Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

We’re Parents; Now What?, editorial, Austin and Celeste Blyden, Sarita Blyden, Larraina Blyden, Columbia Union Conference

We’re Parents; Now What?

Editorial by Austin and Celeste Blyden

Our winter baby was born in January on the coldest day of the year. She was 7 pounds, 11 ounces and 21 inches long. She had 10 fingers, 10 toes and thankfully only one nose. Her hair was soft and curly, and her skin against ours was tender and moist. And when she looked at us—her eyes wide with wonder—we melted.

The only problem with our perfect little bundle of joy was that she didn’t come with a manual. Nope. The doctors and nurses just handed her to us. And that’s when a slew of questions flooded our minds: How would we know when to feed her, change her, or why she was crying? What if something bad happened to her—sickness, an accident or death?

After a few years, and the addition of a summer baby, those questions gave way to: Where should we send our girls to school? When should we let them have sleepovers? And how do we answer their questions about God, life and where babies come from?

These days, we’ve moved on to: Why didn’t anyone warn us about the teenage years?! How much freedom are they ready for? And what if, after all we’ve invested in their faith development, they make different choices than ours?

God Created Families

Raising a family is a happy, messy journey with all types of risks and rewards. We think it’s the toughest yet most fulfilling job in the world! And while some days it’s challenging to live in the Blyden home, life without our girls would be unimaginable.

In addition to populating and caring for the earth, God created families to help us grow, teach us to love beyond ourselves, and so we might somehow fathom His matchless, endless love for humanity.  

And though we are still learning how to navigate the many facets of family life, we take it as it comes, pray our way through, lean on our supportive village and stand on the promises in God’s Holy Word.

Job 26:7 says, “God stretches the northern sky over empty space and hangs the earth on nothing” (NLT). One Bible commentator suggests this means that our world is held together with no props, poles or pillars, but simply by the power and providence of God.

That sounds a lot like parenting.

Celeste Blyden, executive secretary of the Columbia Union Conference, and her husband, Austin, are the proud parents of Larraina, 14, and Sarita, 11.  

In the May/June 2023 Columbia Union Visitor feature, we delve into what it’s like to raise children in less-than-ideal circumstances, how to fight against passive parenting, and what parents can do to help their kids define their faith.

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