Monday, September 5, 2011

A Parent's Love

As I was buckling Joy into her carseat this Sunday morning, I had one of those moments.  If you're a parent I'm sure you've experienced it: this moment when you are suddenly overwhelmed by how much you love this child.  It amazes me to think how much love my heart holds for my two precious children.

Of course, since it was Sunday, my thoughts must tend towards a religious direction.  I began to think about how God's love is often compared to a parent's love for his child.  I thought, "I love these kids so much, how amazing that God could love me the same way."

But then I realized that I was wrong.  A parent's love is a shabby metaphor for God's love.  Because as a parent, my love is still flawed by human sin.  I am greedy, I am selfish, I lose my temper.  But God's love is perfect (reference 1 Corinthians 13, you know, the "love is patient, love is kind" passage).  Now that really is amazing, probably beyond what my feeble mind can comprehend.

As I am still trying to think this idea through, I go on to church, the service starts, and Jeremy Bell begins to preach.  His passage was Ephesians 6:1-4, and he was talking about parenting.  He was primarily speaking about the need for godly fathers, but there was still room in the message for us mothers.  A key point in his message is that the purpose of discipline is to bring your children closer to God, and when we discipline, our children should see Jesus in us.  We need to be demonstrating God's love to our children.

But wait, I just realized this morning how flawed my parental love is, and how perfect God's love is, how am I suppose to achieve such a high standard?  Just that morning, even, I had lost my temper with William.  There was no godly discipline involved, I was just angry with him when I put him in the bathroom for time out.  How can I demonstrate God's love to my children?

Don't worry, God wasn't done speaking to me yet.

Scene: a little downtime in front of the computer the next morning, perusing Facebook of course.  What's this?  Lindsay and Britney are talking about a Christian author named Rachel Jankovic who writes about motherhood.  I go to check Lindsay's blog, and find a link to an article.

One of my favorite lines in that article, about those moments when we lose control: "And when this happens, our own sinfulness does not detract from the power of the gospel, it illustrates why we need it."

In those moments when we fall so short of showing God's love to our children is when we need to cling to God's love ourselves.  We fall on His gracy and mercy, accept His forgiveness, seek His guidance, and plunge back in to try again in His strength.  And this is how we learn to show His grace, mercy, forgiveness, and yes, His love, to our children.

Dear God,

Thank you for your amazing love, beyond what I can comprehend.  Thank you for your grace and mercy that You shower upon me daily.  Help me to rest in that assurance, to find my strength in You.

Thank you for blessing me through my children.  Thank you for the joy they bring to my life.  Please guide Omar and me as we raise these kids to know You.  Teach us daily, so we can teach them.  Help us to rely on You, so that we can show Your love to our kids.


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