Faith

First-time dad: I’m learning about patience

David Joshua Leo // June 18, 2021, 8:20 pm

This is My First Father's Day

So much has changed for me during this pandemic period.

My BTO was delayed for nearly a year, and I joined my church to serve on a full-time basis. The biggest change, however, was becoming a father in April this year.

It was no accident. It was an adjustment to our plans, but one that my wife and I welcomed bearing in mind that only the Lord knew whether we would have any success conceiving a child.

Nine months after our first attempt, Ethan was born. It has been a mere six weeks since his birth, but memories from before he was born are already foggy! Nights have been long, and days have melded into nights.

It is no exaggeration to say that I have not slept through a night since Ethan has returned home with us. I have been told that it may be months before I get to sleep through the night!

WHAT  I LEARNT ABOUT MYSELF

In this time, I’ve come to see that I had become confident in my own flesh.

Having managed abusive parents (others, not my own) as part of my job in the past, I thought there were few situations left that could cause me to lose my cool.

I had even begun to think of myself as a patient person. Others have also commented as such about me.

That illusion was shattered repeatedly not long after Ethan was born.

Pictured: Ethan shattering his father’s illusions.

In the first few nights of having Ethan at home, the truth of my lack of patience started to surface.

Each time Ethan became inconsolable despite us doing everything we could to meet his needs, the frustration started to build within me.

Confronted with these new and challenging situations, the truth of who I am was revealed.

Dying to myself on a daily basis will have to be a reality if I desire to become anything like the Good Father above.

While I desire to be as patient as Jesus, the refining process is far from complete. I can only surrender to the Lord and call upon Him for a fresh impartation of patience.

It is this continued reliance on His strength that allows more of him to be revealed in me. It is in that process of calling out and surrendering to Him that some of Him rubs off on me.

God is faithful, and in every season, He has continued to draw me closer to himself. In these early phases of fatherhood, the challenge of raising a new-born has become the crucible of the next refinement.

Identifying my impatience is merely the first step! Dying to myself on a daily basis will have to be a reality if I desire to become anything like the Good Father above.

WHAT I LEARNT ABOUT GOD

God continues to patiently meet all my needs. Praise be to the perfect Father whom we all share. He is far more patient that I have even imagined!

Growing up, one of the first things I learnt was that I was a child of God. I had started to imagine that my relationship with Him was one between a grown-up child and his Father.

Looking at my infant, I could not help but wonder if I was wrong about that.

God has infinite wisdom and knowledge compared to me. It is thus not an exaggeration to say I might as well be an infant when compared to Him.

I hope that I have matured to bridge that gap, but in reality, I frequently act no better than an infant.

What can we learn from the Bible’s imperfect fathers?

Let me explain. My son, being an infant, has real and pressing needs.

Despite that, he cannot communicate what they are. What is less clear, is whether he is aware of what is wrong with him in the first place.

Unable to speak or communicate in a more meaningful manner, his choice of communication mode is to wail at an incredible volume.

This would not be so bad if he stopped wailing the moment we started addressing his needs.

Unfortunately, that is not how Ethan — or any baby for that matter — works.

Pictured: Ethan (left), Fuddle Wuddle (right).

At present, Ethan wakes up in the middle of the night between 2 am to 4 am to feed.

On one occasion, I rushed to the fridge to warm up some milk the moment I was awoken by his crying. I vividly remember sitting him on my lap while I warmed up his milk next to me.

It would take about two minutes to warm the milk, but during these two minutes he continued to wail while looking at me in the eyes.

I’m not sure if a child knows what betrayal is, but I was sure I saw it in his eyes.

What trying to be a great dad taught me about the Good Father

As far as I could tell, He appeared completely unaware that I was preparing his meal.

Didn’t he know that cold milk would be bad for him? Didn’t he know that there was nothing I could do to speed up the process?

Too often have I been like hungry Ethan, only focused on my own hunger and unable to see how God might already have set things into motion to meet my needs.

I assumed I would need to convince Him how He needed to meet my needs, but He knew more about my own needs than I did.

Even more so than I desired to feed Ethan in a timely manner, the Lord knows my needs. His providence is perfect.

And so, just as I warm up cold milk at 2 am and prepare food that benefits Ethan, God prepares my daily bread for me.

Trusting in my Heavenly Father, I shall not be in want.

THINK + TALK

  1. How do you think you’d fare as a first-time parent?
  2. Consider the areas of lack in your life. Whether it’s selfishness or a lack of capacity, what are some ways the Lord might challenge and grow you in?
  3. This week, what is one practical way you can be a blessing to your dad or a father figure in your life?