How Having a Daughter Changes Things
I do not plan on going systematically through all the different things that have changed since Sophie came into our lives. If you have children you already know that a child changes almost everything, and you also know that your son or daughter is so worth every single change that you had to make that you cannot even begin to describe how much better your life is because of him/her. What I do want to do is just fill you in a little about how different things are with us and with All Things New now that Sophie is here and talk about the lessons that I have learned in taking care of our other children now that we have one that lives with us!
Maybe the most surprising thing that I have felt since Sophie was born is sadness for our kids in Haiti. I thought about how much I loved Sophie, how I would do anything for her, and how we made sure that she was taken care of no matter what the cost or how much time it took, and I realized that every child deserves that. Every child deserves to have someone fighting for them no matter what, loving them unconditionally, and taking care of every single one of their needs. No child should ever be truly hungry. I do not mean whining because their meal is delayed by 15 minutes (which I might add happened to Sophie just about 30 minutes ago) but the type of hunger that comes from consistently missing meals and not knowing where your next scrap of food may be. Every child should have someone feel the pride and love that I felt the very first time I laid eyes on my daughter because at that moment I knew that as long as I had something to say about it, nobody would ever hurt her, take advantage of her, or use her like people did to our kids in Haiti. I know that our kids in Haiti are loved and taken care of like this now. I try to let them know every day that we will always be there for them, no matter how old they get or how far away we seem, they are loved. But it cannot take away the sadness that I feel for them when I think about how lonely they must have felt at times, how scared they must have been some nights, and how each one of them have known and felt true hunger.
I have also learned that when people with kids would get mad if you were too loud when their baby was taking a nap, when they planned their days around the baby’s schedule, or if they would rather stay in than go out to eat they were just being good parents. There are so many things that you learn when you are in charge of another person’s life completely and it takes a lot of your time. This has also helped me to realize how important schedules are to even our older kids and how important it is to make sure they are getting the right foods, the right amount of sleep, and the right amount of structure in their lives. Sophie has also become a wonderful built-in excuse to either do or not do certain things. For instance, if the kids wanted us to take them somewhere or if they wanted to come over to our house when we had other things going on, all we had to do was say one word and they immediately understood…”Sophie.” I am sure this works well in the states too. For instance when someone asks you to go somewhere or do something that you would rather not, your child gives you a built-in excuse to say no.
Finally, I learned that no matter how much work it is and how much different your life becomes, after being a follower of Christ and a husband, being a father is one of my favorite things to be! I love being Sophie’s Dad. It is such an honor and privilege given to us by GOD that we are charged with helping one of His children become the son/daughter they were created to be. GOD has seen fit, in His infinite love and wisdom, to allow me to be Sophie’s father and to lead her to become who GOD created her to be. This kind of responsibility can be scary and overwhelming, but it is made less so when you think about the fact that GOD knew exactly what He was doing. He knew Sophie was supposed to be my daughter and that I was the man created to be her father. And this draws me back to my relationship with our kids at All Things New. What an honor and a privilege that GOD has given me to be involved in leading these children to become the men and women (more importantly sons and daughters) that they were created to be. Oftentimes, when I am praying about this ministry, I ask GOD why He wanted me to be in this position. How could He know everything about me and still want me to lead this ministry? But the answer to this question is the same answer to every question like that…GOD is in control! He knows what He’s doing. And the truth is that I should thank Him every day for choosing me to be His son, Jessica’s husband, Sophie’s dad, and the leader of All Things New.