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 139:13-16 ESV

JournalEntryTo my children-

All of you came forth in your mother in this way, fearfully and wonderfully made. On the eve of the birth of our fourth child I have something to write you.

Children, I love your mother.

Let me be clear, this is not a long walk in the parks, watching sunsets, or even kissing in the rain kind of love. Those are all well and fine, and I hope you all can experience those things someday with someone you treasure. However, it is not love, it is romance.  Romance rests its foundations upon sand. Romance is fleeting. No, the love I speak of is won in the trenches, day in and day out.

 It comes from wisdom gained in weathering storms spawned by our foolish youth.

It comes from locking eyes in what may be the final moments as every nurse on the delivery floor is in a flurry around you.

It comes from clothes stained with spit up, snot, mucus, vomit, blood, dirt, grass, urine, poop, chocolate milk….

It comes from sacrifice in trying not to keep up with the Jones’ so we can keep up with the Clark’s.

It comes from shared joys and disappointments; pleasures and pains.

This love comes not from me. I am completely incapable of loving your mother, but God loves your mother. The more I see the fullness of God and His gracious love the more I love your mother through Him. Every parent will tell you “life changes forever once you have children,” and I always thought, “of course it does.” I had no idea, and no one ever does, until you are holding that little soul in your arms.

I have no choice but to see this life through the lens of a father, and this includes your mother.  This lens is a wonderful burden.  This lens refines my understanding of love. Fatherhood is both a microscope to my heart and a telescope to God the Father. I see the darkness in my heart so much clearer and thus my utter dependence on Christ. Yet, I get a glimpse, ever so faint, of the relationship with our heavenly Father.  I know of a father’s love for his children and can appreciate God’s love for us, and I know of a father’s love for his children and can appreciate the sacrifice made for us. God uses marriage and parenting as tools for the message of the Gospel. If marriage renders the Gospel in color, parenting brings it up to high definition.

So, my children, you are blessings and I thank God for lending you to us. Make no mistake your mother and I will fail, we are sinners, but I pray our marriage will be a living example of the Gospel as long as we both have breath in our lungs. I love your mother and God has used you to demonstrate that to me all the more. For this I praise Him, and pray you would see the love I have for your mother as the reality of God’s love poured out for us.

-In Him

Your father

 

4 Responses to A Letter to My Children, Regarding Your Mother

  1. Hollie says:

    Thanks for making me cry for probably the 100th time today! I love you.

  2. Kate Ehresman says:

    Wow, Carl. Love this!!

  3. Sara Cogar says:

    How I wish every father could read this, Carl and would feel as you do. That they would also trust in the heavenly Father as you do.
    I’m proud of you, Carl and I love you

  4. Brett Burkhart says:

    Well put, my friend. Your kids will need this writing one day when they’re older and it will be a great benefit at that moment to reassure them that real love exists in this world.