This particular post was written on the day that our fourth child, Titus, was born into the world. I hope you enjoy it…
Today is the day. Our family is celebrating the birth of our son, Titus Floyd Stevens. He’s the sixth member of our family, and is already making quite an impact in our lives. Indulge me for a moment while I show him off in these pictures and then talk about what parenthood means to me.
When I married Marilyn, I thought my life had changed. But when we started having kids, my life changed exponentially. Life no longer allowed room for my own selfishness. The needs of these little ones were too great. Physically, they couldn’t care for themselves. Mentally, they had much to learn. Spiritually, they would need direction. Emotionally, they would need courage and reassurance.
At first I felt completely scared and totally inadequate to be the one man in their life responsible for meeting these needs. These three boys and one girl have their own unique personalities. What motivates one, destroys the other. Their drive is different. Their interests are different. Their strengths and weaknesses are different. The only thing that is the same is their last name.
While it may sound cliche, I realized all the way back with Josiah’s 10-week-early birth that these children are entrusted to me for a short while from the Lord. No matter what successes or tragedies they face in this life, I have been gifted with the task of being a parent. In short, here is what that means…
1. Responsibility. While their successes may be because of great decisions they made, it was because I once planted a seed of wisdom in their heart. No matter their age, a true parent never quits directing, encouraging, teaching, and chastising.
When our sin separated us from God, he didn’t just leave us to figure it out on our own. Our sin wasn’t his fault, but he made it his responsibility. He took our sin upon himself, and paid our debt. Likewise, the sins of your children may not be your fault, but you have to make it your responsibility.
2. Legacy. I’ve always wanted to make a difference in the world. Many make the mistake of searching for significance in their work or other achievements. I’ve come to realize that one day, someone else is going to run the school or whatever ministry I’m serving in. In a day’s time, they will thank me for serving, hand me a plaque, and then turn it over to another leader who will run things as he sees fit. My legacy will not live through my employees, but through my kids. The relationships I forge with them will be how my memory lives on, long after I pass away…and so will yours.
3. Unconditional Love. As a leader, you constantly have to make decisions that are unpopular. Loyalties from others can be very fickle. Friends may come and go as life’s seasons change. But God blesses us with parenthood to show us how we are to love Him…Unconditionally and without reserve. This is how my kids see me, even with all of my imperfections. For that, I am eternally grateful.
For those of you who are still waiting to enter into parenthood, I hope and pray that you get to have this amazing experience. For those of you who are already knee deep in boo-boos, cheeto-fingers, sleepovers, and first dates, be sure to say a prayer tonight and thank God above that you have been chosen to make such an impact in the life of another human being.
QUESTION: What are some of your fondest memories and greatest fears as a parent? If bold enough, share this post with your friends on social media and add in the answers to these questions.
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