There is something otherworldly and sacred about it. Those first moments with your little baby. There is nothing like it. It’s hard to explain or describe, and you realize you don’t know how to put it all into words.
The wonder of humanity and the mystery of love, all wrapped up and held in your arms.
There were so many choices and decisions that were made prior to that moment. This little baby in your arms is the result of thought, care, and intention. Now, here he is in your arms.
I didn’t know what to do with myself. Usually in overwhelming moments, I’m nowhere to be found. I’m stuck there, quiet and absent from everything else going on around. In those early moments with Brennan, I couldn’t help but notice his little intricacies. I counted his fingers and toes. I looked closely at his ears and eyes. I couldn’t help but see that he was the perfect blend of ‘brown’ and ‘white’. I started thinking about his future. What would his life become? What would he accomplish? Would he make a lot of mistakes? I began to wonder what he would think of me. Would I be a good dad?
I started thinking of my dad. He had passed away when 19. On the day my son was born, I wished my dad was there to see my little boy. I wanted his fatherly advice for me, and I wanted his loving smile. I wished with every fiber in my soul that my dad was there. But he wasn’t and I needed wisdom and grace from another source.
Finding Brennan’s face again after thinking too much, brought me back to reality. I wouldn’t be perfect, but I would try my hardest. I wouldn’t have it all together, but I would give him everything I could possibly give. His peaceful sleep made my mind quiet. He was entirely dependent on me, and a piece of my heart would forever be beating in his.
It hit me… I love this human being like I’ve never loved another soul.
The name Brennan has much meaning for me. A year after my dad passed away, I found myself at Portland Bible College, studying theology and living away from home for the first time in my life. I struggled in my identity and wondered at times who I was. There were many nights of angry questions directed at God with no apparent answers. In spite of that, I knew from the moment I got there that I needed to be there.
A student leader, who turned out to be a great friend, introduced me to the writings of Brennan Manning. He had written numerous books about God’s abounding love and limitless grace for us, but there was one book he wrote that wrecked me – The Ragamuffin Gospel. My friend gave me this book and I couldn’t put it down.
I didn’t know that God loved His children so much. I didn’t know that God didn’t need me to be perfect before he accepted me. I learned that I belonged to God and nothing could possibly separate me from his love. So much of what I’ve come to learn and accept about God was a result of reading this man’s books.
In a season of my life where I wasn’t sure where to turn for father, his books taught me that it was possible to see God as father. There was a God who understood my situation and loved me, and believed in me, and even liked me. Brennan Manning taught me that.
When the time came for us to pick a name for our son, Brennan made all the sense in the world. My Brennan daily reminds me of God’s fathering love towards me, and how much I want to love and care for my son.
“Having a child is like mortgaging out a piece of your heart; a piece of your heart that will never come back. Whatever happens to that child will affect you forever…”
I heard a wise grandma say that… I couldn’t agree with her more.
We have mutual friends who are going through a crisis with their newborn son. Things aren’t looking good, but they’re praying, hoping, and believing for a miracle. My wife and I are praying for their family. I can’t help but cry with them for their son, believe that something just might change, and fervently pray with so many others that are doing just the same.
Seeing their situation and comparing it to ours, we quickly recognize how fragile and precious life is. Our children truly are a gift from above… May we cherish the gifts in life that matter most.
Brennan is a miracle in my arms, and he will forever have a place in my heart.