Written by Shannan Panganiban
I’ll admit it… when I found out I was having a son with my first pregnancy, I was overjoyed at the thought of all my future children having a big brother to look after them. But suddenly I realized, I have no idea how to raise a boy. I started to think about all the things that as a very girly girl, I never quite got into. Playing in the dirt. Collecting dinosaurs and trucks. Wrestling relentlessly.
I thought to myself, “What could I possibly teach my son?” I’m terrible at team sports, and I’m not one to find the humor in jokes about the bathroom. But quickly after having him, I realized having a son is a lot like having faith.
Here’s a few things that I have learned from having my two sons that has taught me even more about our Heavenly Father than I could have ever imagined:
To trust in the unpredictable.
Boys (and all children for that matter) are unpredictable. Even though I have no idea what’s coming next from him with his endless stream of energy, I trust and have joy in the fact that it will be something great and another memory for us to capture. Just as when I’m unsure of how God will move in my life next, I trust that His plan will bring me happiness and peace, no matter how unruly it looks in the moment.
Messes can be beautiful.
The first few times that my son made a gigantic mess of something in our home, I panicked. “Noooo… now I’ll have to spend even MORE time cleaning today!” Until recently, I was extremely sensitive to this, and the endless messes bothered me to no end. But the other day I let my guard down and watched his joy as he splashed in the muddy puddles of our backyard in his pajamas after he escaped out of my sight for one minute. I could have panicked. I could have gotten upset that we would have to take another bath and start another load of laundry. But I chose to see the beauty in the moment. More times than I can count, my life has looked “messy,” and it’s so easy to discount God and claim He isn’t there… but without fail, when I look back on those messy times, I can see the beauty that He was shaping in my life.
Love really can be unconditional.
It’s hard to understand the idea of unconditional love before having kids. Maybe for some, this idea can be more simple, but for me, I don’t think I ever felt the true magnitude of it until I was holding my son for the first time. He didn’t have to do anything, prove anything to me, or even show me that he loved me back. He was just there. He was mine. And for those reasons alone, I felt an overwhelming sense of unconditional love for him. To this day, I question if I’m pleasing God. If I’m “doing” what I need to be doing to be in his favor. But God is our Father and just as we love our children with this fearsome love, HE feels that way for us even more so. When I look at my kids, I feel love. When God looks at you, He feels the same.
Shannan is a wife and mommy to two little boys—all three of which keep her on her toes. With a little bit of coffee and a whole lot of faith, she writes to inspire women to find the beauty in the chaos of their life with babies. You can follow Shannan on her blog and on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter.