Your existence has never been inconsequential. God joined your father’s seed with your mother’s egg and you were conceived. News of the pregnancy brought various reactions, expectations, hopes and fears to your parents. And, even before your conception, God knew you and had a plan for your life. (Isaiah 49)
It was God’s intention for you to be loved perfectly; and if humankind had not taken a wrong turn in Eden, a child would learn his belovedness and competency from his family. But a wrong turn was taken and this detour left all of us without the ability to love purely and completely.
Even though your parents loved you the best they could, they fell short of perfection. Each of these violations of love harmed you. Some violations were minor and relatively reparable by forgiveness and good intentions. Some were tragic and caused extended harm and a disfigurement of some fashion, forcing a compromised physical or emotional posture.
We learned early on that there were expectations placed upon us. Even at birth, before a baby has done nothing but breathe on it’s own, there is standard that is applied to measure the child’s perfection. A ten on the Apgar scale is the hoped for score. Anything less alerts fear and/or disappointment in the new parents.
What if you were an introverted child, born to a set of extraverts, or an athlete born to scholars? Perfect and patient love would honor your uniqueness. At some level, though, parents see their child as an extension of who they are and hope the child will grow into a better version of themselves. Your love of dance could be a disappointment to your scientist mother. Unchecked, such parental disappointment harms and (de)forms the maturing child.
Some points for reflection:
- How was the news of your mom’s pregnancy received by your parents? Is there a connection between their responses and the emotional tone of your childhood?
- Recount the way your parents’ love taught you your belovedness; caused you to doubt it.
- How was your uniqueness treated in your family? Were you honored, misunderstood, celebrated, silenced?
- How can you honor your child’s God-given nature?
Next post, we’ll talk about the family rules, both spoken and unspoken, that teach us who we should be and how we should act.