So now that you have Paul McCartney's voice in your head..."Love is all you need..." I have a question for you. Do you believe you are loved?
When you yell at your children for no reason at all other than you just feel irritated that they interrupted your plans, do you feel loved?
When you realize you completely did something wrong at work, even though you insisted you were right, and have to not only redo it but own up to being wrong, do you feel loved?
When you exchange angry words with your spouse over something as inconsequential as which of you left something undone or socks on the floor, do you feel loved?
And when you mess up, is love always enough to fix it? Is it true, "all you need is love?" Is there time when love falls short?
I was pondering that the other day. Our children weren't feeling particularly loved. And I was misunderstanding. I thought they were just feeling out of sorts. Needed a bit of discipline.
When I finally began to realize what was going on, I knew just how they felt. We all feel unlovable at times. Times when I KNOW that I was such a bad mom today. How can the creator of the universe know the thoughts in my heart and the words of my mouth and still love me no matter what?
And sometimes, when I feel unloved, the love of my husband, while wonderful, isn't enough. Sometimes my love isn't enough to fix the brokenness inside. Not enough to heal the wound.
For some things, we cannot just love the problem away.
A child who was abandoned, abused, disconnected from, wounded, taken away...they always sees it as their own fault. They were not lovable enough. They were "bad". They feel responsible. My kids connect with that and all the band-aids in the world won't fix it.
But how can I show them that the God in Heaven loves them beyond all reckoning when in my heart of hearts I don't always feel lovable myself? How can I show them how to have faith when my own often falls short?
I began to ask myself, I know I am imperfect; I know I am a sinner; But if I get past all that, do I grasp the enormity of God's love for me? Do I truly feel I belong to Him?
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will.
I am adopted by the God of the Universe. He chose me. He chose you. He gave me my eye color, height, and extra long feet. He gave you your skin color, your laugh, and your straight or curly hair. Yet we look in the mirror and see flaws. We don't see a loved creation. We see fat, bald, irritable, imperfections, flaws, sins...
There was a girl. She was a real girl. She lived a normal life. Her parents divorced, remarried, lived life. She was a "good" girl to all outward appearances. And when she looked in the mirror all she saw was...not enough. Not thin enough. Not pretty enough. Not lovable enough.
So she sought acceptance and love. Starting in her pre-teen years she tried to fill the gap with boyfriend after boyfriend. Continued into her teen years, added being sexually active to the mix. In college she added alcohol to numb the fears.
She kept seeking. Looking for that "love" that was going to make her feel complete. Each time the boyfriend turned out to be an empty promise, she discovered that she'd given a piece of herself away. Lost a little of herself. Each break-up lowered her value. And when she looked in the mirror she didn't see hair color or freckles. She saw ugliness.
And one day, tears streaming down her face, she murmured to the girl in the mirror, "I...hate...you."
Years passed. Counseling helped heal, helped her move on. Try to bury the past. The feelings lingered. Marriage. Children. And then one day, she met God. And all the feelings of unworthiness came rushing back. How could He love me?
But He whispered into her heart, "You are MY child. I love you no matter what has happened. No matter where you have gone. No matter what you have done. You are not "bad". You are MINE."
This story could belong to so many of us. Change a few details and it could be your story. It is mine.
And no matter how often I replay that day and remember the love my creator expressed for me, I can still forget. I can let that slip away and see only the ugly. And I am surprised that no matter how much I tell my children I love them that they don't always remember it.
The same being that created the stars, streams that flow down out of mountains, trees that display glorious colors as if they were on fire every fall, and placed the sun the prefect distance from this planet to support life...He is the same being that created you and I. And we see flaws, sin.
"In him we have obtained an inheritance." Ephesians 1:11
Do I believe Christ's willingness to die on a cross in my place? In my being worth that sacrifice? Do you?
Would I give my life for Him? If I were asked to chose between my faith in Christ and my life, would I offer my life for His? I like to think my faith is that strong. Like that of Richard Wurmbrand or Deitrich Bonhoeffer. Strong enough to withstand. In the comfort of my own room, my own safe home, it is. But would it withstand a true test?
God breathes into me his love for me, his creation. The same creator who made mountains and breath-taking sunrises over them, planned for my eye color. Planned for your hair color. Planned every freckle on my son's face and the curls in my daughter's hair. Planned who would be my children. So why can I look at that sunrise and be in awe but look in the mirror and...eh, not so much. And it shakes my belief in my own faith.
And again I am surprised that my children don't always believe that God could think they are precious.
Wounded children don't even have to look in the mirror to be less than awed by themselves. They KNOW they are bad, wrong, less that adequate.
We CHOSE them. God CHOSE them for our family. We want them. And they see an unwanted, ugly being when they look in the mirror. God wanted me the day I looked in the mirror and hated myself. But I didn't see that I was chosen. I saw ugly and unwanted. Unworthy.
Isn't that the way we are fooled? So how do you and I, who are so often critical of our outer reflections and disdainful of our inner selves, convince a wounded child who sees nothing of beauty in themselves, that they are beautiful and loved. That their heart is desired by that Creator and by me. How can I convince myself of that?
That's just it. I can not. I am not enough and neither are you. We are woefully inadequate to stand in the gap that was meant to be filled by our savior. I cannot be God and Christ for my children, I have to lead them to Him and let Him do the healing. I have to let them see me open my heart to God in the same way I am asking them to.
I will continue to shower my children as much as I can with love in my imperfect way; But more importantly I will implore God to heal their hearts and show them His perfect love.
I will continually tell them how beautiful and special they are; But more importantly I will plead with God daily to show them how beautiful and special He designed and created them.
If you are one of those who only sees ugliness, I am praying right now that God will reveal to you just how very precious and beautiful you are.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7