A lot is going on in a hospital the moments after a baby is born. There's crying, talking, measuring, cleaning, repairing, crying, and the list goes on. The chaos, however, isn't only external. In the minutes following Bryton's birth my mind was flooded with an overwhelming number of thoughts. There was the relief that the labor was... over. There was grief that the pregnancy was over. My initial thought was, "Why isn't he crying?" (Which he did shortly following my verbal plea for him to do so.) There was the heaviness of the responsibility, and there was awe of the miracle that happened in that room. There was thoughts of joy and elation, and thoughts of fear and worry.
The fear and worry came about three seconds after the nurse handed me my precious child, put him in my arms, and he looked up at me with those beautiful big eyes and those large sweet cheeks. He was, in my opinion, the closest thing to Heaven I've ever touched. In a word... perfect.
That's where the trouble arose. My thinking in my "motherly way" that my child was perfect triggered a 300 level theology class I took in college. In this particular class we had a whole unit devoted to our "total depravity", being born into it, coming into this world sinners, and aside from God's dear grace, leaving it sinners. Yet, as I held this precious child in my arms I thought, there is noooo way." (Though in my head I knew it was true.)
Fast forward 14 1/2 months, and I'm well aware that my child is far from perfect. Trust me. Perfect to me, of course, but not perfect in behavior and character. He's told "no" and does the opposite, purposely. He fights us when we try to lead and guide him. He can be selfish and he sometimes cries and gets mad when he doesn't get his way. It doesn't take long for the innocence to fade. And that brings me to my confession:
I have felt for months, literally, months, that I should be on my knees on that alter praying my heart out for the salvation of my precious baby boy. I do it daily at home. I'd be lying if I said it hasn't already kept me from sleeping at night occasionally. I even faithfully prayed for him when he was still growing in my belly... when God was knitting him together. But not one time have my knees hit the alter for Him. And if Jesus is all that I say that He is, and if this faith that I profess is as vital as I preach, then why are my knees... not... on.... the... alter?
My desire is for him to love Jesus with all of his heart, mind, soul, and strength. My desire is that he'd find him early and not have to fall in the muck of life before he sees the light. My desire is to see my precious baby yearn for Jesus with a zeal that I can't even understand. The one thing I desire most for my baby, I can't give him.
A dear friend mentioned "free will" to me today. I wish I could take his away. I wish I could shake him and point him down the path he should go. But I can't. All I can do is... pray.
So, why am I not doing it?
Now, when he's little and in the nursery, my hands are free and my distractions set aside for me to frequent that alter. Now, when my praying publicly won't confuse him or guilt him into a fake decision. Now, when my heart is broken and he has his whole life in front of him. Why do I sit there?
I'm so excited about the possibility of another baby. Another to hold and cherish... to grow up and love, a sibling for B... the completion (we think) to our family, but when my heart was broken the other night, my thoughts were, "If I knew that he/she would never find the salvation and grace offered through Christ, I'd prefer not bring that person into the world. Better he/she not exist then spend an eternity in Hell." Seriously. That was my thought.
But I can't know what choices my children will make. And though I can lead and guide and encourage them wholeheartedly, I can offer them all of the opportunities in the world, I can offer them Christian counsel and resources, the choice... is... theirs, and I don't think God would have it any other way.
The desire He has to know my children is greater than my desire for my children to know Him, as hard as that is for me to understand. But their free will, and hopefully, ultimately choosing to follow hard after Christ, will be the most satisfying and sweet fragrance to Lord Jesus, and also to their momma, who have literally been praying for both of them since before they were born. Maybe soon on the alter.