My youngest daughter and I will go back and forth sometimes about who loves the other more. It’s pretty cute, I’ll usually start with “Elle, I love you” and she’ll come back with “I love you too”. Then, I’ll say “I love you more” and she’ll say , “no, I love YOU more…” and it continues. Her response is precious and as much as I love to hear it, I know now, as a parent myself, that our kids will never be able to comprehend our love for them until they have a child of their own. They may love us with as much as their little hearts know how to love another human being, but they cannot yet comprehend our love for them. Our love for them is unexplainably sacrificial. What we are willing to do for our children truly blows me away. We can summon strength we didn’t know existed in us because of the true love we have for them.
I can’t help but parallel this exchange between God and us when we tell Him that we love Him. No matter how much our hearts are filled to the absolute brim with love for Him, His response is always “I love you more.” Unexplainable and sacrificial, deeper than we deserve, wider than we can fathom, and as consistent as we dare to comprehend.
Elle is not feeling well this weekend. She’s actually lying on the couch right now and I’m wishing I could take her place. I’d take her sickness in a heartbeat if it were possible. Jesus did just that. He took our sickness as humans and died for it, for us. His is a sacrificial love. Whether we desire or are even aware of His love does not change the fact that it’s there. His arms are wide open and ready to hold us and love us no matter what and no matter when. We are given the free will to lean into that love, ignore it, or reject it altogether. After all, what’s a forced love anyway? I wouldn’t want anyone to feel like they HAVE to love me or pretend to love me. I doubt you would either, that’s not real love.
Remember that the next time you feel impressed to express your love to God in any way, shape, or form, His response to you is always “I love you more”. And who can argue with that? It’s not meant to argue with, it’s meant to enjoy.
Extending grace and forgiveness to others can be extremely difficult when we feel rejected, misunderstood, or offended. As tough as that is, I admit I sometimes have an even harder time extending it to myself. When I lose my patience with my girls, say something I wish I hadn’t, refrain from saying something that I should have, or just plain drop the ball, the most important thing I need to do is embrace grace.
The devil loves to watch us squirm in guilt for our behavior. Broken records of criticisms in our pasts can wreak havoc on our minds if we don’t remember to embrace grace. I was raised in the church, but embracing grace is a relatively new concept for me. It helps me breathe easier whenever I remember to do it. It takes an enormous amount of pressure off when we remember that God knows our flaws and weaknesses and loves us anyway. That’s grace.
We are finishing up a women’s Bible study called “Believing God” by Beth Moore. There’s a five statement pledge in this study that we repeat together every week. 1) God is who He says He is, 2) God can do what He says He can do, 3) I am who God says I am. 4) I can do all things through Christ, 5) God’s word is alive and active in me. All so awesome! I love each and every one of them and if we TRULY believe them all we are well on our way to victory. But, I can say, the one we agreed is the toughest to believe is #3. I AM who God says I am. As women, we just feel like we fall short. We struggle with this one, I know I do. Maybe because we were told differently growing up, treated less than, let down, put down, used, whatever the reason….the devil loves to prey on us and our sense of worth. Bottom line is: God says we are worth dying for and He did just that.
If anyone makes you feel inferior, criticizes your personality, strengths, or weaknesses, they are not viewing you as God does. We are who God says we are and that is a beautiful thing. Not one of us is perfect, but we are all loved by a God who is. If He can lavish us with His perfect grace, we need to remember to give ourselves a drop or two when we stumble. Let’s see ourselves and each other as He does, children worth dying for.