My baby girl is having a baby girl! I attended two baby showers for her this weekend. She was gifted with all things pink and we had a wonderful celebration. She and her husband have painted and set up furniture for a nursery and they have been given books and lots of advice. But there is no amount of training or reading of books that can prepare you for the first time they lay your baby in your arms.

I still struggle trying to describe what happened when they laid my first born in my arms. I looked up at my husband, and said, “I don’t know what we are going to do, but I can’t leave this baby.” I instantly knew that no one else could love him like I did. My heart had undergone a dramatic upheaval as this little boy had entered the world. All I could do was stare at him and marvel that he was our son.

My parents had planned to leave Memphis for the drive to Texas immediately after we called. But at just the same time that Grant was coming into our lives, my mother’s sister was struggling to hold on to hers, after having a massive heart attack. My parents were torn. They couldn’t leave until they knew my aunt was stable which meant for me that Steve and I would be taking Grant home without the help and presence of my own mother.

The doctor came into my room on the third morning and told me that I could go home that day. I begged him to let me stay one more day. I explained to him that my mother hadn’t arrived. Seriously, how could the hospital staff allow two people with no experience to take a newborn home? Steve and I both felt completely inadequate for the responsibility that came with parenthood.

Well, Grant survived and my parents made it to Texas. The fear of taking Grant home turned into fear of doing something wrong, or of him getting sick. I loved my husband, but I had never felt a love that made me feel so vulnerable. This little one who was completely dependent upon me, had incredible power over me. I tried to do everything by the book. I sterilized almost everything he would touch. Pacifiers were sterilized and placed in individual Ziploc bags marked “clean”. If someone touched one, or it hit the floor, it went in the “dirty” bag and they were sterilized every night. Motherhood can do that to you.

The Bible compares God’s love for us to the love a mother has for her child. As profound and life-changing as love for your child is, God’s love surpasses the greatest love we have ever experienced. We are completely inadequate to raise and train our children according to God’s intention apart from Him. But the One who created them and has a plan for their lives is very willing to reveal that plan to us as we seek Him and spend time in His Word.

It is no wonder that several years down the road the Lord confronted me about my fear and called me to face it and trust Him to defeat it. It was through memorizing scripture and prayer that the Lord broke the hold fear had over my life. The initial fear I had as a parent began to melt away as I communed with my Heavenly Father and sensed His love and guidance for my children and me. My job is to believe; to take God at His Word. He is the perfect parent who parents us as we listen and obey.

I am so grateful for how the Lord gently prepared me to release my children to be the adults He created them to be. And let me tell you, being a grandparent is just as wonderful as people say that it is. I tell my children, “I love my grandchildren just as much as I loved them but it is without the responsibility of parenting.” And there is no more fear. I know the One Who loves them more than I ever could. He alone is the perfect parent. Trust Him. Listen to His voice. Spend time in His Presence. He is the only One who can grant you the wisdom and sanity to parent your children in a way that points them to Jesus and enables you to experience the peace that passes comprehension (Phil. 4:6-7).

Donna Gaines

Donna and her husband, Steve, have four children and also have the privilege of being “Papaw” and “Nonna” to nine sweet grandchildren. She is a pastor’s wife, Bible teacher, author of three books (Leaving Ordinary: Encounter God Through Extraordinary Prayer, Seated: Living From Our Position in Christ and There’s Gotta Be More) and editor of A Daily Women’s Devotional.  She is a disciple maker who fervently desires to see the lives of women transformed as they encounter God through His Word and prayer. Embracing God's missional calling on her life, Donna mobilizes women to practically live out their faith through both inner city and international efforts.

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