Everyone warns expectant parents about how much their lives will change when the new baby arrives. “You’ll never have a good night’s sleep again,” they say. “Good luck even finding the time to brush your teeth in peace!”

Even if I didn’t realize that having my first child at 41 would be very difficult physically and mentally, more than a few friends pointed it out to me. At that point in my life, old routines would die hard. Keeping up with a little one would be exhausting. And as I shifted my focus to family and motherhood, I’d miss the intellectual stimulation of my professional work.

But for all the warnings and fears over how much a new baby could drain a first-time mom, my experience turned out to be very different. Rather than being lost in the monotony of naps, feedings, and diaper changes, being a new parent required every mental faculty I could muster. The stakes were high, and I found myself absorbed in all the details. Though I did lose plenty of sleep as a new mom, I found God used motherhood to deliver on his promise to “renew our youth like the eagles” (Ps. 103:5).

Now that my daughter’s 12th birthday is around the corner, I’ve been reflecting on the last dozen years and how God keeps his word. Psalm 103 has long been a source of comfort for me in difficult times, including when I did not think I would ever have a family. But it never occurred to me that the miracle of a child also would be God’s gift to revisit, recast, and yes, renew my own youth. Aren’t children supposed to age you?

From the very start, being with Anna as her world unfolded was just plain fun. Like most babies, she was an early riser. I’d ...

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