Everything is calm and quiet. As I am laying there looking at her tiny little face, feeling every breath she takes on my chest, being completely in awe of her beauty and perfection, I reflect on the past 24 hours. In the background I can hear the faint but beautiful sound of this song “Forever He is glorified, forever He is lifted high, forever He is risen, He is alive, He is alive…”
My birth plan didn’t go as expected. And with ‘didn’t’, I mean nothing on my birth planned happened except ‘skin-to-skin’. It was what I would call a 23.5-hour disaster. But, what came at the almost 24-hour mark made it all worth it. She was and is beautifully and wonderfully made. Nothing could have really prepared me for this moment. I didn’t have the overwhelming feeling that I’ve heard about so often; the one filled with tears and tons of emotions. It was more like a moment of being in complete and utter awe, coupled with complete exhaustion. However, I can say I did feel a sense of responsibility come over me that is indescribable. It was almost as if someone put a mantle on my shoulder, not a burden, but a final touch of a calling made real.
At eight weeks pregnant, my husband and I were in Nicaragua on a missions trip with Light of Life International. And, when I was ten weeks pregnant, we were in Switzerland with our own ministry, Ignite Europe, having a pastors conference and nights of worship. At that point in time of pregnancy the baby starts developing her hearing. That is one thing that I made sure I was aware of. I constantly had worship playing in the background. During the event in Switzerland I sang on the worship team. This was special to me because I knew that the first thing that my daughter will hear is her mommy and others around her worshipping. I continued to be very sensitive about what was being played around me. I’m not sure why I was like that, but for some reason that was almost more important to me than what I ate (don’t worry, I ate well).
During labor we had worship playing in the background. Also, as soon as our daughter was born and the three of us had finally made it to our room, we turned on worship music. In fact we had Kari Jobe’s new album, “Forever” on repeat. It was perfect, it was peaceful, it was the Word of God.
Once we got home, the only way our daughter, Bailey Milana, would sleep was to “Forever” and later other worship albums. When she started crying, I would start playing those songs and she would immediately stop and calm down (unless she was hungry of course).
When she was only about 6 weeks old, we went to a chapel service at the university where my husband is Dean of Students. It so happened that our good friend, who was our worship leader during our event in Switzerland, happened to be leading worship that day. The minute I walked into the room with Bailey, she looked at me and started smiling real big. I am convinced that she recognized his voice because him singing was one of the first things she ever heard.
Fast forward to today. When Bailey hears music, especially worship, she stops in her track and looks around to see where it is coming from. Usually it plays on our Apple TV. She starts smiling and rocking to the beat. There is nothing that captures her attention as much as worship.
I believe that every child has gifts and talents that they are born with; a calling that is planted deep inside of their hearts. I believe that her like for music is part of who she is no matter if I played worship her whole life or not. However, it is my responsibility to nurture the gift, the call and the godly desires of my child.
Start children off on the way they should go,
and even when they are old they will not turn from it.
– Proverbs 22:6
She also likes books. I started reading to her at an early age. Same thing, when I grab a book and she sees it she will leave whatever toy she’s playing with to come look at the book.
I could have played only secular music, any TV shows and read only “Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?” to her, but I believe that the impact and outcome would have been completely different. Now, don’t get me wrong, we do listen to a good Taylor Swift song, watch one of my TV shows I like and read “Brown Bear, Brown Bear”. However, those are not our focus. I do my best to read The Children’s Bible to her daily, have worship playing most of the time and choose tv shows or movies wisely. Why? Because it is very important what goes into the eyes and ultimately into the heart of children (and adults). I want to capitalize on her potential and nurture her to the best of my abilities. Through that I will lead her in the right direction because I want her to succeed in this thing called life.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth.
– Psalm 127:4
My legacy that I will leave behind one day is not only what I personally have accomplished but also what my daughter will accomplish after I’m gone. Therefore, I will continue to guard her little eyes and her heart. I will cheer her on as she explores her gifts and talents. And, I will be right there encouraging her when she steps out in faith to pursue her calling.