I am a child of God, and he has sent me here.
Has given me an earthly home with parents kind and dear.
Lead me, guide me, walk beside me.
Help me find the way.
Teach me all that I must do, to live with him someday.
This simple song I learned as a child is now a song my kids enjoy singing with me. It’s also taken on new meaning for me as a parent. This song provided much needed words of comfort shortly after the birth of my first child.
Amanda Shay Nelson came into this world kicking and screaming December 19, 2013. My wife endured 48-hours of hard labor. Tisha, a soft and gentle person, demonstrated amazing strength and resilience. Her determination to give birth on her own terms strengthened my resolve to be right by her side to help in any way I could. I couldn’t have been more proud of her than I was at that time.
I held my daughter for the first time within minutes after she was born. The reality of fatherhood would not fully hit me until we brought her home.
That first day at home was bittersweet. It was nice to finally get a good night’s sleep in my own bed, but having a little one to be responsible for, without the aid of a nurse, was scary.
I brought this little girl, intense disposition and all, downstairs to give my wife a rest. Ironically, the next two hours were the most intensely worrisome I had ever experienced. I held her close, which only seemed to make her cry. I laid her down. That didn’t help either. Perhaps she was hungry? I strictly followed the instructions I’d been given regarding bottle-feeding: Warm it up, feel it with my wrist, put it in her mouth. It wasn’t working. I bounced her, cradled her and swaddled her–to no avail. Once again, I laid her down and listened to her cry. That sound I had heard thousands of times as a kid, in other houses and settings, with other adults, was now the most painful sound to hear. What was wrong? What could I do that I wasn’t already doing? What was this little girl trying to tell me?
Google provided temporary solace. I started surfing, more out of habit than anything. Did the solution I sought even have a name? What would I type in the search bar that would even help me?
It wasn’t long before I found myself on Youtube. Somehow, the above video started playing on my screen.
As I listened, it was if I was inside Mandy’s head for a moment. This innocent, helpless child had a future ahead of her, full of hope and anticipation that dad would love, teach and protect her.
The words, “Lead me, guide me…” echoed the feelings of my heart, and became a silent prayer that God would make up for my inadequacies as a new father, and teach me what I must do.
Feelings of doubt were replaced with hope, despair became gratitude and fear became faith. God loved this child even more than I did, and he would help me become the father I needed to be.