“For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you.” 2 Thessalonians 3:7
PRAYER: Dear Heavenly Father, our joy and crown, Thank you for the gift of joy, which you give to those who abide in you. Bless Baby, dear Lord. Thank you for the joy we’ve felt since his birth. May he continue growing into a wise son who brings joy to all who know him. Show him the path of life, because we know that in your presence is fullness of joy and at your right hand there are pleasures for evermore. Please keep us in your joy throughout our lives so that when we die we will testify that you kept us from falling and presented us “faultless before the presence of your glory with exceeding joy.”
THOUGHT: Can a four-month-old chase his father? Sure! Just use Mommy as his jet-pack propulsion! Some babies really enjoy chasing games from a very young age!
ACTIVITY: Have Daddy trot (rather slowly) around the house with you in “hot pursuit,” holding Baby out in front and keeping Daddy just out of reach. At some point, Daddy might escape completely, but at other times, he could allow Baby to “catch” him. Then, Daddy can whisk Baby up on his shoulders and trot off (always supporting Baby’s head, neck, and back as needed) with Mama in “hot pursuit.” Mama can pretend to fall behind or not be able to catch up as they go round and round the living room or through the house, but at some point, Mom should say, “I gotcha!” Then, as Dad stops, Mom can give both Baby and Daddy a bear hug from the back, take Baby from off Dad’s shoulders (as Dad carefully passes Baby to her), and the game can begin again. Or, you can have Dad and Mom change places and have Daddy chase the next round.
“But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received…an odor of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well pleasing to God.” Philippians. 4:18
PRAYER: Dear Glorious God, how is it that your son was willing to lay aside his splendor and come down from glory to live among us…to put aside his own garments, and wash his disciples feet…to die in our place? We are awed by the transcendent humility of our savior and his example of self-sacrifice. Bless us all with humility! Help us to look out not only for ourselves, but for the needs of others, developing the mind of Christ who humbled himself to the point of allowing his reputation to be ruined and his life given for us. May this mindset of Christ Jesus be in us too.
THOUGHT: Dan, the best man in our wedding, did not marry until he was in his thirties, and after thinking that he may never have a child, he was absolutely “in love” with his little daughter when she was born. Although my husband never wanted to change dirty diapers, Dan changed Erika’s dirty diaper without batting an eye. When I asked how he happened to be willing to do so humble a chore, he responded, “My baby’s diapers smell like roses.” Alan and I both burst into laughter, but we got the point, and after that Alan started changing diapers sometimes too. When you deeply treasure your child, no task is too menial, and everything becomes a privilege because you understand that your child’s very existence is a great honor.
ACTIVITY: Have you honored your child with a rose? Consider buying a rose and/or some rose water to delight Baby, freshen the room after diaper changes, and help you remember that your child is a great treasure.
“What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.” Psalm 56:3-4
PRAYER: We love you, O LORD, our rock, our fortress, and our deliverer, our God, our strength in whom we will trust, our buckler, the horn of our salvation, and our high tower. Bless Baby, dear Lord, may she grow to have an unshakeable faith in you. Help us to trust you in all circumstances and fear only your displeasure. Thank you that we can call upon you in our distress and you will grant us wisdom and grace. May we always hide in the cleft of you, our rock, and make you the sure foundation of our lives and home.
THOUGHT: Do you anguish over every little pain Baby feels? Do you worry about whether or not you’re making the right choices as a mother? This is completely normal and a healthy sign that you want to be a good parent. True security lies in trusting God and walking in obedience to him.
ACTIVITY: If you find yourself insecure about “how you’re doing” as a mother (which I often did), consider making a list of concerns to discuss with the Lord and your husband. If you’re particularly stumped on some issues, consider calling your mother if she’s available or some other godly, older woman. I had two spiritual mothers (sisters) who were incredibly reassuring and helpful! Their own children had turned out so well that I trusted their opinions, and they were extremely wise and thoughtful in working through problems and possible solutions. Be open! Say pointedly: “I’m insecure about this. Do you think I did (am doing) the right thing? What would you recommend?” God intends for older women to be loving resources for younger women (Titus 2:3-5).
“Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” Psalm 37:4
PRAYER: Oh, Father, teach us to delight ourselves in you, so that the desires of our hearts are exactly in tune with your will. We thirst for your living water, dear Lord. Thank you for your wonderful invitation: “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters.” Thank you that the Lord Jesus Christ is the water of life and the bread of life. Bless Baby, dear Lord. May her little body be filled with every good thing from our hands, and may her spirit be made alive and filled with honey out of the rock, water from your fountain of life, and the bread of heaven.
