saving me. And my wife. And thank you for making yourself real to Eliana. Thank you for those who have poured into her life thus far. Thank you for the journey she is beginning. Thank you that in spite of the sometimes subpar job I've done as a dad, Your hand has been leading us and leading her. Thank you that your promises are real for a four year old and a thirty-two year old. Protect her and grant her faith to learn and grow; from disappointments, heartbreak, pride, girl drama (and God HELP the boy who brings boy drama), figuring out her place in this world, her call, esteem. Protect her from our failings as parents and gives us wisdom, humility, patience and repentance to be more like you as her examples. You’ve called her. She is yours.
We trust you, Lord. And when we don’t, help us to.
And while I am praying via blog, can you talk to Liam about playing in the toilet? And breaking stuff? And always you know, doing crazy Liam stuff? Oh…that’s just a two year old boy doing two year old boy stuff? Okay. Thanks.