Today marks a unique day in the journey of our family. As I write this blog post my wife and I are preparing to spend the last day with our daughter before she officially becomes a toddler. She will no longer be a baby, but transition to the next stage of development. I am being told daily that this just gets faster and fast from here.
As I reflect over this past year there is one particular thing that sticks out in my memory. Right after our daughter was born a dear friend commented on a picture of Elin, my daughter, taken right after she arrived home from the hospital. She reminded us that children are a gift from God. She told us to always remember that our kids are on loan to us from God and that we get the chance to show them exactly who God is while they are on loan to us.
I love that thought. It is a reminder that our kids are not an accident, but that they are carefully planned and placed with us from God. It is our job to do our best to show them who God is through how we live out our lives in front of them. If we are going to give our children a healthy image of God, then we will have to reflect some key pictures of God in the lives we share with them.
Picture of God # 1: Always Present. Today as I was studying the word, a name of God jumped off the page at me that I don’t always do a great job of remembering. It is Jehovah Nisei. This literally means God, always present. The reality is that God is always present. He is everywhere we go and his is always accessible to His children. As parents we must model this to our own kids. They need to know that when they need us that we will always be there…that we are willing to move Heaven and Earth to make ourselves available to them. When we are always present in our kids’ lives, it becomes easier for them to know that God is always present in their lives, and a part of their foundation of faith and relationship with God.
Picture of God # 2: Unconditional Love. I love the fact that God has no reason for loving me…He simply loves me. There is nothing about me that warrants God’s affection and love towards me. That is the same type of love that God calls us to love our kids with. At least once a day I will ask my daughter Elin this question: “Elin do you know that your Daddy loves you so much?” Then I will ask her this next question: “Elin do you know why your Daddy loves you so much?” After a pause I will answer my question like this: “Elin your Daddy loves you simply because you are Elin.” I want her to know that my love for her is not based on being good, or following my instructions, taking her naps, or playing well with her toys. I want her to know that I love her simply because she is my daughter. When she knows that my love for her is unconditional, she will be better able to trust that God’s love for her is the same.
Picture of God # 3: Comforter. You know there are those times in our lives where all we need is a little comfort. There are those times where all we need is for someone to remind us that we are cared for and loved, for someone to simply support us. One unfortunate fact about Elin is that she does not like to be cuddled. It is a sad reality that I have had to come to grips with. The only time that she does want to be cuddled is when she is sick. Usually Elin gets her bath at night before she goes to bed, but on some days when things are really super busy, she takes her bath with me when I get my shower in the morning. The other morning I was getting out of the shower and had Elin on my side wrapped in her hooded towel when all of a sudden she wrapped her left arm around my back and her right arm up over my shoulder and laid her head on my shoulder against my neck, and my heart melted. For whatever reason, in that moment, she wanted to be comforted and snuggled up to her dad. After a few minutes she perked up and was ready to go and get dressed. I don’t know what was running through her little mind in that moment. What I could sense was that she wanted to be comforted and reminded that she is cared for and loved. It was my honor and responsibility as her Dad to see that moment and reflect to her that God is her comfort. As parents God is calling us to show our kids that He is their ultimate comforter.
I am so thankful for my friends post almost a year ago. It was a great reminder that our kids are not ours…they are simply on loan to us from God. I believe that it’s the best loan we can ever have. As good stewards of the gifts that He has given us, we are called to reflect God by the pictures of Him we show our kids with our how we choose to live our lives out in front of them. So as you read this post today, what image of God are you reflecting to your kids? Do your kids have a healthy image of God? Can they see that God is always present, that He loves them unconditionally, and that He is their comforter through the way you live your life out before them? I believe with everything in me, that when we take these pictures of God, and start reflecting them to our kids through how we live our lives, then they will have a healthy, biblical view of God. It is then that we will prove good stewards of these great gifts that God has entrusted us with.