I was present at the birth of both of my daughters. It was of course an amazing experience and far more exhilarating then the gas and air that I sampled earlier in the labours. (Just checking it was safe of course, much like Nehemiah and the Kings wine).
When both of them were born, I gave them a cuddle within minutes of the birth. These were on both occasions profound moments. I heard a still small voice that I knew to be the Lords. I had a distinct sense from God that He was telling me that they were in effect on loan to me. My job was to raise them and to show them Jesus through the conduct of my life and by sharing with them the things that we saw God doing in our lives.
Now, don’t get me wrong. The kids have heard us row as well as seen us make up. They’ve seen me get it wrong and they’ve heard me apologise to them. I’ve prayed with them and at times neglected to do so because I’ve been away or taken my eye off the ball. I’ve shared the stories of what Jesus has done in my life and heard them beg me to tell them another story…only to go for chunks of time when I have let it slip. In other words I am doing my best but I get it wrong plenty of times. One thing I have done is pray for them frequently and for a variety of things, including any future husbands they might meet. (I’ve been praying for that since before they were born!)
As part of our commitment to our kids development spiritually, Karen and I started to lead the Sunday school group they are part of. (As an aside I really do believe we need more men leading kids work so I’m putting my time where my mouth is).
During one time of preparation for Sunday my eldest sat and read the bible with Karen. For some reason, this gripped my daughter and she took it upon herself (she is 13) to read a page of the bible every night from Genesis until she finished it. I tried to show her that there might be a more interesting way to do it (worried of course about lists of skin diseases and laws in Leviticus being a bit boring etc) but shes a single minded kinda kid and she wouldn’t hear any of it.
Several nights ago Karen find her quietly lying on her bed with tears running down her cheeks. She had just met Jesus despite only reaching Exodus. The word of God has power to change lives.
My eldest daughter has always been a character; a free thinker, artistic, willing to challenge and not one for the status quo. Turns out Jesus was well able to work with that, despite my at times prayers of angst.
I share this to encourage you blokes; Keep praying, keep modelling Jesus, keep your heads, spend time with your kids, let them see you being men of God, take your share in the responsibility you have for pointing beyond yourself to Jesus and remember, despite your fragility and weakness, God is sovereign and your kids are precious to him too.