I remember holding our baby girl for the first time: my joy at her existence and arrival.
My husband and I could scarcely believe she was here—ten fingers, ten toes, and a healthy set of lungs.
I didn’t once think about what she could do for me.
Many people, including myself in the past, unconsciously think God loves us more when we serve or when we’re useful.
But God’s delight in us is infinitely greater than my delight in our daughter. God created us with our unique gifts. And God loves us with a perfect love.
As an adult, sometimes I can rely too much on my rational mind and forget to be like a child with an open heart. (I’m not saying to forsake rational thought, only to leave room for mystery and experience.)
A baby’s experience of love is concrete (food, safety, warmth of mom or dad’s presence) registers as an emotion in a baby’s brain before the baby develops language and cognition for it.
The new field of fetal origins reveals the baby is already learning in the womb whether the world is a place of abundance or scarcity.
Photo by Flickr User: William Warby
The baby doesn’t care whether its mom or primary caregiver is tired or recovering from delivery. The baby simply cries out for its needs to be meet: a dirty diaper needs to be changed, breast milk or formula to drink, and to feel safe and secure from harm.
No one would say a baby is selfish for having needs. (We don’t want to be babies forever, but we all have certain lifelong needs as humans: to been seen, loved, and valued.)
If a baby’s physical and psychological needs are met as s/he grow, s/he develops a healthy or secure attachment to his/her primary caregiver.
The baby’s needs become a portal of intimacy with his/her caregiver.
And I am slowly learning when I’m honest with my needs before God, they can also be a way to greater connection with God.
God delights in meeting our needs when we cry out to him. Unlike earthly parents, God never tires and his love never wavers.
We can be assured of God’s constant love and faithful mercies each day (Lam. 3:22-23).
A few days ago, I caught myself humming:
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning, new every morning. Great is your faithfulness, O Lord. Great is your faithfulness.”
As I sang, my heart swelled with a new sense of God’s tender faithful love for imperfect me. And those words rang true because I experienced it over the decades.
Yes, there were many times I claimed and read God’s promises while asking God for the grace to believe them. And God answered.
Maybe (okay, usually) God has not worked as fast as I would have liked but with the passage of years, I have the gift of hindsight.
It felt like those years of faithfully watering my rhododendron until it surprised me one day with white blooms.
God’s faithfulness to work for our good doesn’t depend on our faithfulness or goodness.
As we experience God’s love more and more, we seek to emulate God out of a desire to maintain an open and close connection to him.
In many of his psalms, David cries out to God from the depths of his need, fears, and despair. He calls out to God for rescue from his enemies. He doesn’t self-edit (like I can sometimes as if God doesn’t already know my every thought) his honest cries for help.
What if instead of feeling shame or frustration at my needs or struggles, I simply cried out to God for help?
What if I admitted to God how I struggle to love a certain person sometimes?
What if I asked God to help me to exercise appropriate boundaries? Or if I asked God for the grace to love as he loves me, without condition yet with wisdom and boundaries?
What if I admitted I can’t love like God unless he first helps me to receive his love fully for me?
It is from our identity as beloved that God calls us to love others as he has loved us.
It is an exercise in frustration (I’ve learned again and again) if I try to agapé love another person
out of my own limited well of love instead of God’s endless living spring of agapé love.
One way we can receive God’s love is to be honest about our need to be loved and accepted in the midst of our imperfections.
This assumes we’re open enough to allow God to reveal what our needs are when we’re unaware of them because we’ve believed a lie: either our needs are unimportant or it is selfish to have needs.
What if God allowed those needs in us as a way to draw us to himself because he sees everything about us and still loves us?
Here is a link where you can watch, listen, or read A Father’s Love Letter to You (compiled using different Scriptures).
Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers who read this post.
What is one way you receive God’s love?
Is there a song or a Scripture or an experience that you treasure as a reminder of God’s faithful love for you?
Thank you for your patience as I know it has taken me a long time to write the second post in our Love Series.
I underestimated June’s events and overestimated my ability to write in a cogent manner on such a big and important topic.
As always, I treasure and appreciate your insights. Love to you.
And also linking with wise Holley