“You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139:13-16
Next Tuesday, my granddaughter, already named after her aunt and mother, Linnea Dagney, is due to be delivered by C-section. She is most probably a Trisomy 18 baby according to the many ultrasounds throughout her life in the womb. You can check the internet for symptoms of Trisomy 18 if you are unfamiliar. Thus far she has survived the womb, where she could have died already. She could also not survive a month out of the womb; then again, she could live much longer. Former US Senator Rick Santorum and his wife have a Trisomy 18 daughter named Bella who has lived seven years thus far, been on TV, and has a published book about her by her father and mother. Bella lived beyond the womb though many doctors insist such as Bella be terminated.
I bring this up in SFTD for this purpose: Little Linnea reminds us parents of a very important truth. Our children are not ours; they are God’s. We parents are the stewards and guardians of our children whom God has created and formed and placed in our care. As guardians and nurturers of whom God places in our care, we answer to Him for our responsibility in their outcome. Kings answer for their subjects, teachers for their pupils, pastors for their parishioners, doctors for their patients, presidents for their citizens; but no one has the intimacy of relationship, the personal time provided for molding, the natural power of instinctual tie of parent and child, as parents, graced by God with eternal beings to rear. Parents can rightly be most held to account to God for their success or failure.
Parents are often a bit incoherent in their claims about their children: They claim they are theirs alone, their success is something for which to take all the credit, their failures are someone else’s fault, their bad health is due to fate, their good health is because of your genes or your choice of their diet and exercise, their troubles are the fault of your inability to always keep your eyes on them and some bad influences over which you have no control, their personal faith is…well, up to God.
But when a child is conceived, other than an imperfect ultrasound, only God sees their unformed substance. Only God knows every day ordained for them. Only God knows for what purpose He gives you this particular human being molded as He purposed. He calls you to love and care, and guide and protect what He has made and brought into being. It is not your choice as a parent to determine the nature of what God gives you; only to love and hold as precious what He places in your arms. Psalm 139 reveals that this is God’s work and His inscrutable choice. He alone is the potter; we are the clay. Our comfort in dealing with Him as our Creator, our God, our Savior, our All, is that He is good. He is the essence of goodness and all it means.
Trusting in God as good and as your own good God is the only right response in fearfully awaiting the birth of a Trisomy 18 baby, a baby to be soon placed in your arms, or any baby He has given you by His personal choice to nurture as a loving steward of this God-created person. Naturally, there is fear, mostly in wondering if you are capable of the task. But if this is how He has chosen to bless you, He also gifts you with all that is needed. Your love for your Father in heaven, your passion for Jesus your Savior, and the Holy Spirit within will be your strength in doing what God calls you to do in caring for this eternal being whom He formed. He will take all your tender care and faithful parenting and provide the extra that is necessary to be the finest steward of His gift. There is nothing you can do with your life which is more important than caring for God’s little ones whom He has invested to your care. As Jesus commanded Peter, his dearly loved disciple, “Feed my lambs.”
“I am Jesus’ little lamb, ever glad at heart I am; for my Shepherd gently guides me, knows my need, and well provides me, loves me every day the same, even calls me by my name.”
“Who so happy as I am, even now the Shepherd’s lamb? And when my short life is ended, by his angel host attended, he shall fold me to his breast, there within his arms to rest.”
(1st and 3rd verses of Henrietta Von Hayn’s hymn, “I am Jesus’ Little Lamb”, 1778)
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