Four Things I Learned as a First-Time Parent

My wife and I welcomed our baby girl into the world on June 29. It was whirlwind of a day with a lot of crazy complications. She arrived pre-term by two days and we had hoped to be more prepared… but who is really prepared for their first child anyway?

Now that she is a week old, I have had some time to reflect and ponder what I have learned through the process. Here are four things I learned about faith as a new parent:

  1. Babies are selfish

I can’t say I really understood how much time and energy goes into parenting, (especially a newborn). I feel like I need to apologize to my parents. Our little girl is absolutely a perfect miracle I won’t take for granted. As perfect as she is, though, she is still selfish. She demands to be fed, held, wiped, fed again, changed, soothed, and swaddled at all hours of the day and night.

The Bible teaches that we are all born sinful. Paul discusses this in Romans 5 when he says in verse 12: “Sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned…” We have what’s called original sin. We’re born with it because we live in a broken world that begins with Adam and continues with us. We can’t get rid of it on our own, we need someone else to save us.

Babies require a lot of love and attention (as they should… the world revolves around them)! Thinking about the way we provide for and dote on our new baby girl, I can’t help but think about how God also provides for us, despite our own selfish ways. Which leads me to my next point…

  1. I’m selfish too

Adjusting to parenting has been harder than I expected. I do what has to be done, but I don’t always feel like getting up to change the diapers. I get annoyed at losing sleep when the baby won’t stop crying. I love the snuggles, cute faces, and sounds, but I wish it wasn’t so much work to take care of this tiny human. That’s pretty selfish of me.

I have to put her wellbeing before my own — along with that of my wife. We had a difficult journey when our baby came early. My wife had an emergency c-section and had to stay in bed for the first 30 hours after giving birth. That left me to take care of her needs and that of the baby. Thankfully, we had wonderful nurses who did so much for us.

It would be easy for me to say, “I can’t do this.” I could make excuses and focus on myself, but I have to put others first. This isn’t the time to be selfish (not that there is really any good time to be selfish). Could you imagine if God did that to us? Let’s explore that next…

  1. Unconditional love

I know I won’t always be good at it, but I would do anything for my little girl, just as I would do anything for my wife. What drives me to do that could be labeled as unconditional love. It doesn’t hinge on anything that they do for me. It’s a reflection of Christ in me that I hope I can always display for my family. Jesus is the ultimate example of unconditional love.

Romans 5 again sums this up, as verse eight says: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” We don’t deserve the grace of God, but he gives it to us anyway. We are his children and he loves us no matter what we do. He’s always right there waiting. Through his Word we come to know him and how deep his love is for us.

I don’t deserve any kind of “Dad of the Year” award. I don’t deserve much of anything, considering my sinful nature. I have been saved by grace alone, through God’s unconditional love for me. God freely extends this grace to all, so I can follow his example as I begin my journey as a new parent. It all comes back to one final thing…

  1. Everything points to Jesus

Being a new parent is the most rewarding thing I have ever experienced. I looked forward to it for a long time and I can’t believe it’s finally here. I think the same thing can be said of how God looks at us when we put our faith in him. God is a good father and shows his love for us in how he sent his son to redeem us and cover us with his righteousness. He doesn’t see our selfishness; he only sees Jesus in us.

Romans 5:19 puts it this way: “For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.” It’s all about Jesus because he lived the perfect, unselfish life that we could not. He came for one purpose: to transform us from the inside out and offer us a new life with him.

There is a lot to learn about how God loves us and our faith through the journey of parenting. These four things don’t nearly cover it all. There were many miracles in our birth story, and many examples of God’s love for us through these first steps into taking care of a new baby. Everything in our story points back to Jesus.