How would I react if one of my children came to me and said, "Hey, Mom, I hate myself."? Or "Hey, Mom, I don't like eating and I wish I never had to eat again in my life."? There is a billion things out there that could hurt my kids. What if I heard...
I want to kill myself
I am depressed
I struggle with an eating disorder
I'm never going to be good enough
I just don't matter
Some one molested me
My girlfriend is pregnant and I don't know what to do
I've been drinking a lot
Would any one of those things make me love my kids less? NEVER! And yet I come to God with some of these same issues, expecting that He cannot possibly still love me. If only others knew my heart, they could never love me. I can barely love me. And yet, anyone else in the world could tell me exactly what I have gone through and I would extend grace immeasurable. I find it easy to love lost and hurting people. I find giving grace to others to be a way of life for me. And still, I judge myself with a harsh hand. And still, I expect both God and others to judge me just as harshly as I judge myself. Can I give myself the same grace I would extend to my children if they were hurt? Can I accept the grace that God so freely gives me?
I don't stop loving my kids because they get hurt or even when they hurt someone else. Even when I'm frustrated or angry with them, I still wouldn't ever dream of not loving them with everything in me. If God is the ultimate parent, then I'm guessing His feelings are even stronger than mine. I'm sure that He also loves me, even when I am unlovable. That's what parents do, they love unconditionally. We love our kids when they are sick and we are cleaning up vomit. We love our kids when they have a potty accident. We love our kids when they fall off the bunk bed and get a black eye. We love our kids when they "poop Picasso" all over their bedroom walls. We love our kids when we are exhausted and certain we have nothing left in our resevoir to give. We love our kids through sleepless nights, through failed spelling tests, through big and little mistakes, through illness, and everything else that comes their way. Doesn't God love us the same way?
Doesn't He love me through anorexia, through self judgment, illness, poor choices, temper tantrums, addiction, self pity, and everything else that comes my way? If I can love my children this deeply, how much more God can love me!