When my husband and I announced that we were expecting an addition to our family, people often asked us whether we wanted a boy or a girl. I found myself giving the standard reply of “It doesn’t really matter to us. We just want them to be healthy.” It was an accepted answer and most times the conversations turned to the next question regarding the pregnancy.
However, the more I responded in this way, the more convicted I was. While it was true that I wanted (and still want) our baby to be healthy, I came to realize that this was mostly about the kind of life that I wanted for her while on this Earth. After all, most parents imagine their kids participating in sports, running on the playground, interacting with friends, and growing up in what we’ve come to accept as the “normal” way. We want to protect our children from pain, from ridicule or from any other unpleasant experience. We equate physical health with a kind of normalcy that we can expect and enjoy.
As a Christian and a mom, however, my primary concern shouldn’t be for my child’s physical well-being. My overriding desire shouldn’t be that her body functions in the way it was designed to do. My most pressing concern should be reserved for her spiritual health. More than desiring a “normal” life for her while she walks this Earth, I should desire that she has an exceptional life in the Kingdom of Heaven.
This is a hard realization to come to. After all, as I anticipate the arrival of our little one, her eternal impact seems a long way off. But time moves quickly and before I know it, she will need to make a decision about whom she will serve (Mt. 6:24). My prayer is that she will choose Christ. And if this prayer is answered in the affirmative, I know that by definition her life will not be an easy one (Jn. 16:33). She, like all of Christ’s disciples, will be challenged because of her faith. She will experience the ridicule that comes from shunning the things of the world in order to please Him. She will know the pain of sacrifice and the heartache of fractured relationships. Her life won’t be an easy one – as it is not for any servant of the King – but my prayer is that it will be a great one – for His Kingdom and His purposes.
As I anticipate her arrival, my hope is that I can maintain this perspective. I pray that I don’t settle for accepting the world’s definition of what I should want for my child but I look towards God’s. I still want her to be physically health, it is true, but even more so, I want her to be spiritually sound, growing in wisdom and in favor with God and man. My desire is that God would capture her heart at a young age and that she would serve Him regardless of the costs. God’s plan for her may not look like what I desire for my child, but I know that His love for her is even greater than my own. As such, I want my desires for her life to aligns with His. I don’t want to settle for lowered expectations – I want to embrace eternal ones.
Again, this is not easy. But when I think about what really matters in the life of my little girl, this is it. And what matters in her life is what matters in my own as well. May I not be willing to accept lowered expectations for her – or for me. May I wholeheartedly embrace what God desires for each of our lives knowing that He is working all things together for His purposes. May my heart’s cry not be for what’s easy, but for what’s eternal.