A couple of days ago I came across a familiar verse, but I saw it in a new light:
"As a mother, comforts her child, so will I comfort you" Isaiah 66:13a Darby Translation
I looked at it this time as a sort of challenge or exhortation. "Love your child as you want God to love and care for you."
I want God to love me EXTRAVAGANTLY. I want God to be patient with me, to teach me well and in love, not from a place of haughtiness, cockiness, or "O my gosh! why don't you know this yet?"-ness. I want God to reassure me of His love through work and deed constantly. I want God to make a big deal of my hurts. I want God to put the pinkiest-sparkliest-Barbie-est band-aids on my injuries, as if to say "Look at this terrible pain! We are going to fix it. We are going to make it all better, but as it heals we are going to care for your hurt, and you, gently and lovingly." I want God to equip me to live out my purpose. I want God to be my safe haven, my trusted counselor, my closest friend. I want to know that God is prepared for the day of calamity so I can rest in peace. I want His assurance that the storms will pass and while we wait I want to know that God has a flashlight, a board game and some bottled water to help us through it. And you know what? GOD IS ALL OF THIS AND INFINITELY MORE!!!
God loves me extravagantly. With this in mind I want to extravagantly love Adelaide. I pray that I get better at this. I love sitting on the floor and playing with her and reading to her her favorite book over and over and over again. I gladly sacrifice my body and "perkiness" to give her the very best nutrition (the nutrition that God designed for babies) and the closeness that she so desires. I gladly teach her where her belly button, toes, nose, and mouth are. I gladly let her play in the dirt and explore God's creation.
I love life with her and I am realizing that the way I parent is very different from the way many people, Christians included, parent. But it is how I want to be parented and treated, not like I'm a burden and not labeled with so many of the labels parents put on their kids (bad test taker, trouble maker, a quitter, too sensitive, a bully, etc.)
And me trying to love Adelaide with extravagance, the way God loves me, seems to be working.
When she falls (which she does a lot because she is an adventure girl) she responds in one of two ways, either she looks at me shocked and slowly smiles as if to say "Well that was unexpected and hurt a little, but I am okay now" or she full on bawls and she knows that I will run to her and gobble her up and lay her head on my shoulder and wrap my arms around her saying "I'm so sorry" and reassuring her of my love and presence and nursing her if needed. This is my form of a giant pink, sparkly band aid. This is how I want God to deal with my hurts so it is how I deal with hers. I make a BIG DEAL about it.
Conventional "wisdom" says that that is wrong but seeing my child I know that it is right. Most of the time when she gets hurt or falls she just brushes it off and keeps playing. My reactions haven't made her more needy, if anything, it has given her the courage to explore and play more bravely because she knows she can always find her way to my arms if she gets in over her head. I am her safe place of comfort and rest.
Karyn Puvis talks about making big deals of hurts and how beneficial it is, especially to kids coming from hurt backgrounds and the sad truth is that we all come from hurt backgrounds because we live in a BROKEN world.
I pray that this lays the foundation for Adelaide and my relationship so that when she gets bigger she can come to me with those bigger hurts, those emotional hurts.
Example of paralleled reactions in kiddos to Adelaide's two current responses to hurts:
1. "Billy said I was ugly but I know mommy and daddy say I am beautiful and I know that God created me fearfully and wonderfully so I'm going to brush it off and move on"
2. When she is dealt an earth shaking, world crushing blow she can run to me and sob and tell me all about how Janet doesn't want to play with her because she says she is boring and mean and stupid and that she doesn't want to be her friend. She will run to me because I am her safe place and as we sit there I will reassure her of my love and GOD'S LOVE.
so that as she gets older and the hurts get even deeper I can model for her how to run to God so that as she grows she will always know that she can run to Jesus and that even more than I love her, God loves her. Even more that I was there to hold her, He holds her. Even more than my heart hurts to see her hurt, His heart aches to see her suffer.
I want to encourage her natural, God given gifts and help her figure and wrestle out her purpose.
"Train up the child according to the tenor of his way, and when he is old he will not depart from it" Proverbs 22:6
In the same way that God gave me vision for my life to be a mother to the motherless and further more, to make orphans a thing of the past God has been preparing me for these tasks my whole life and are even now still preparing me.
I want to readily share with her the truth of His extravagant love in my life and in others.
"Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up" Deuteronomy 11:19
so that she can identify the evidence of His hand, provision and love in her life until she can easily see it.
It is so humbling to me how loving me is engrained in God's being, how loving my daughter is engrained in His being even before the stars were in place.
Jehovah Jireh: The Lord Provides. Jehovah Nissi: The Lord is Victorious. Jehovah Shalom: The Lord is Peace. God's very being, His very names SHOUT "EXTRAVAGANT LOVE."
Help me to love my daughter fully!
Further, help me to love Mitchell fully.
Further, help me to love my family fully, neighbors fully, people at church fully, strangers fully.
"But you will receive the power when the Holy Spirit coms on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth" Acts 1:8
I'm a witness of your love
|My inspiration, my little puddle duck!|