“YOU ARE A…”
I watched as my then three-year-old sifted through her limited vocabulary for the biggest dagger.
Her little fists were balled up in anger, her face was red and fiery.
“You’re just trying to control everything I do!” Said another of my children, as they turned and jerked away from my outstretched hand.
“It’s my job to help you figure this stuff out,” I told another who didn’t care for my parenting technique. “A good mom does exactly that, even when it’s painful.”
“Not true!” Was the reply. “Only a mean mom would do that! You don’t even care about me!”
When I look over my babies, I’ve got one of every sort. One of my kids is super sensitive, a furrowed brow and corrective look and that soft heart crumples. Another receives what I say without much of a fuss, but then promptly forgets the correction and does the same thing over and over again. Another is a fighter and pushes back on the slightest correction, questioning my love, my motive, my basic ability to parent at all.
And I love every single one.
I don’t always respond right, no doubt. Sometimes I give the look to the fighter and all heck breaks loose. Other times I try the tough voice on the tender one and I break her spirit. But sometimes I get it right. I’ll remember that this one needs some extra encouragement. And that the other needs to be held. In the nick of time, I’ll realize that the feisty one just needs me close as the melt unfolds.
Sometimes I remember what they’ve walked through, and I understand that various trauma has influenced their reactions. I know that their brains are in full-on tilt sometimes and their anger has nothing to do with me.
So I do my best to love them through – sometimes getting it right and sometimes making a royal mess of things.
I was having a lousy attitude the other day, contemplating just one of those messes when it seemed like I felt a whisper. “I love through, too….”
If I, in my limited human way, can see and love my kids through their reactions, how much more does Jesus? He loves through each of our stories, each of our wiring. He loves perfectly – with patient understanding and profound love.
When Thomas doubted, Jesus held out his hands so Thomas could see his wounds.
When Peter denied, Jesus cooked him some fish and challenged him to greatness.
When the Samaritan woman hid, Jesus sought her out and gave her living water.
Where we are weak, where we are stubborn, where we are feisty, where we are broken… God sees and knows and has already made provision.
He loves us.
He is not surprised when the stubborn one shakes her fists. He’s not offended when the hurting one doubts. He doesn’t turn away when the feisty one questions if he even knows what he’s doing. He knows every little thing that shaped the hearts he loves… and he makes provision and loves us through.