Babysitting was my first job. At age nine, I earned money all over the neighborhood and on a seminary campus watching kids not that much younger than me, sometimes way too young for me to be watching, frankly (what does a nine year old know about infants?). But it was good money.
In college, I babysat and nannied. For one family in particular, I spent the summer as their partial live-in nanny to two little boys, both under seven. I would arrive at night, make the kids dinner- often boxed mac and cheese or something similar, put them to bed, wake up with the the next morning, get them dressed, give them cereal and take the older to camp while I stayed home with his younger brother until their mom or dad came home from their shifts.
That summer I felt like I got the real mom experience. "It's not so hard," I thought. Being a mom would surely be a piece of cake.
I was 100% wrong. While I did most of the motions relating to motherhood, there's so much more to it, namely how invested you are, how much you think about your child, plan for your child, and it doesn't turn off after a shift or even while you're working away from them. You're always in it and have all your skin in the game.
It's not a summer job, it's a life's work kind of thing.
Motherhood is a deep dive mentally, physically, and emotionally.
As moms, we know how children save their wildest, messiest, no holds barred, unchecked, raw emotion, for us. They'll put on a beaming angel baby face for grandma, keep themselves somewhat in check for daddy, but mommy...no, mommy is going to get the tear-streaked banshee antics every time.
I read somewhere it's because we're their safest place.
Is there a more intense thing to do than to call someone your child?
I wonder how it must be for God to have so many children. To be on so many journeys with children at all levels of understandings, backgrounds, struggles, and personalities.
"This is going through that, that one is going through this. Oh look, this one is standing! This one is finally walking...after sitting for so long. Bravo...oh wait, she's sitting down again. Take it from the top."
Does He beam in joy? Does He cry when He sees us have hard times?
We know Jesus cried when He saw the people broken over Lazarus' death, and if He is a walking picture of God, maybe it's so.
How amazing it is that of all the things God could have had, He chose to have children.
Be a Father.
We could have just been subjects. Royal ones, but subjects. We could have been simply like angels who do God's bidding and carry His messages.
But no, God wanted children. Not just creations, but children to bear His image and His Name.
He wanted children to guide, to love, to watch and help grow and learn. Children that would create with and beside Him. Children to give an inheritance of peace, power, and a place.
Of all the things the Maker of heaven and earth chose to be, it was a Father.
The One who had everything chose children.
So, to those raising kids. To those those knee deep in tasks, living in soft pants and hoodies, always moving teeny clothes from the washer to the dryer, cutting the crusts off toast, having serious conversations with a teen at bedtime hoping it's somehow landing, driving literally everywhere, buying yet another box of diapers, reading the ingredients on squeezy pouches while vowing to stop buying them and make everyone just eat fruit...
all of the things involved in being committed to someone who needs you to live...
If having children is valuable enough for God who owns the cattle on a thousand hills to want, and special enough for the God who ordained the moon and stars to pour Himself out for, then we must be quite blessed with ours, too.
The world values things based on what it can give us: status, money, etc.
God looks at human beings and sees souls that are worth giving everything to. Jesus saw people worth giving His very life for.
Seeing people and being willing to give up everything for them because they're that precious, that valuable to you. This isn't the love of a manager, a boss, or even a teacher. It's a Father's love.
Perhaps today if you're having a hard time seeing anything but sticky surfaces, too many toys, and a day that won't end, ask for fresh eyes.
Then rest your heart in the Father's because you too are a child.
It might be a, "He leads me beside the still waters," type of day.
The laundry can wait a bit. Some days we need time resting in the gaze of our Father.
"But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name." John 1:12
The promises of God begin and end with Yeshua, Jesus, because He is the reconciliation. If you've been walking through life on your own and want to be a child of God, here's how to begin.