“I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love.
With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself."
Walking uphill on the last stretch of my daily walk, a sudden thought popped into my heart.
"I bet God is disappointed with me."
I was a bit taken aback from my thought and began to examine my heart. Realizing that in the busyness of life, I felt I had neglected to spend time with Him, and I had been grumpy with my loved ones, I felt a cloud over my heart as though I had disappointed Him and that somehow He would not want to be with me.
How absurd! God immediately prompted my heart with His assurance:
I have loved you with an everlasting love. Jeremiah 31:3
Nothing can separate you from my love. Romans 8: 31
Even as a Father has compassion on his children, so I have compassion on you. Psalm 103
The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. Psalm 103:8
All of us, if we are honest, fail regularly. We fail to live up to what we think are His ideals for us. We see our selfish, impatient hearts.
And yet, at times, we fail to remember and understand why Jesus had to die for us. We could not ever achieve perfection, righteousness on our own--no not ever. Yet, because He came to give himself generously, to love us, to accept us as we are, to sing over us, every day, we can know that we are His beloved child.
Waking early this morning, I was washed over with a personal sense of His love for me. I can face my days because He is with me, for me, loving me, guiding me, helping me to grow.
Even as I learn what parenting is all about by studying His word and pondering His sacrificial, servanthood life, I come to understand those who live in my home, those who call me "friend." All those God has placed in my life also feel inadequate and have a need to be loved and accepted as I do. I have a deep need to belong to my Father who will always care for me. And so do my children, especially my Different Ones.
Nathan talked all the time. If a thought was in his brain, the words came out of his mouth. My daughter once said, "Mama, Nathan says what we were all thinking and didn't say and gets in trouble for being honest."
His mouth, like mine, got him in trouble on a regular basis. But as I received the grace and love of God more every year in my life, I realized that that was what he needed, too. A place to belong, no matter what His behavior. A place where we could see that he talked because he thought a lot and felt he had something to say. Even as I needed to feel I belonged to God and had his love no matter what, so my sweet son deeply needed to know that I saw him for all that he was, warts and all, but even more--that I saw a precious person inside his heart that wanted to be liked for who he was, as he was.
If we want to reach the hearts of our children, we must model our parenting after the heart of God--to draw our children with an everlasting love--that we will always love them, no matter what. That nothing can separate them from our love.
That we work towards becoming compassionate--sympathizing with them
That we are gracious--and treat our children with the honor due a child made in God's image
That we are patient, slow to anger
And that we are abounding in lovingkindness.
As I look back on my life, it is in seeking Him, learning from Him, how to parent, that I have grown in character. God gave me a place to practice my righteousness and love and it has cultivated in me a heart that deeply appreciates Him more, because my real life lessons at home, have given me great thankfulness that He has been such a gracious, forgiving, loving Father to me.