"Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit." Matthew 28:19
I can remember the flood of emotions I experienced when I found out I was pregnant with our first child. I can remember praying that he or she would be perfect--ten fingers, ten toes, two seeing eyes, two hearing ears...you know, healthy. I can remember hoping that he or she would look like my husband and laugh like me. I can remember praying that he or she would be a "good baby", one who would sleep, eat, possess a happy disposition and have super chubby cheeks.
And when I held our son, who initially favored my handsome husband and has ALWAYS laughed like me, in my arms for the first time, I was overwhelmed by the pure, raw, desperate love I felt for him.
We decided to name him Noah. We chose his name because we love the obedience and tremendous faith of the biblical patriarch. We love how Noah built the Ark in the face of ridicule and uncertainty. We love that the Lord chose Noah, a Godly man, to be the remnant of humanity. We love our son's sweet name.
And as I laid wide awake in that hospital bed at Martin Army Hospital at Fort Benning, Ga., and stared at and memorized the perfection of my almost-nine-pound bundle of joy, an indescribable sense of responsibility washed over me like a tidal wave.
I was responsible for his life--not just while he was in my womb, but for as long as he was dependent on me for sustenance and help. I was responsible for his happiness and well-being. I was responsible for his safety and sense of security. I was responsible for educating him and teaching him the difference between right and wrong. I was responsible for loving him at all times, unconditionally, and disciplining him when necessary. I was responsible for teaching him about God and leading him to Jesus. And that is when I realized that conceiving and birthing our son into the world had been the easy part, the next steps, stages and years would be much, much more demanding.
I spent the first few months of motherhood in a sleep-deprived fog. I worried if he was eating enough, growing, meeting his milestones, etc. Seriously, I never slept.
But Noah continued to grow.
As he grew and learned to walk and talk, he developed a tremendously inquisitive nature. In fact, he never stopped talking. He would ask, at a minimum, ten million questions each day. "Mommy, how do airplanes stay in the air?" "Mommy, how tall will I be?" "Mommy, if I stick a straw in an apple, can I suck the apple juice right out?" "Mommy, what's this?" or "Mommy, what's that?" I'll be honest, most days, he completely exhausted me.
And then one day, he asked about Jesus.
Over the past couple of years, Noah has asked questions, read bible stories, attended church, been educated in a Christ-centered, scripture based school, asked more questions and slowly but surely developed his own personal relationship with Jesus Christ. And last year, during Vacation Bible School, he invited Jesus into his heart. As his parents, we wanted to make sure he got it. We wanted to make sure he understood the seriousness of his decision and the fullness of Christ's sacrifice and love. And so, after months of continued talks, prayers and of course, a bazillion more questions, we, Noah, Jonathan, and me, decided it was time for Noah to take the next step of obedience and be baptized.
And y'all, take it from a mommy who has considered every stage of parenthood thus far, to be the best, yesterday afternoon, as I watched my father-in-law usher my sweet son securely into the gates of Heaven, my heart swelled with immeasurable joy. Noah's life on earth has been absolutely amazing. He is one of the greatest gifts of my own life. But knowing, really knowing, that when his time on earth is finished, a glorious eternal life awaits him. There is tremendous comfort and joy in knowing that your child will spend eternity in the presence of our Savior.
Proverbs 22:6 provides this promise to parents, "Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it."
I cling to that promise and hold tightly to the goodness and faithfulness of a loving and almighty Savior. Because what yesterday taught me was that God's got this. Yes, I carried Noah in my womb, nursed him and changed his diapers. Yes, I prepare his food, wash his clothes, kiss his boo-boos, wash him, spank him, cuddle with him, chase monsters away from him, teach him, worry about him, support him, pray for him and love him. But even I, his completely devoted mother, couldn't save him. I don't have the human strength or the ability within my fallen flesh to accomplish the goodness and greatness Noah claimed in that hot tub. Yesterday, Noah publicly chose Jesus and received eternal salvation. Yesterday, in our backyard, surrounded by family and friends, my seven year old son taught me a much greater lesson than any I have or will ever teach him. He showed me that I can't do everything for him. In fact, he taught me that the greatest, most important things in this life are often times the things we can only do for ourselves.
Yep, yesterday, was a very BIG day for our little, future man. A very BIG day, indeed.