The only time I’ve associated the word parent is with my mom or my dad, but with our little baby coming in July, this title is going to define Tyler and me too. When I think on that though, the word parenting seems to involve a long list of duties and responsibilities, and I can’t help but look at that list and wonder if I’ll measure up. Will things like love your kids unconditionally, discipline them only when necessary, and encourage them relentlessly come naturally?

I think on my own childhood and remember the annual family vacations, the celebratory birthday parties, the bed-time reading and praying, the dance parties to Little Willy, the late-night watching of I Love Lucy, the hard laughter and the strong support.

My childhood was… the absolute best, really. Even though one article can’t do my memories justice, it’s clear to me that my childhood was made awesome because of my parents. My ridiculously solid, loving, supportive, fun parents.

But what did they do that was so absolutely right? It is how they saw me.

How they saw me carries quite the resemblance to how God sees me.

Just as I am my parent’s creation, I am His creation. Once I became theirs, they weren’t making a laundry list of ways I didn’t measure up. Same with God – once I became His, He didn’t see me as the sinner I obviously was. Instead, His perception of me was good and righteous and lovely the very second I put my faith in Him.

Just as my parents support me 110%, no questions asked, with their back up to mine, every stinkin’ day, so does my God. I am theirs. Just as I am His.

And because of how they saw me, they called out the best in me. They believed I could do anything, and in turn, I started to believe that, and I grew up knowing that. Do you see the correlation now? God also calls out the best in me. He calls me righteousness, a victorious saint, a Christian that because of my faith, I can’t be moved. And in turn, I started to believe that, and I now know that.

With all of that being said, I hope to love my baby just like that. I hope to love him or her in a way that doesn’t focus, doesn’t even recall his weaknesses, but points out her gifts, strengths and unique calling. And by speaking this truth over my kid, I am determined to call out the best. Because I believed in this little one, like Christ believes, I’m determined that he or she will also have the best stinkin’ childhood a kid could ever have. And if you are a parent, I encourage you to do the same.

So thanks, mom and dad. For believing in me when others didn’t. For loving me even when it wasn’t easy. For telling me the great calling I have over my life even when I doubted the path. And ultimately, for being the best example of Christ’s ever-resounding love and showing me how He protects, advocates, cherishes, and withstands.