Power of Pacifiers
My son, Conri, is one year old today! What a year it’s been! He’s gone from a helpless little babe, covered in his daddy’s joyful tears as I held him for the first time, to the strapping young toddler he is today, covered in blackberries and a smile ear-to-ear as he feeds himself. He’s my favorite, to say the least, and I can’t imagine what life would be like for my wife Charissa and I without him. I’m one proud papa, and seeing him grow and learn and the curiosity he has for the world is astounding. I’m lost for words at the love I never knew I had inside of me and seeing or feeling it well up for my son is … inspiring. But one part of him that he hasn’t grown out of is his love of his pacifier.
One thing we found out quickly is that he is a self-soother. Meaning that there is a certain level of fussiness that he can deal with himself. He might need to grunt it out when he’s working on a poop, or sometimes he just needs to kick against the couch to help expend his energy (which he has a bunch of for a baby). But sometimes he can’t do it himself. Sometimes he needs mom or dad to help him come back to peace. Sometimes it’s as simple as putting the blanket back over him or giving him his evening bath so he can play in the water. But, the majority of the time he just needs his pacifier. As soon as he feels it in his mouth and starts sucking on it, he’s the happiest baby. He longs for it at times… he searches for it in the dead of night when he’s asleep, he knows the power of the pacifier and the peace that it brings him.
So often we find ways to pacify our own discomforts and pains. We find fixes that help us in that moment such as books, media, exercise, work, etc. But there are times when we can’t sooth ourselves, in times of heartache, strife, conflict… we don’t have the power of peace on our side. Thankfully, thankfully we have a loving God that longs for us to know him deeply and rest in his peace. He gives us the pacifiers we need exactly when we need them. He’ll give us a word to encourage us, or maybe it’s just a little glimpse of his love, as in a masterpiece painting in the sky as a sunset. Like Conri knows the power of the pacifier in times when he can’t do it himself, I pray that we all know the power of peace that God has for us in all moments.
A Reflection of Self
Over the past year, I’ve noticed an interesting shift at how I even view myself. I know I’m a Son of God and an heir to his throne, I’ve gained that understanding as a truth in my life. But what I didn’t realize is how my relationship with God has changed, drastically I might add. I’ve learned more about being a Son, by becoming a Father. There’s been a fundamental change in how I view myself and my relationship with my Daddy God. The more Conri grows and learns about himself and all that accompanies that, the more I see my reflection in him in my growth in my understanding and learning about myself as a Son of God. It’s awesome (not in the common sense of the word, but the meaning of being awestruck and captivated). It’s become a time full of wonder and a new sense of joy and curiosity in what revelation will God give me about his love. It’s been humbling and, if we’re being totally transparent and honest, too much at times. I’ve been flooded with his love in ways that I can’t explain and the only thing I can do is weep and sob as I’m overcome by his Love and Goodness.
I understand things totally different now. Like the analogy we see in Hebrews 5:11-14 where Paul talks about moving from Spiritual Milk to Spiritual Meat, and how we have to learn how to feed ourselves so that we are sustained by God’s Love and Truth. I look at Conri, and I see his progression from milk, to baby food, to crackers, to juice, to berries, to eating whatever I’m eating (in baby size bites of course); the joy he has when he grabs a blackberry and squishes it in his hand before he shoves it in his mouth. And then I look at myself and the things that God has shown me this past year. The newfound love for my middle schoolers that was never there before (more on that at another time), to love of solitude and pursuing his presence, the love of reading, the love of seeing my wife and baby play together and the joy that wells up inside of me; all of this progressing from the fundamental change he brought me when Conri was born. The pride that I have in seeing my son grow and feed himself, and then feeling the pride that God feels for me when I find a new revelation in him by searching for him or when his Spirit falls upon me and speaks his Truth and Love through me. Again, even as I write this, I’m lost for words at his Love.
What a Day!
I’m reminded of a time when I felt my own dad’s pride over me. I had just graduated from AIT in the Army, and my family was there to celebrate with me and take me home. My dad hugged me tight and said, through some broken-voice-tears “I’m proud of you, Son” (I don’t say this to diminish the love and pride my mother felt that day as well, but there’s something different about it).
I look at my life 1 year ago today, when Charissa was in labor, I was exhausted and our dear friend Tina was praying for us and with us in our delivery room. Aside from some great memories/ stories we made during that journey, Tina was certainly the family we needed at that time since our families were still 8+ hours away in Illinois. And then at 1:20pm (or somewhere close to that), our little Wolf King, Conri Matthew Barnett, made his grand debut at 8lbs 1oz and 21 inches long! After a comedic “extraction” of the placenta (ask me about it later), Charissa was able to hold our son and enjoy the fruit of her labor (see what I did there – hehe 😊). When I held him and just sobbed, I couldn’t contain the love I felt for my little man and I told Charissa, through my tears, “I didn’t know I could love this much”.
Then we fast forward just one year, to today! He’s one year old! And looking through the pictures we’ve taken this past year, I can’t help but feel a sense of pride and love for my son. He’s faced fears already, he’s a walking machine, he’s made friends (and he’s a flirt already – uh oh!), and he loves to play and walk outside. He knows his name already. He’s taught me a new way to love, and has changed something inside of me that I never knew was there before; I can’t quite put words to it, but something in my spirit has changed, in a great, revelatory way, about God’s love for me. Not just as a follower of Christ, but my new-found name of “Daddy” and how I’ve changed as God’s Son.
I’m full of questions and a yearning for a deeper understanding of who I am in Christ, and the gifts and things he’s put inside of me and how I’m supposed to release his Spirit around me. I’m full of a curiosity to see Conri grow up, and what revelation I’ll gain through him about God. I’m a changed man since I’ve become a dad, and I’m excited to see what God will do to/for/through me. I’ll keep using this place that I’m building via blog to explore this journey and find the secrets God gives me; you’re more than welcome to join me and my family on this journey of discovery!