Category Archives: DadLife

James Atticus Gardner

It’s been just over two months since James arrived January 27th at 9:22 a.m.  Wow – has it already been that long?  And how has it only been two months?!  In the last eight weeks, my emotions have been all over the map.  With each new day of fatherhood comes a new adventure in trusting God.

James Atticus.jpgIt all started with an adrenaline rush that began when Emily said, “I think my water just broke,” continued when I held James for the first time, all warm and snug in his swaddle, and started to wane as 24 of sleeplessness hit me in the postpartum wing of the hospital.

As we left the hospital, adrenaline turned to fear.  Emily and I are now RESPONSIBLE. Who cleared us to be parents?  I’ll never forget the scary feeling of driving back to the hospital within six hours of leaving because we were worried about him.  I often still find myself listening for our breathing child at night, making sure he’s okay.

Fear is often trumped by joy and excitement.  Our family has grown by one, and I could not imagine a more perfect child.  The last two months have been two of the best and most challenging months of my life.

It truly is a daily adventure.  No knowing what tomorrow will hold for Emily, James, and I. But what’s great is that I can rest in the knowledge that God knows.  And that’s going to have to be good enough for me.


the waiting game

For parents, the weeks leading up to birth are stressful.  If you don’t agree, read my post from yesterday.  It will stress you out.  But it’s not only because of the fear of complications, lack of money, and the unknowns associated with birth.  It’s also the WAITING.

In all reality, Emily could pop at any moment now.  True, her due date is not for another 2 1/2 weeks, but we’re officially full-term, so our little guy could decide he’s ready 2 1/2 minutes from now and make his way into the world.  This puts a whole new dimension of feelings into the mix — thoughts of WAITING.

In my perfect world, God would tell me (audibly, of course, because it’s my perfect world) the exact time and day James will arrive, insuring that I have packed the bags properly, planned time off work accordingly, and escaped the need to continuously ask Emily about her recent contractions.  Was that a big one?  How many have you had in the last hour?  I would have no need for WAITING.


But what if waiting has some special purpose?  What if God has designed, in some strange only-God-knows way, waiting to be part of His plan?

Isaiah tells us that when we wait, we will be given strength.

David cries out, Wait on the Lord!

James instructs to be patient and wait for the return of Jesus.

Paul tells the Romans, “We know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (Romans 5:3-5, NIV).

In my eyes, waiting and suffering are synonymous.  To wait is to suffer.  And when we wait, leaning on God’s understanding, we can know that our waiting will lead perseverance, which leads to character, which points to hope.  And our hope is found in God’s love.  AND we don’t have to wait alone.  We have the Holy Spirit, “who has been given to us” on our side.

So when we wait, we continue to develop our faith and trust in our Savior.  When we wait, we acknowledge we are not in control, and we have to look to Jesus.  When we wait, God is glorified.

What are you waiting for?

God: “do you trust me?”

I’m about to be a dad.  Yes, our little James is already here, and he’s been alive for going on nine months, but he’s about to be HERE.  His flailing body, fragile head, and tiny fingers are about to be a reality in my arms.  That scares me poopless.  What if I hold him wrong?  What happens when he cries for hours on end for no apparent reason?  I’ve never even changed a diaper!  How do I know that his delivery will be successful?  Will he be healthy?  What if he has some sort of medical disability?  What if…?  How do I…?  Ahhh!!

Emily and I just got home from another preparing for childbirth class in which we learned all about the complications associated with pain management and the interventions that may need to be taken at anytime during labor.  What happens if James’ cord comes out the wrong way and we have to go into emergency surgery?  Will the nurse anesthetist miss the epidural layer and cause Emily’s heart to stop?  Will our baby suffer from Erb’s palsy?

Not only that, but how are we going to afford another member in our family?  I don’t make all that much as a youth pastor and Emily doesn’t work.  I’m certainly not complaining about what God has blessed us with, but is it going to be enough?  Labor is expensive enough, and then we have diapers and clothes and… college!

Welcome to my world.

These thoughts can be all-consuming.  Every ounce of mental and emotional energy can be wrapped up in the “what if” and the unknown.  It doesn’t have to be about becoming a father or struggling with money.  This world is filled with problems, issues, and fears.  And it’s in times like these in which we need to look to God.

I imagine Aladdin to be an accurate picture of God in my life right now.


He’s looking at me, on His carpet of faith with his hand extended, asking: “Do you trust me?”

And my response has to be a simple “yes.”  And when I do that, I am taking His hand, stepping out in faith, and letting Him guide me and my family on this adventure called life.

I don’t know what the future holds, but I believe that God does.  And I’m far better off placing my hand in His, giving Him my worries, and letting Him guide.

What fears do you need to give to God?  And where do you need to let Him guide? 

Photo credit here.