THOUGHT: Even if Baby is still being exclusively breastfed, it may be wise to teach her how to use a bottle. This leaves you with the option of expressing some milk and leaving a bottle with a sitter so you can be gone for longer, and it also provides an easier transition in the unlikely event you catch pneumonia (like my nursing niece did) or some other crisis arises that makes it impossible for you to nurse for awhile.
ACTIVITY: If nursing is going well for you and Baby, then you may have never tried (or given up on trying) to get her to use a bottle every once in awhile. After all, why should Baby accept anything else if she can have warm, sweet milk from a soft, snug bottle (you)? Whether or not Baby has ever learned the art of drinking water from a bottle, how about giving her some training with bottled breast milk? Learning to express milk is also good for you in case Baby is so ill at some point that she doesn’t milk you out and you become painfully overfull. If you can pump a little extra breast milk sometime, try freezing it in ice cube trays and storing the cubes in a zip-lock bag for future reference.
“I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word.”
PRAYER: Dear Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Thank you for being the first: the firstborn of every creature, the firstborn from the dead, the firstborn among many brothers (us!). Thank you for providing a way of escape for us so that we can be re-born as one of Jesus’ brothers through the precious blood of Christ, the spotless Lamb of God. May we become lambs like you: gentle and blameless, as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves, full of grace and truth. As we watch every exciting new first in Baby’s life, may we constantly remember to put you first in our lives. As a family, may we be first to love, to avoid all evil, and to keep your word.
THOUGHT: Isn’t it fun watching for the new things Baby learns to do? You may find your baby advancing in an entirely different pattern from how some other baby progresses, but I think it’s extremely important to keep watching what Baby does. Just being aware to look for progress helps you recognize the direction of Baby’s growth and makes you better able to coach, encourage, and provide for Baby.
ACTIVITY: Are you working on a list of “firsts?” If you haven’t started yet, how about making a list today? Understanding what your infant can do and what he’s trying to learn will help you tailor your “teaching” times. Scattering little one-to-three minute play times throughout Baby’s days will enrich his life tremendously just by helping him envision his own potential. Did you ever sit on your father’s shoulders so you could see a parade better? Think of this when you’re working with Baby. You are lifting him up so he can see farther into the wide world beyond his tiny crib!
“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” 2 Corinthians 4:17
PRAYER: Dear God, you are so tender with us, like a nurse who cherishes her children. Thank you that you are longsuffering and not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. Thank you for your forbearance and the riches of your goodness, which lead us to repentance. Thank you also for the suffering you allow to help us mature, and for your chastening when we go astray. Dear Father, we ask for a special blessing on Baby’s father today. May he be a clear reflection of your love and guidance. May he be like the LORD, our Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, who said, “I am the LORD thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go.” Please give Daddy great wisdom as the head of our home to bring up Baby in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. May he ever model you in his self-control, mercy, tender love, and compassionate discipline and correction.
THOUGHT: If you’re a stay-at-home mom, you’re one of the greatly privileged few who are so blessed, and Baby is exceedingly fortunate, because he has the person who knows him most intimately to care for him each day. Even if that is the only thing your husband ever does to help (and I’m sure it’s not), that’s huge. Or, if you both work outside the home, praise God that you have a team of two to help care for your family!
ACTIVITY: For today’s activity, how about writing out a list of all the things you and Baby really appreciate about Daddy and to share with him tonight? If you can make your husband your first human priority, your little team of three will have a win-win-win situation!
“That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: for in him we live, and move, and have our being.” Acts 17:27-28
PRAYER: Dear Abba, Father, how true it is that in you we live and move and have our being! Thank you that you are not far from us, even when we cannot feel your presence. Help us to feel our way to you until you are the most real thing in the world to us! Help us to seek you until we have drawn so near that we experience your love as a palpable sensation. Help each of us envision ourselves as sitting on your lap, our head resting on your shoulder. May we seek you early and find you as we search for you with all our hearts. Let us hear you singing and rejoicing over our souls, and may our prayers always be to you, our father, and the God of our lives.
THOUGHT: Today may not be a convenient time, but Baby is now probably ready to enjoy a “ feel” field trip to a fabric shop! Our youngest child’s favorite comfort ended up being a little satin blanket I made for him after I discovered how much he liked that feel. He called it his “silky” and carried it around with him for several years after he learned to walk, often falling asleep while rubbing it between his thumb and fingers.
ACTIVITY: On a pleasant morning when you don’t have anything pressing, how about taking Baby to a fabric shop just to let her feel all the different textures that are on those irresistible bolts of fabric? Material comes in so many different attractive colors, designs, and textures. See if you can figure out which fabric is most pleasing to Baby. If your baby doesn’t have a favorite blanket yet, consider buying enough material to make a little 12” square comforter (or maybe several, so you can wash one and keep a spare in your diaper bag) out of some delightful material that Baby seems to like especially!