Unless the Lord builds the house,
the builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the guards stand watch in vain.
In vain you rise early
and stay up late,
toiling for food to eat—
for he grants sleep to those he loves.
Children are a heritage from the Lord,
offspring a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are children born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
when they contend with their opponents in court.
Nearly every baby born is viewed as a treasure at his birth. I’m sure some are not looked forward to, but the tenderness of a baby predisposes them to be cherished just for their helpless state. But that first time the child cries all night, I can tell you, it is really hard to keep the perspective that she is a treasure. Our sleep deprived brains sense the cause of our sleep deprivation as a minor enemy, and it is very challenging to find the balance, patience, and courage we parents need. We may feel guilty placing the screaming baby in the crib alone and walking out for ten minutes to get a grip on our frustration, but we also feel guilty and fearful holding that bundle of stress knowing our anger and frustrations are rising.
As an “old” mom let me just say, place the baby safely in the bed. Walk away. Wake your husband or call your mom. The baby’s safety is the priority at the moment, and sleep deprived, stressed moms need to take a step back. Don’t feel guilty. Know that you are doing what is safe and healthy for that little one you love so – most of the time – just not at 3:08 a.m.
But that is only the first threat to viewing our child as a treasure. Those threats keep coming, new ones arrive with each natural step in a child’s development.
In the high chair feeding stage, when they throw their sticky green food on your beautiful white blouse as you head out to the office, in that moment they may not feel like a treasure. What do you do? Laugh so you don’t cry and change the blouse. It is what it is.
At two years old when the answer to everything is “NO!” and you can’t win because nothing pleases them in those moments, they don’t feel very treasure-like. When that three or four-year-old has a lay down on the ground fit in an inconvenient place and you are terribly embarrassed, they don’t feel like that treasure they did the day they were born. When that pre-teen’s smart mouth kicks in and you want to exchange them for that sweet child you used to know… nothing to treasure there. When they are sixteen and rebelling against your authority, or twenty-three and they are so far off the path of righteousness that you wonder if they will live, the treasure meter reads zero.
All of those experiences make you lose perspective on this treasure God gave you, this baby, child, teen or adult treasure. It will likely cause you to feel a wave of negative feelings from irritation to fear to anger to disgust to desperation and hatred. But those feelings are only that – they are feelings conjured up by thoughts and chemicals in our brains. Don’t trust you feelings! The truth is found in God’s word – children are a heritage, a treasure, a reward. That is the truth. That is not a feeling. That is from God not man. That can be trusted.
If we keep this truth ever-present in our minds the Enemy of Our Souls will not be able to gain power over us. He will not be able to make us say or do something we may regret. But we must always know the truth, for the truth sets us free. (John 8:31-32) Free from the enemy’s grip and the fleshly temptation to view what God calls a treasure as an inconvenience, or to allow our minds to be wrapped up and controlled by those negative emotions that our child can trigger in us.
That is why it is crucial to have God’s word stored in our memories. Feelings can only be changed by placing God’s truth in our minds to overcome the barrage of negative thoughts that trigger negative emotions. Scripture tells us how to do that, and it is really a very simple concept, but a difficult one to master.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.Philippians 4:8
We are to replace every negative thought with thoughts that are true and noble and right and pure and lovely and admirable and excellent and praiseworthy! If you can do that with every thought, your emotions will fall in line and you will be exercising the Spirit’s fruit of self-control. It can be done, but it takes a lot of practice, trust me! Why don’t you start today. Choose to trust the truths of God’s word and keep them ever before your eyes, don’t trust your feelings.
That child, no matter their age, really is a treasure – God says so!