Every day I learn something new about Caleb. It’s one of the joys of fatherhood – that every single day I get to study my son. Today I learned a specific way of rocking him to sleep. It’s amazing to me that I can rock him like a swinging ship ride and he’ll go straight to sleep! The day before, I figured out how to put him straight to sleep after burping him. And at the beginning of the week, Christine and I learned how to discern his different cries. The main thing I’m learning is that you have to be creative. One thing that worked in the past may not necessarily work later. That’s why I have to constantly keep changing things up – after he feeds, I’ll do tummy time, then put him straight to sleep. Other times, I’ll sing really silly songs (complete with hand motions) and that will make him smile. Sometimes, I’ll just make songs up!
I’m forced to be creative in how I feed, sleep, and entertain my baby. I have to keep changing things up. I just find it interesting that if God wanted all babies to learn the same way, there would be a set formula. (And oh, there are days I wish there were!!) But there’s not! Because creativity in shepherding Caleb speaks of a Creative God. A Creative God who makes parenting the most wild ride of your life. A Creative Originator who makes all days new. A faithful Father whose steadfast mercies are outrageously new every morning.
I’m glad Caleb is there to remind me of Him!
—from “Motherhood as a Mission Field” (Desiring God)
Motherhood is a wonderful opportunity to live the gospel. Jim Elliot famously said, “He is no fool who gives up that which he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” Motherhood provides you with an opportunity to lay down the things that you cannot keep on behalf of the people that you cannot lose. They are eternal souls, they are your children, they are your mission field.
It is easy to think you have a heart for orphans on the other side of the world, but if you spend your time at home resenting the imposition your children are on you, you do not. You cannot have a heart for the gospel and a fussiness about your life at the same time. You will never make any difference there if you cannot be at peace here. You cannot have a heart for missions, but not for the people around you. A true love of the gospel overflows and overpowers. It will be in everything you do, however drab, however simple, however repetitive…Offered with thankfulness, your work at home is only the beginning. Your laundry pile, selflessly tackled daily, will be used in the hands of God to clothe many. Do not think that your work does not matter. In God’s hands, it will be broken, and broken, and broken again, until all who have need of it have eaten and are satisfied. And even then, there will be leftovers.
Hope you are all having a wonderful time celebrating father’s day! Here’s the poster that Caleb and I made for his daddy. (Well, I did most of the work while Caleb slept on me. )
It’s been one month & one day since our son Caleb Matthias was born, and it’s still hard to believe that we have another person living with us!! Needless to say, our lives have been turned upside down, and honestly, I can’t even remember what we did before May 17! That day marks such a major event in our lives—we’re now a family of three! It has been hard physically and emotionally to adjust to Caleb, but God brings us so much joy through him. Caleb means “wholehearted, faithful” and Matthias “gift of God”. And truly he is a gift of God! It’s amazing to see this little being that God, in his sovereign will, created and allowed us to be parents of! Steve and I feel pretty inadequate most of the time at being parents, but we are definitely learning to fully depend on God.
Caleb is seriously the cutest little baby ever What parent doesn’t say that about their own child right? We’re always peering over at him, as if we can’t get enough of his little face, and it melts our hearts when we catch a smile from him here and there. He’s starting to smile more now, especially when he has a full, happy tummy and awake enough to interact with us. He likes to sing songs, especially with hand motions, and have his tummy rubbed. And make faces..all kinds of silly faces.
Of course, he also drives us crazy with his cries and screams, especially since we have no idea what’s wrong or what he wants. It’s all trial and error in the beginning! Granted we know him much better now than we did on day 2, and so we are able to give him food when he’s hungry or put him to sleep when he’s tired, but it seems like every week there is something new to challenge us with. Just when we thought we could handle it and started to get comfortable, Caleb would throw us a curveball! For example, by week 3, he started to eat really well—4 ounces every 3 hours, and very consistently at that! Then one day, he decided to eat every 2 hours instead! Of course, that tired me out because nursing every 2 hours just drained me—I had barely recovered from the previous feeding when he would need to feed again! After this little growth spurt, he went back on his 3-hour routine, but now he was extremely gassy and fussy. And I mean extremely. He would cry because he was hungry, but then cry when trying to eat because of all the gas! My question to Caleb was always, “How do you want me to feed you??”
One morning during one of these episodes, God opened my eyes to see past the physical aspect of Caleb’s feeding (or lack of!). I realized that Caleb would always be sustained by milk and physical food, but as his parents, we’re responsible for his spiritual feeding as well. We need to feed him the Word, that he may dwell richly in it and actually grow! There is a weighty responsibility to provide food for his soul as well as his body, that he may know the God who created him and believe in the Christ who saved him. Even before he was born, we had started reading to him from the Jesus Storybook Bible (great resource, btw!), and it’s even more fun to read to him now, because he’ll actually look at the illustrations! What’s neat about this Bible is that in every story, it points back to Jesus Christ and alludes to his coming, to his saving work on the cross, to the redemption that he grants to the Father. And ultimately, we want to point Caleb to the same truths.