My husband and I recently got to spend a couple of days with our oldest daughter who lives in the northeast and whom we haven’t seen since last Christmas. She’s been living far from home for several years now, so seeing her only a couple of times a year has been normal, yet it never gets any easier for this momma’s heart. We all laughed together, watching old home movies which always brings up memories from the past, and leaves me in a reflective state of mind for several days.
Since becoming a mom just over 30 years ago, I have found that no other experience in my life has helped me to understand the heart of God like being a parent. I’m not sure it’s possible to really feel true unconditional love until you hold your own child in your arms for the first time (and every time after that). Realizing for the first time that the tiny human you helped to create is totally helpless and dependent upon you to live, is a sobering weight of responsibility, yet full of joy and excitement at the same time. In that moment, you know that if it ever came down to it, you would lay down your life for this child. You feel the same way for every one of them.
As they grow into teenagers, you feel the pain they feel as they experience rejection from friends, heartbreak from broken relationships, fear about fitting in, stress from making important decisions. You not only feel their emotions, but you also feel the fear of letting them make choices that could alter the course of their lives. Of course, you offer counsel and advice, but often in their quest for independence, your wisdom isn’t heeded. Still, you love and pray for God to watch over and guide them. You want to protect them, but realize they have to learn from their mistakes just like you have.
When they become adults and begin their own lives apart from you, your deepest desire is that they would be healthy, happy, emotionally stable, and ready, as much as is possible, to face a vast, unknown future. Having done your best, with God’s help, to get them to this stage in life, you hope they will remember what you’ve taught them, and one day teach it to their children as well.
Through this process, God is continually allowing us to feel His heart for us, as His children. He truly loves us unconditionally, no matter what we do or don’t do, and whether we reciprocate His love or not. He laid down His life for us when we were totally helpless to save ourselves and He continues to take care of us, no matter our age. He knows, far better than we do, how totally dependent we are upon Him for everything.
He feels every pain that we experience in this life, and He weeps with, and comforts us in our sorrows. Even when we make poor choices, He allows us to learn from our mistakes rather than always protecting us from the consequences, though they be painful. He also laughs and rejoices with us in our victories. He wants us to grow to maturity, though we never reach a point where we don’t need Him anymore. He desires that we also teach our children about Him, generation after generation, that He might truly have a family, which was His desire from before creation. Truly, the ability to create life and raise our children is one of the greatest, if not the greatest privileges He has given to us as His children. It is a door that leads us straight into His heart.