I just finished reading “Loving our Kids on Purpose” by Danny Silk thanks to a review that Judi wrote last week. It took me 3 days . I haven’t read a book in three days since college. I just sent a copy to my friend Kristin to read it with me….sorry Kristin I couldn’t wait! It was powerful. For many reasons. But the most being this, as I read and this morning as I prayed for God to transform my mothering into His ways, one thing came to the surface and moved me to weeping in my chair with my coffee.
God chooses to love me, He chooses relationship with me over rules and regulation of my life. He allows consequences to come. He allows me to reap what I sow. But He loves me, extravagantly so, every day of my life. This overwhelmed me. I know it, have always heard about it, but many people in my life have (intentionally or not) put stipulations and conditions on their love and approval of me. I have always struggled with earning God’s love, with measuring up, with making enough right choices for Him to love me. He’s done so much work on this. He’s peeled away layer after painful layer and continued to show me the truth.
Nothing I do can earn that love. Nothing will make Him love me more perfectly than He already does. And in the same way, NOTHING I do can take it away.
Last year I was in a bad place. My heart was broken in pieces. Disillusioned on many levels. Marriage, parenting, ministry, friendships-to name a few. In my mind, I made a lot of bad choices. I allowed my heart and thoughts to wander where God could not go. All the while working hard to keep it looking like I had things under control. Nothing could have been farther from the truth.
Instead of resting under His protection and letting Him be my refuge, I walked away. I could scarcely hear His voice calling me back, I had gone so far. He was calling for me to come back from the cliff, telling me I was headed into danger, beckoning me back to abide in the love He (had always) had for me.
In the midst of my not doing things God’s way, His love still permeated my heart. His love drew me back and restored broken places in ways I thought impossible. That is the key truth that I pulled away from this book. We are meant to parent our children in this way. Regardless of the faulty models we’ve had in our lives, regardless of our own shortcomings or immaturity, the way of Jesus is ultimately one of LOVE.
I have failed in many ways and succeeded in others as a mother so far. I recently read “Grace Based Parenting” by Ted Kimmel and sobbed through the whole book. I felt so overwhelmed at what wasn’t there but not equipped on what else to do. I finished the book with sadness, longing and more questions-seeing the need for more grace but still not knowing how to implement it.
After reading “Loving our Kids on Purpose”, I felt thrilled. I felt excited and ready to chart new territory. I had ideas. I had inspiration. I had a better handle on what I knew was truth. The truth is God calls me to love. Above and beyond all else, LOVE. I have confused love with harsh words, yelling, a ton of spanking (that never works) and anger that seems to come out of no where. Most of my mom friends who are honest with me, have the same struggles. I want more than that, I think we all do.
So, here’s to a new chapter on the journey. One with more choices, more questions, more connection with my children and more love. I am full of gratitude that even when I make wrong choices, God doesn’t kick me in the rear and tell me I should know better, ask when I’m going to get my act together then tell me He needs a break from me for a few while He cools off (yes I’m exaggerating, but you get the idea right?) .
His forgiveness and patience with me are beyond my understanding. And the love? I have felt it like warm rain on my face today. I adore that.