God’s love: When you’re a Christian, you tend to hear a lot about it. Especially during the Easter season, there is an emphasis in church on the John 3:16 truth: “For God so loved the world…” I memorized that verse a long time ago as a six year old in Sunday school and AWANAS. But for whatever reason, I have a hard time incorporating that truth into my practical reality.
Maybe it’s because I’ve been let down by others, so I brace myself to be let down by God. Or maybe it’s because I have such a hard time loving myself that I can’t comprehend someone would actually love me. Whatever the reason, God’s love has always seemed intangible to me, something I can’t quite grasp.
I’m not a perfect person. In fact, I can be a downright lousy person when I want to be. I’m always selfish. I’m often jealous. I have a quick and petty temper. I hate those parts of myself, and I’m pretty sure others aren’t too fond of them either. I hurt those closest to me, over and over and over. So could God love me? Yeah, yeah, I know he loves me because that’s what I’m supposed to believe. But…really? I don’t think I’ve actively believed it.
But then I had a baby.
I prepared a lot while I was pregnant. I read books. Read articles. Blogs. Watched waaaaay too many mommy vlogs. I’d never been a parent, so I wanted to be as mentally prepared as possible. I had no idea what to expect. One day in December, I told my counselor that my biggest fear was that I wouldn’t like being a mom as much as I wanted to. That I wouldn’t feel connected to the baby.
And then, after three hours of pushing new life into the world, pushing my old life away breath by labored breath, the nurses placed my son on my chest and my biggest fear dissipated right in front of me. I wept, overwhelmed by the love surging through my heart for the little face squinting up at me. This was a different kind of love that I’d never felt before. It was different than the love of my parents, different than the love of a sister, even different from the love for my husband. This was the love of a mother for her child. Every day, I look at him and feel those same feelings as I did on his birthday.
I know Auden will be imperfect. He will make mistakes. He will disobey, disrespect, choose evil over good. But, oh, how I will love him!
It took becoming a mother to understand God’s own love for me. It took becoming a mother to understand—just a little bit more—my Heavenly father. How could God die for me? How? I still don’t comprehend it fully, but I do “get it” just a little bit more. I’d die for my son in an instant, no matter how he messes up in life.
And to think: God’s love is even greater. My love for Auden, though rich and deep, cannot even compare to God’s love for him. God’s love for me.
In the two months since he was born, I’ve felt the “mama bear” instinct several times. It’s not that certain people have been intentionally mean…but it’s their ambivalence that kills me. How dare someone not love him as much as they should? A righteous anger bubbles up inside of me. Again, this makes me understand God better. He loves us so much that it kills him when we don’t love each other. In a way, God is a “mama bear” too.
I hope Auden will understand one day just how much his parents love him. I hope he will feel secure in our love, knowing that no matter how much he messes up, we will be here for him.
Becoming a mother has given me a taste of understanding I lacked before.
God feels the same as I do, but on a much grander and more perfect scale. He wants us to embrace him, to come running to him clothed in our mistakes, seeking restoration that only comes from the cross.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosever believes in him should not die, but have everlasting life.