Congratulations and welcome to the oldest club in history. Many have traveled this road of parenthood before you, but your experience will be your very own, unique and wonderful, just as you and your child are unique and wonderful gifts of God. Being a parent is an exciting, joyful, fun, exhausting, twenty-four-hour-a-day, bewildering, delightful, incredibly awesome responsibility.
Since becoming a parent, you have probably experienced more emotions than at any other time of your life. Parenthood is full of joy and fear, sleep deprivation and exhilaration. Your bundle of a baby, who likely weighs less than your Thanksgiving turkey or Easter ham, has turned your life upside down and sideways. Some of these changes may have been well mapped out, but others may have been surprising.
So many people offer advice. Some of that advice is worth listening to, but some is not. It may be hard to know the difference at first, but you’ll get your footing and move forward in confidence before you know it! God has hardwired us to love and care for our babies. Give yourself room to learn and grow. You’ve got a lifetime to get to know this beautiful gift of a child.
God Will Help You
One thing you can know for sure—you are not alone. Our loving God is with you every moment of every tiring, joy-filled day. God has been with you and your baby all along. In fact, our gracious God knew and loved your baby even before you knew he or she existed (Psalm 139:15–16; Ephesians 1:4–5). As much as you love your baby, know that God loves this child—His child—even more and has blessings beyond your imagination in store for this little one.
Even if this is not your first baby, the creation of a new human and the miracle of birth never ceases to be amazing. How awe-inspiring that God has entrusted you to care for this special child that He has created! What a wonderful opportunity to put your trust in the Lord to help you care for and nurture this child in body, mind, and spirit.
You as Your Child’s Teacher
You are your child’s first and most important teacher. In these first weeks and months, your child will learn about love and trust and faithfulness. Newborn babies don’t have words for these ideas yet, but their experiences with parents and loved ones who soothe their cries; feed their tiny, hungry tummies; change their wet diapers; and provide safe surroundings all build a foundation of understanding. Throughout your child’s life, he or she will learn about love and trust from you. Even as imperfect sinners, parents model God’s love to their children. How much more our perfect Savior loves us. How much more we can trust our perfect God. Understanding these concepts starts now, between parent and child.
Over the course of your child’s life, you will teach him or her many things: how to use a spoon, how to walk, how to throw a ball, how to eat vegetables, how to sing a song—the list is endless. But the very most important thing you will teach your child is that Jesus loves him or her so much that He died on a cross and rose again victorious to give your child forgiveness of sins and life everlasting. Jesus did all this because He loves your child so very much.
Small Steps to Knowing Jesus
When we feed a newborn, we feed in small amounts that a baby can handle. That amount grows in size and content as the baby grows. The same is true when we teach our children. We teach them in baby-size portions when they are babies and increase the size and content of that teaching as they grow.
For now, you can do many small things to create a foundation for future learning. You are teaching love and trust and safety in your daily care. You can sing hymns and songs about Jesus so that the words and music find a home in your child’s heart and mind already. You already say things such as “I love you.” It’s a truth, even though understanding comes later. Add truths such as “Jesus loves you” as well. God promises that His Word shall not return to Him empty (Isaiah 55:11).
Adapted from the “Welcome to Parenthood” booklet in Enduring Faith Beginnings: Nursery Roll © 2019 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.
Pastors and church workers—use Nursery Roll packets to equip new parents to share the love of Jesus with their children.