Don’t you love how everyone is the expert on parenting before they have children? Regardless of our own upbringings, we have idealistic views on how we will raise our own children. Children that will never misbehave, will have access to the best education, and would never dream of making messes.
And then, our darling angels are born and immediately wake us to the reality that little people rule the world.
I never considered the depth and breadth of God’s love for me (and you) until I had my first baby. My whole world turned upside down, and I felt that my heart would explode from the overwhelming emotions that come with bringing a new life into the world. I gained a brand-new perspective on how God views us as his own children.
When I had my second child, this view shifted again. Whew! Something about second children make you feel like maybe you aren’t as great of a parent as you believed you were with your first when you followed every book to the letter. But how much sweeter this adventure has been with the addition of our two babies!
I can finally understand why God goes to such great lengths to have a relationship with us. Why he gives us so many second chances. Why he keeps writing our stories instead of throwing away the pen.
There’s something to be said for a mother’s heart, but this idea brought to mind God the Father. Not God the slot machine that magically dispenses the things on my prayer list. God the Father that fights battles on my behalf. God the Father that teaches me lessons on how to live and love in this place. God the Father that allows me to feel the joy and hurt that accompanies our journeys. God the Father that provides a safe place for me to truly known and loved unconditionally.
Yall, that’s real love. That’s love that defies everything that we’ve been taught and everything life experiences tell us.
This is love that transcends your past. It doesn’t keep pointing back to your biggest mistakes or reminding you of all the times you have failed. This love doesn’t say, “Yeah that’s ok, but your sister did it better”.
This love makes you feel whole. It gives you the strength and the peace you need to endure the trials that you encounter. It enables you to love like Jesus.
When I reflect on my life before I had kids, it is easy for me to see God as a good father. I grew up in a home where my own daddy played an active role in the lives of my brothers and me. He took pride in providing for us, as well as setting clear boundaries for us. In hindsight, I can appreciate this and see that all of the “rules” we were to follow were for our own good. They protected us from things not meant for us.
Maybe you grew up in a broken home. Maybe you never knew your father. Maybe you wish you never knew your father. Maybe it’s your mother, or grandmother that filled the role of father. Maybe you see yourself as your father.
Can I tell you that God is a better father than all of these? All of the people we hold in high regard – God is better than. He knows your heart. He knows the things that keep you awake at night. He knows how your mind replays the things you wish you had done differently.
He knows when you’ve had a day full of meeting other people’s needs, that you just don’t have the time or the energy to meet your own.
Know what the best part is, though? He doesn’t ask you to go it alone. He genuinely wants to be with you – day and night. In the smallest moments and the biggest moments. He wants to place people in your life that will serve as extended family for you who will saddle up alongside you.
God is the ultimate parent. He really is the OG “helicopter parent” who comes to our rescue when we need him. God is telling you today that he loves you, and that he is glad you are his child.
He knows you messed up this week. He knows you’re going to mess up next week. He knows how hard you are trying to make ends meet. He knows you are working on your temper. He knows that you are trying to find the balance between work and home life. He knows that you really wanted to spend that time in devotion, but the baby needed changing again, or your mom needed help sorting out her pills.
Father God is here for you. He is calling for you to reach out and take his hand. Find respite in his grace. Let him lead you. You may feel like you are the wayward child. Maybe your first baby is now the prodigal son. Maybe the sting of parental abandonment is still lingering in your heart.
The good news is that God is not as incompetent as you feel you are at parenting. Let him care for you and wrap you in his unconditional, ever-lasting, all-encompassing love.
Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Isaiah 54:13 “All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children.”
3 John 1:4 “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”
Matthew 18:1-3 “At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, ‘Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.’ ”
Deuteronomy 6:6-7 “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”