I woke up this morning to one of my precious little girls running to give me a hug and telling me I was the “best mommy anyone could ever have”. I love that as my kids get older they are able to express themselves without being prompted. Both of the girls had made me a card, and an assortment of other papers that all conveyed their love for me. More importantly, they know how much I love them. My oldest daughter also gave me a note. I’ll respect her privacy and not share the details, but it was heartfelt. And just like her younger sisters, she stated that she knows how much I love her. My son shared the same sentiment; although his was verbally because dude’s don’t write notes. 😉
I remember giving birth to each of them. Each experience was very different, and each memory is cherished. Daily I thank God for the privilege of being their Mother, and continually seek His guidance on how to be the Mother they need. It’s not about what I can get from them; although the carrot cake my son made for me tonight was pretty tasty! It’s about what moved me to tears during each interaction with them this morning … they know that I love them. I don’t think I ever realized how much of a priority that is for me. The choices, actions, conversations, rules, punishments, celebrations and every other life experience that I get to share with them is motivated by my sincere love for who they are.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
God so loved the world … so loved us … so loved you … so loved me. If God has every reason to punish us because of our willful disobedience (sin), but instead chose to save us instead of condemn, then we should probably keep that closer to the top of our minds throughout our daily interactions. I believe in Christ, and I am humbled by how much I have received from Him in my life. Forgiveness, restoration and healing to name a few. But how many don’t know His love. How many trudge through each day with a feeling of dread or hopelessness? How many have not been able to receive love from others, let alone love from their Father in Heaven? Have those who are lost heard from you that they are loved, and that God’s desire is not to condemn them, but to save them? I have heard story after story from people who believe that God hates them because of their sin or because they’re not good enough. I offer a different testimony than that. God loved me enough to save me in spite of earning condemnation. God gave me grace. If you haven’t asked Christ into your life, and asked for the forgiveness of your sins there is no better time than right now.
“This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.”
You would think that our natural inclination would be to seek the light, and in many respects that is our instinct. Children don’t need to be taught to run to where the light is when they are afraid. In the same respect, they don’t need to be taught to hide when they have done something they weren’t supposed to. It’s not a coincidence that light gives life. Creation itself needs light to flourish. A chain reaction is started when light is removed. No light = no plants = no oxygen = no people. The longer I walk with God, the more I realize that many of the same lessons; the same truths; exist within all of His creation. Just as the flower needs the light to grow in the physical sense, we also need it to grow in the spiritual.
Photographers are taught how to play with the light in order to maximize the quality of the image. They use shadows to enhance how appealing the photo will be when viewed. If you have ever had a flash go off right in front of you, you have probably seen that the direct light isn’t overly flattering. Every blemish and imperfection is visible, and then we start asking which one of our friends can edit the photo to make it look better. It’s the same kind of thing in our fear of walking into God’s light. Somewhere deep down we know that His light will expose every blemish and imperfection … every deed. To walk into the light is to give up those shadows that conceal, and embrace the vulnerability of being seen. The thing is, while hiding in the shadows and dark alleys, we not hiding from Him. He already knows who we are and what we’ve done, and He is still inviting us. When we choose to take that step, it is to help us see that our actions have never been hidden from God’s sight.
I am limited in my understanding of God’s ways. I understand more today that I did five years ago, or even a year ago. I have been given the opportunity to accept His love through faith. I have been exposed by the light through faith. I have been given a testimony to share with others through faith. As I continue to learn His ways and walk in faith, I am continuing to learn more and more that:
“He must become greater; I must become less.” John 3:30