My only conversations about parenting are hypothetical. I’m twenty-five, single, living with three roommates, making my own meals, setting my own schedule. When my friend Caitlin is in town, we will be found at a run-down diner talking until any hour of the night. Basically, I run my own show, and I’m comfortable with that. So when I think about parenting, it seems like a huge trade-off. I think about all the luxuries I have now like sleeping, spontaneity, and independence that I won’t have when I have my children’s schedules to balance. A part of me doesn’t want to get married and have children because of this trade-off. Or maybe I’m just saying I don’t want those things out of self-preservation, because I haven’t yet found the man with the “James-Dean-day-dream look in his eye.”
However, one thing keeps me in the game. A former coworker I admire said she never knew the depth of God’s love for her until she had a daughter of her own. Well, now… that sounds nice. So maybe all the hustle and bustle and lost independence might be worth it. While I feel a little like I’m Kate Hudson pulling out the baby book in How To Lose a Guy in Ten Days by taking notes on a sermon based on parenting, I’m grateful for the wisdom from Phil and Diane Comer that I can pocket for later use.
Phil and Diane quoted Deuteronomy 6:4-7, which says we should impress God’s commandments on our children, and actually talk about the commandments when we are at home, when we lie down, and when we get up. AKA: all the time. The way to show our children how to love God and love others is by modeling it every day. When I heard this, I immediately started to create a list of principles someone could take from my life as I live now. The first one that came to mind: “When you are sad, eat Double-Stuf Oreos.” That’s obviously not one that I would want to model for others to follow, but then I kept searching for more serious principles, which made me second-guess all the ways I’m actively loving God right now. I thought: “I should be reading my Bible more. I should love others better. I should love God more. I shouldn’t be jealous so much.”
The thing is, I don’t think I will ever master this. Lessons learned are cyclical, and what I am learning now about God is also what my child will be learning about God, applied to a different phase of life. I hope my child learns she will never be perfect at loving God, or at anything for that matter. Faith is deepened by uncertainty, doubts, and fears. So I hope she has questions, doubts, and fears, meanwhile trusting God through it all. I hope she knows she is deeply loved by God, and that she is enough.
Parenting is a huge responsibility, and it freaks me out, but I was told you learn most things as you go. I like how Phil and Diane were humble enough to say they were not the ideal parents. This gives me hope. I want to have a legacy of generations after me that don’t just know about God, but also experience God. Experience God in joy, in suffering, and in the mundane.
So to start prepping for being that type of parent, I’m going to experience God more myself. I’ll be looking for ways God is using me, and how God has gifted me, what God has to say to me, and finding more things to say to God. Phil said the best time to learn how to raise Jesus followers is before you have children. Well, that’s me.
Whether you are a biological parent or not, we are all parents. We have people depending on us at work, at school, and at home. It’s perfect practice. I will also be looking for more parents for myself: people who can guide me through tough situations or laugh with me when I get myself into dilemmas. I have already found a few already. They are my favorite, my inner voice. Fortunately, parenting is years away for me. While I will be prepping for parenting (hypothetically), I’m also going to make sure to soak up every independent moment I get. I’ll start by watching some more New Girl. All. Day. Long.