Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Because He Loves Us So

Our children are one of the most precious gifts we could ever be given. From their first wail to the day they drive off to a life of their own, they are our greatest responsibility and our greatest joy; our greatest exasperation and our greatest sorrow; our greatest victory and our greatest loss. In caring for our children we push ourselves to limits we never thought possible, encounter some of the more disgusting aspects of life, exhaust every resource we have at our disposal, and reduce ourselves to silliness we've not experienced since childhood ourselves. All for this stranger that appears kicking and screaming into our lives, needing everything we've got for the next eighteen years. And we'd do it all over again. For as long as it takes. Because we love them so.

Some time shortly before the age of two our children begin to develop minds of their own. And that is when -- as they say -- It's on! And sometimes, nothing but prayer can get you -- and them -- through it. The ups and downs we have experienced with all of our children could fill volumes; but right now, we've got one who is going through it again. Having to witness it is almost physically painful. My stomach churns and my heart aches. I want to jump in and stop the mania. I want to reverse years of damage and lies. I want a fresh start for my child; new and untainted; the opportunity to do it all with none of the scars and baggage of a past life -- scars and baggage that my precious child allows to keep him/ her held hostage by the roller coaster life he/ she has chosen. But I can't. So, I pray.

I was doing just that on my way to work this morning. As I was pouring out my heart, I said, "Lord, I don't think I can do this anymore. A part of me dies with every awful decision, every bit of craziness. How can I sit back and watch this? It's like watching your child shoot up right in front of you." ... Wow. Did I really just say that? I mean, did I really have to tell Him that? El Roi, The God Who Sees Me? All those times I thought I was hiding something from someone, I certainly wasn't hiding from Him. Every time I told a lie, picked up a bottle, lifted something from a store, cheated on a test; did something from the most despicable to the least -- every time -- the God who loves me even more than I could ever love my child, was forced to watch me damage my life and break His heart. He watched as I hurt others, and allowed others to hurt me. He watched as I struggled to survive, all the while sinking further into the quicksand of a broken life. He watched as I made one bad choice to hide the consequences of another. He watched as my life spiraled crazily out of control and I foolishly, arrogantly insisted I could do it on my own. This is the God to whom I stated the most obvious. This is the God to whom I was preaching!

But you know what? I know He listened. Yeah, it was a little strange: my explaining that to Him. But He wants me to cry to Him; He wants me to express my deepest needs. And sometimes He even uses our "crying out" as a mirror. Though I gazed into the mirror a flawed, frustrated parent, the reflection I beheld was exactly what He has done for me, a forgiven, deeply loved daughter. My Heavenly Father sent His Only Son to die for me; but if the pain He felt watching me sin time after time is anything like what I'm feeling, He has died a thousand deaths already. This is the Father that loves me. That loves you. This is the Father that patiently, carefully stands by and watches us all at our worst, but never stops reminding us, "I love you." And He'd do it all over again. For as long as it takes. Because He loves us so.

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