My children are not my own. It only just hit home this morning. The oldest one, with her white-blonde hair and love of learning. The middle one, with her big brown eyes and even bigger heart. The baby, with her toothless smiles and soft gurgles.
Each one grew in my womb for nine months. I felt it. Felt the sickness. Felt the exhaustion. Felt the muscles stretch and pull.
I felt the sweet little kicks in the night that make it all worth it.
At the end of it all, I laid in the hospital, on starched white sheets, stifling screams of agony as my body contracted again and again and again.
With the final push, I cried. Sobbed, actually. Tears of relief. It was over.
Only really, it was just beginning.
When the doctors placed the tiny bundle in my arms, I cried even harder. But this time, it was because I had never seen anyone so beautiful or felt so much love in all my life.
Three children. It was the same every time.
First smiles, first steps, first day of school. With each new stage, the love grows.
Still, my children are not my own. They are not mine.
Before God formed my children, He knew them. He had all of their days written out in advance. Every moment was laid out before a single day came to pass.
My children are God’s handiwork. His masterpiece. He carefully knit them together inside of me. He put special gifts and talents inside of them so that they could carry out good works that He created in advance for them to do. He has very special, very specific plans and purposes for their lives.
Just like the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25, I have been entrusted with these precious gifts, but only for a time. A short, short time. And then I will have to give an account.
So when I’m ready to open my mouth and yell, I need to remember. My children are not my own.
When they disobey or fight with each other … all day long … and all I want to do is ship them off to their grandparents or to China, I need to remember. My children are not my own.
When I brush them off for the fiftieth time in a day because I’m “too busy” scrolling through social media, I need to remember. My children are not my own.
When it’s easier to let the rules slide rather than enforce them, I need to remember. My children are not my own.
When their bodies are racked with coughs and I’m up all night holding them and my own body is screaming for sleep, I need to remember. My children are not my own.
Even when they learn something new or do something thoughtful and my heart swells with pride, I need to remember. My children are not my own.
This is the single most important revelation that a parent can have. It changes the entire approach. It affects everything.
My children don’t belong to me; they belong to HIM.