Our first pregnancy wasn't planned.
Evanna and I were married in July 2009, and fell pregnant eleven weeks later.
I didn't feel ready.
We were old enough (my Dad was six years younger when he began my family), but for so many reasons, I didn't feel ready - spiritually, emotionally, relationally - to be a Dad. On top of that, we'd only been married five minutes; weren't we supposed to build some stronger foundation before this? How could we afford it anyway? We didn't have savings - in fact we had debt! But the lines on the pregnancy test wouldn't change - no matter how many times I looked at it.
My wife went off to work, but I stayed behind, dazed. I was all kinds of emotions; all tangled and confused in a way that left me somehow numb. I sat down on the couch in my study, and looked for God. I opened up my Bible, and found Psalm 139.
"O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them"
(Psalm 139: 1-3, 13-16)
I'm not sure why I went to Psalm 139; I'd read it before, but it wasn't yet a Psalm that I knew well. But God took me there, because He wanted to comfort me. I didn't know my child - a son, it would turn out - but God knew him already. Life had already begun; already within my wife a new being was coming together, and he was being knit together by God.
When you read pregnancy books, they liken a growing baby to various fruits and vegetables; first they're a pea, then a grape, a pumpkin… on and on, up the fruit aisle. With each stage of this child's development, it was comforting to know that God was weaving him together, intricately crafting this baby, preparing him for us.
I love my kids - but God loves them more. I'm not alone in the fearful endeavour of parenting; God is with me, a Father of fathers, sharing my joys and holding me up in his arms. Psalm 139 tells me he has always been there; when my son was unformed substance, unknown and mysterious, God saw it all. I was uncertain and unsure, but God had planned every day that he would live, and had already formed the path before him, making it ready for him to step into his destiny. On that day when I discovered I was a father, I also came to understand something of my heavenly Father.
Psalm 139 is a celebration of life - and of the one who makes it. Each one of us is unique - handcrafted and treasured by our Heavenly Father, who watches us grow and celebrates as each sinew comes together. Each one of us is valuable, because we come from the hand of God.