Thursday, May 9, 2019

No Matter What

Putting Eli to bed is one of my sweetest joys. Every night, we cuddle up in his cozy gray chair, his soft blond hair resting against my chest as I hold him close, knowing that each day he's growing a little older and we're a little closer to the day he'll no longer fit into my lap. His finger inquisitively points out his favorite parts of the Paw Patrol and Mickey books for the millionth time, and I succumb to his pleas to read one more, and then another. I finally tear myself away, standing as my not so little baby wraps his arms around me, then reaching down to place him gently onto the fitted gray sheet where he's slept since his first week. I zip up his SleepSack as he pulls the neck of it up over his mouth, and the same blessing I say each night echos through the room. As the soft lamplight illuminates his grin and I marvel at how big he's getting, I hope and pray that my words would take root in his heart and mind, and that he would always know that he is so unconditionally loved: no matter what.

"You are prized and precious, liked and loved, chosen and cherished, blessed to be a blessing. You're a child of God, and a treasure in our family. Sleep in peace, new mercies in the morning. I love you so much, no matter what, and I always will." 

It's amazing how you can love someone so much that it doesn't phase you when you're cleaning blueberry vomit out of their hair at midnight, or holding them for an hour at 2 am, slowly rocking back and forth and and delighting in their milk drunk, sleepy smiles, forgetting how exhausted you are. And you expect absolutely nothing in return. Even when they grow up and throw a fit on the ground in the Target aisle, scream "NO" at you and crinkle their stubborn little face when you ask them to come put their shoes on, or chuck their steamed carrots haphazardly over the dining room carpet, there's nothing they could do to make you love them any more or any less than you do. Their behavior does not impact your love: it's a choice, and it's unconditional.

There's something about recognizing the basic and unmet needs of a child that makes you pause and give them more grace. For a good portion of their early life, they're helpless, depending on you fully for everything from diaper changes to their next meal. No loving parent would ever intentionally neglect their children in these areas, nor would they ever expect their child to contribute or "earn" their love in return. They don't always understand why we aren't giving them another cookie or letting them touch the hot stove, but we know it's really for their own good. Someday, when they're chasing their own kid around, they'll get it. And yet, even as a parent myself, the concept of true unconditional love is both obvious and foreign at times.

As someone who often mistakenly determines my own "worth" or "lovability" based upon my personal successes, sometimes it is easy to feel that I am failing in many ways and am therefore unlovable. That loving me unconditionally would be stupid of others, and that I have in fact earned less and need to strive to earn more. That my actions determine whether or not I can expect someone to accept me as I am. And because of this, I often blame myself for the hard times in life when they come, for the seasons of wait, the botched timelines, for the rejections or disappointments, rather than trusting in the greater plan. I sometimes take the absence of the things I may desire as a sign that I have messed up. A sign that I haven't done enough to "earn" the good things, and that I am somehow being "punished". It can be hard to grasp the Lord's unconditional, unearned love when we are stuck loving others around us conditionally- only if they earn it. If this person does this specific thing, then I'll love them. Or, if it's easy and comfortable, then I'll love them. Or even, if they're nice to me and their presence in my life doesn't make me feel threatened or less than, then I'll love them.

But that's not how God works. He does not love (or bless) us based upon our good works, our kindness, or what we've "earned". If that were the case, the only thing we would've earned at all was his judgment and eternal death for our sin. But instead, He died for us, taking on our sin, showing us immense grace, and loving us in the depths of our imperfections. Just like the loving father that He is, his intentions are to help us and not to harm us, even when it seems like he's withholding things from us. Even when we, as dependent, imperfect, and impatient children don't understand it, his timing is perfect, his plans are good, and He loves us regardless of our constant failures. I am thankful that we have a big God who chooses to constantly and unconditionally love us, no matter what.



  1. This is such a beautifully written post! I share the same sentiments but its always important to remember that god loves us and his plan for us is better than anything we could plan ourselves :)

  2. What a beautiful post, when I was reading it I could feel all those beautiful sentiments! Also,I love that you put God first in everything!

  3. Ah, isn't it a beautiful realization when you think of how God truly does love us the way we love our children (if/when we have them). But goodness, thinking about how it doesn't even come CLOSE to the AMOUNT He loves us is just the most comforting thing ever. He's always welcoming us back.. no matter what!

  4. I love this post! Thank you for this amazing read.


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