Adding a new baby is a unique time in the life of a family. There are so many changes happening. New schedules, new priorities, new...everything. It can all be overwhelming. In those early days and months of adding a child, it's easy to focus only on the here and now. We want to help our families parent with the end in mind and think about how what they do now has an impact on their child's and family's future. They won't be perfect, but they can be intentional as they raise their child. Read below to hear what Jacob and Amanda Ferrell find special about raising their kids not only with the end in mind, but also with their church community's support.
Excerpt written by Jacob Ferrell
When I look at my newborn baby girl, I see her bright blue eyes and wide, warming smile. I hear her ‘coo’ at her mother in the most beautifully soft voice I’ve ever heard. I feel her tiny, soft fingers grab my hand to let me know she never wants me to stop holding her. She is this innocent little reflection of God’s love whose path is completely undefined.
A few weeks ago, Amanda and I sat down to write a letter to our two month old daughter. The church had challenged us to write a letter for our new bundle of joy to open on her 18th birthday. Our initial reaction was, “How do we wish for our daughter to have certain traits when she’s not even old enough to show us her personality?” The task seemed daunting to start. It’s hard to imagine her as anything other than how I see her now. I didn’t want to reflect on her growing up, being in school, or especially having a boyfriend. Hard as it was, I was forced to think about my daughter someday being a grown woman and who I want that woman to someday will be.
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22:6 (ESV)
We all want certain things in life for ourselves and for our kids. These wishes tend to become a reality more often than not if we set goals and check on their progress. We make note and give extra time to what we find important. Through writing this letter, I realized how important it was to focus on who my child will be now.
If we want her to have confidence in her faith, Amanda and I need to personally show her what faith in God looks like. Our faith should be evident daily. We also need to put strong Christian women in her life to look up to.
If we want her to be servant-hearted, Amanda and I need to serve others regularly. We need to be the ones that give our time, money, and energy to others. As the kids grow up, we have to place them in opportunities to serve while also encouraging them to seek out serving moments.
By looking at the end from the beginning, it is so much easier to instill those wonderful qualities in your child through the years.
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25 (ESV)
As you may know, parenting isn’t known as one of the easiest jobs in the world. Just getting my sleepy children ready and in bed for the night can, at times, feel like the most patience eroding event of my day. While I’m blessed to have such a great partner in Amanda to help tackle this unpredictable life, we can rest assured knowing that we are not alone together in helping guide our kids on their journey. Our family and our community at Vista will provide the Godly support in our struggles as well as celebrate with us in our happiness.
After going through this exercise of writing the letter, I’m more at peace with what is to come for our newest addition. I’m confident that my baby girl will be brought up and guided by those around her to love God, do his will, and be his light in this dark world.