I’m almost 37 weeks, and I’m getting bigger than ever! Our little man moves around quite a bit, and it definitely feels like he is outgrowing his cocoon – at least, I’m outgrowing my clothes! It seems like that must mean he is outgrowing his space too! Over the last two weeks I have started getting more Braxton Hicks contractions. Sometimes, my belly has been getting so tight for so long that I think I will burst; it feels amazing when it decides to relax again! I feel awkward and weird in just about every position, and I only have one and a half pairs of shoes that fit me (a half because sometimes they fit when my feet aren’t as swollen). It is so precious though to be carrying a little life and how God designed my body as a woman to support that little person till he or she is ready to meet the world! As I have hit the more uncomfortable stage of pregnancy, I’m often reminded that every ache, fat foot, tired day, and contraction is getting me closer to baby Biddinger arriving and preparing me for labor, birth, and beyond! Yay!
Over the last 8 months, parenting has been a hot topic on my mind (I wonder why…). Last week I was reading in 2 Corinthians and came across some verses that were really impacting to me:
“Here for the third time I am ready to come to you. And I will not be a burden, for I seek not what is yours but you. For children are not obligated to save up for their parents, but parents for their children. I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls (2 Corinthians 12:14,15) …”
In this passage, Paul expresses his heart to the Corinthian church as a father. Why a father? He was a spiritual father to them as he was the one who first told them of Christ and had diligently taught them in the faith since they accepted the gospel. “For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel (1 Corinthians 4:15).” Last week as I read Paul’s words, I was excited as I saw God communicating through His Word the attitude of parenting. I’m going to break it down a little ~
First, Paul says, as he comes soon to visit the Corinthian church, that he is not coming selfishly to get from them what they have to give. He is coming out of a pure motive to seek them out. To invest in their lives. To build them up in the faith.
Second, he states the reason that he is not coming to burden them or take from them is because it is the parents’ obligation to provide for their children, not the other way around.
And third, he says he will gladly spend and be spent for their souls. It’s fun and helpful to look up the meanings of words in the Old or New Testament in the original Hebrew or Greek. In the Greek here, the word “spend” means to expend or incur cost (Blue Letter Bible). The second form and use of “spend” in this verse (be spent) comes from the first Greek word but has a fuller meaning: to exhaust by expending, to use up, to spend oneself wholly, of one who consumes strength and life in laboring for others’ salvation (Blue Letter Bible). Wow! Isn’t that an incredible definition?!
The attitude of parenting is one of selflessly giving, of selflessly investing, of selflessly helping a child grow up into the man or woman God specially created them to be. To lovingly and intentionally provide for them, to use up all your energy for, to exhaust yourself, to lay down your life for, to consume your strength and energy in laboring on their behalf. And here Paul is saying he will do that GLADLY. Is that your attitude in parenting?
As Andrew and I head into the brand new parts of life for us of daddyhood and mommahood, I want to remember the attitude behind parenting. When I’m tempted to feel overwhelmed, self-pity over all I have to do, selfish motives stirring in my heart, or drained from motherhood’s demands, I can remember that the bold attitude of parenting is laying my own self down to invest in little lives that need that selfless investment. Lives that haven’t grown up yet and sprung wings of their own to fly. Lives that we as parents can deeply impact and shape to be the new daddies, mommies, and adults of the future. And what a rewarding job that will be.
So, are your kids wearing you out? Mine is, and he’s not even born yet. 🙂 But what a precious gift as parents we have to lay down our lives and spend ourselves wholly for the next generation. If today, you’re feeling like you did a whole lot of working, a whole lot of laundry, a whole lot of cleaning up jelly faces and yogurt spills, a whole lot of taking care of your family and children’s needs and not much else, feel encouraged that giving yourself wholly to this crazy job of raising kiddos is what you were made to do. And don’t get caught up in the mess and stress of it all. Take a minute to breathe and change your perspective. What is the attitude that is driving your parenting? Don’t just get the job done. Give your heart and whole self to it. Little eyes will see the difference.