Scared Shitless

By Caleb Keith

I vividly remember the comments, advice, and criticism of pretty much everybody I encountered when I was preparing to get married. The most common response to this information was, “How old are you?” or “I hope you know what your getting into.” Many others asserted I was throwing my life and my freedom away while only a few responded joyously or with legitimate loving concern. Questions and comments like the examples above were shallow and general concerns about age and autonomy. Two years later I find myself under the same type of scrutiny as I eagerly await the birth of my daughter.

Instead of questions most people give me some grim news when they hear that I am about to be a dad. The most common messages I hear are, “Say goodbye to sleep” and “Your world is going to be destroyed.” Fair warnings to be sure, but I’ve heard them hundreds of times, and what I don’t hear is positive or hopeful news.  I receive the occasional, “I hope you’re excited!” but paired with the other warnings, it seems that all I have to be excited for is the end of my sanity. I am tired of people telling me how scared I should be, when I am already scared shitless.

Tender baby picture

With all the negative questioning I received at the time of my marriage, and the fear mongering at the coming of my first child, I no longer wonder why young people abhor the adult world. Christians bemoan the degrading cultural milieu and the shallow sexual ethics which plague society. Yet, we fill our children’s heads with nothing but fear when it comes to getting married or having children. Why would I want a spouse if it is the end of my freedom, and why a child if it is the end of my world?

For every downside about being married young, I can think of five positive or valuable consequences. I view fatherhood in the same light. This is in thanks to my own father and mother, who rather than scare, have encouraged my wife and me, exciting us with the good to come from parenthood rather than the terror that might ensue. As I said earlier, I am scared shitless, but I am filled even more with happiness and anticipation. That happiness is rooted in Christ and the new life that is about to enter into His fold. I look forward to my daughter’s birth, but I am more excited about her baptism. In the promise of the Word, I get to share in true life with a child who God has called Erika and me to raise. In the face of fear, I rejoice in the comfort of our Lord and the blessings he brings through children. I encourage every reader to do the same. Let’s stop holding marriage and parenthood captive to fear, and instead emphasize how God works through such humbling and challenging vocations.

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9 thoughts on “Scared Shitless

  1. Congratulations! Both marriage and parenting were designed by a generous Creator as means by which to show the world His love for His bride (the Church) and to fill the world with His image (Imagio Dei).

    Stay the course. Keep the faith!

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  2. My mom is a LCMS convert from Methodism (Unitarian variety), and I’m a RC priest. Yes, family holidays are weird, but then again they always were. The only reason I said anything is that I’m so happy you put a poopy word in print! You rock, dude! Thanks also for your other posts. As you’ve probably heard, “Good preachers borrow; great preachers steal.” Keep preaching, bro! Your friend from the ‘Ho of Babylon — Frank+

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  3. Caleb,

    I highly recommend both marriage and parenthood. No regrets and the joys outweigh any challenges. : )

    +Nathan

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  4. My third son was born today at 3:23pm. The two older boys are sleeping, and I’m catching up on Facebook before going to bed. Momma is in the hospital with Oswald Adrian Miller, aka Wally, named after two of his uncles.

    Being a dad is awesome. I absolutely love it. Is it challenging, yes. But mostly, its a joy. The love you feel for your children far outweighs the challenges you’ll face along the way. I love shaping and molding my little dudes into the kind of guys I want them to be. Its awesome to hear my three year old recite the first few lines to the Lord’s Prayer and the Apostle’s Creed. I love to watch them wrestle and just clobber each other. Of course, I have to be their dad, too, but mostly I just love to play ninja!

    If I remember correctly, you’re fairly young, right? I’m 31, so I’m probably not much older than you. My personal feeling is that marrying young is ideal. If someone can find a good match in their early 20s, more power to them. I don’t think God intended us to wait until the age of 35 to be married, otherwise why would puberty start at 13!?! Yeah, marrying young presents additional financial challenges, but the maturity you’ll gain at such a young age will put you light years beyond your peers who wait until later.

    I remember Luther said something along the lines of “5 years of marriage works more sanctification than a lifetime in a monastery.” It’s true. Nothing will force you to give up your selfishness more quickly than raising kids. Is it hard, yep, but its well worth it. I’m excited for you, brother. Congrats!

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    1. Thank you for your words of encouragement. I am a bit younger than you at 20. Thank God for the blessings of marriage and family.

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  5. If your scared shitless now, don’t worry. The next few years of your life will be filled with enough, literal, shit to make up for your lack. Like most things worth doing, having a baby is exciting and scary and will constantly remind you of your need for repentance and grace.

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  6. Thanks for your post. My experience before marriage and fatherhood was similar. It seems that many of the cynical people I heard from were too wrapped up in self to see the blessings of family. It is worthwhile to spend time with people who are positive about marriage and family and listen for their viewpoint.
    I was single well into my thirties, and I have not missed those times at all. My wife and son are God’s greatest gifts, and I am so blessed. From what I’ve read, it seems that you are richly blessed too.
    Congratulations!! There is nothing better than holding that tiny, precious, newborn babe. How wonderful for you and your family. Congrats also to Grandpa and Grandma Keith.
    Congratulations also to Ken and his family.

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  7. Caleb, there is no greater gift from God than the gift of a child. Yes, there will be tough times but they are more than made up for when you see that babies first smile or your toddler throws his arms around you and tells you he loves you. Or her. Oh, the teen years can be more than tough but just keep praying. I am blessed to be the mother of four but, you know, there is something else just as wonderful. That’s being a grandparent. But you’ve got a few year to go before you get there so just enjoy these next years and continue to thank God for His blessings.

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