Baby Shower Devotional — rough draft 2
When they first asked me to speak tonight I was quite puzzled. Invited to the shower that made sense, but speak? That’s the “older women’s” job. What in the world makes ME qualified? It didn’t take long for someone to point out my 7 children. =) Of course, having children doesn’t necessarily qualify you for the job and being a widow makes me feel even more inadequate. I’m hardly a good example of family life without a husband.
But then there was this echo from my “long distant” past (since I must be one of the “older women” ) –“God uses us IN SPITE of ourselves” — reminding me that God can use anyone and anything. So I guess God can use me. And given the number of obstacles I’ve encountered while trying to get this lesson together, I’m guessing that Satan thinks God can use me, too. So before we get started I’d like to take a minute to pray.
Pray: thank God for this blessing we are celebrating. Ask Him to keep Satan at bay and to open our minds to what God would have us learn this evening.
Now that you are entering into the joys of motherhood it can be real easy to get lost in those delights, demands, and dirty dishes. I want to encourage you tonight to keep your priorities straight.
There seems to be a faulty theory out there that the kids come first. I worked with a man who thought that once I had children that I would become a lowly pawn in their chess game. I told him that children might change my life but I wasn’t going to let them control my life. That, by the way, is easier said than done.
I would like to remind you and myself, that even when you feel like you can’t change one more diaper, wash one more load of clothes, or pick up one more toy from that oh, so distant floor, that “this too shall pass”. Those babies grow up. They become toddlers who empty your cupboards and play in your toilets. Then they become children who amaze you with their learning skills and speed. They branch into those horrid teenage years where you find yourself in a maze of hormones blasting at you from all sides till you don’t even know which end is up (I know that because my brother is a teenager.). And just when things even out and you think you might actually like this child again, they up and tell you they’re getting married, or they got a job in Africa, or they’re getting an apartment with a friend. They leave. And it’s your job to train them so that when they do leave, they are ready to face the world and to be the best witness for God that they can be.
The kids leave. Your husband doesn’t. Or at least he’s not supposed to. And “sticking it out for the kids”, while a noble goal, is a lousy attitude to have about your marriage.
Babies are just a byproduct of marriage. Let’s imagine a “family tree”. Mom and Dad are the trunk. The trunk has to be healthy in order to produce healthy fruit. A trunk that is split can produce healthy fruit, but the whole tree isn’t as strong and it is much more susceptible to outside dangers.
Babies are the fruit. If you lovingly care for the tree, water it, prune it, fertilize it, protect it, then the fruit will be good (there are always exceptions). It can be a scary thing to be responsible for the training of your children. But ultimately you are not responsible for your children’s choices.
You are responsible for the health of your marriage, though. Dan and I planned date nights. I planned a week long Valentine celebration. The kids and I put together a “Danny Appreciation” week where we focused on different jobs that Daddy did for us and we wanted to say thank you. Maybe you could plan a romantic evening. Those often don’t turn out quite like you had hoped (especially with children), but he’ll notice that you planned something even if he doesn’t say anything. Put notes in his lunch box or suitcase. Shower him with kisses when he walks in the door. Listen when he talks. Remind him regularly that he is important, that you love him, and that you appreciate the things he does. The things that please your man will be different from the things that please her man. Mine enjoyed talking me to sleep. Yours might prefer a quiet cuddle. Find out what they like and make time to enjoy your man. Keep your marriage healthy.
So, we know that the children aren’t supposed to be our first priority. They leave. But sometimes our husbands leave, too. The trunk does split and that unified strength seems to be missing. I think lightning struck my tree and half of the trunk is gone. There is a weakness and susceptibility to that. But what this really means is that our husbands really shouldn’t be our first priority either.
The one thing I haven’t pointed out on our family tree yet is the root. The root of the tree is where the real strength lies. A strong root will tunnel down deep into the dirt and anchor the tree. The root is where the tree pulls the nutrients and water from the ground. Without the root, the tree will die. But with a strong root, a tree can live through almost anything even a split or a lightning strike.
Are your roots a top priority in your life? Are they shallow, pulling their nutrients from the world? Or do they run deep into the Word of God, finding strength in your Creator? Do you make time to absorb your nutrients from Bible reading and prayer?
Don’t forget your roots. They should be your first priority.