I wanted to share this “Little Bit of Grace” moment about God’s love. It’s at the top of the Little Bit of Grace page but I”ll post the entire text here too. It’s titled “Do You Still Love Me?”. Through a parenting moment with our daughter Gracie God reminded me just how much we desperately need to know we are loved. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t need to know this. It (the good news of the Gospel!) is a necessary thing for us to be reminded of and such an important thing for us to talk to our children about. These “Little Bit of Grace” moments are nothing more than little ordinary parenting moments that God uses to remind us of extraordinary truths. I love how He does that! So, here it is.
Do You Still Love Me?
My sweet Gracie has a very sensitive heart. It’s a blessing and a struggle sometimes. She might cry about not wanting to grow up and leave us one day and she also might cry over the stress of not knowing whether she should eat her fish by itself or turn it into a fish taco (life is so unfair sometimes). One of the ways this has affected her is that each time she messes up or does something wrong (sin) she always says the same thing, with tears streaming down, “Do you still love me?”. I always tell her the same thing. “Yes! Of course I still love you. You could never do anything that would make me stop loving you.” Lately I have been saying, “I wish you would stop asking me that. You know I love you. I’ve told you over and over that you could never do anything that would make me stop loving you.” Today I felt guilty about the impatience that had grown in my heart. God was trying to show me something and my own sin was getting in the way. When she looked up at me today I saw her little tears and I asked her, “Is it hard to believe I still love you when you mess up or behave bad?” The emotion and tears came flooding out and she whimpered out a loud “Yes!”. I asked her if she felt like she deserved to be loved. She said, “No!”, with yet another flood of tears. Then, I realized that I wasn’t acting like I still love her when I got irritated. Oh man.
My precious little 6 year old girl feels like she is unlovable when she doesn’t live up to her idea (or my idea! = / )of what a “good girl” is. She feels like she’s not good enough to deserve love. She knows when she disobeys, does something she is not supposed to do, or is careless, I am not pleased with her. She sees my disappointment and displeasure and that upsets her. I admit it takes me a few minutes to move past the moments where she has been “bad”. My first reaction is to remove my love from her. I have to mentally tell myself to love her when she is being a little, um, difficult child. That’s so terrible. I feel like a terrible mother just thinking about it. I hope I’m not the only one who has to do that!? I love her! I do! She is my child. It’s just not the first thing I want to do when she talks back to me or drops a ball from the top of the stairs into the cat litter, just for fun (yes, she did).
Today, I was gently reminded that the need to know we are loved when we sin or mess up isn’t unique to Gracie. When I get in an argument with my husband we tend to remove love from each other until one or both of us apologize and there is forgiveness. After all, he doesn’t deserve my love for a little while when he acts that way, right? We know we should love like Christ and it should be unconditional but our sinful hearts tell us not to at first. Oh, how similar are my feelings when it comes to how I think God must be with me! I say I know God loves me (His Word is true, not what I feel. I know this.) but I still struggle with unbelief somewhere in my soul. Surely God must not feel like loving me when I am a “difficult child”. He must look at me with displeasure and disappointment. After all, I have a really hard time loving me when I think about all the things I don’t do right. Those thoughts are lies, all lies! Romans 5:8 tells us that,
“but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
God showed us his love for us by sending his son, Jesus Christ, to die for us, while we were sinners, aka “bad” or “difficult” children. God loves us when we are messing up. Is that hard to believe? Yup, because we do tend to make love a condition of good or pleasing behavior so we unknowingly attach that same behavior to God. When I say good or pleasing behavior I mean keeping God’s commandments but if I’m being honest I think that means just looking like I think I’m supposed to look most of the time or being the kind of woman I think I’m supposed to be. Like Gracie, I’m not living up to my own idea of what a “good girl” is. Worst of all, I’m getting my idea of what makes me valuable or lovable from the world. All people have a sense that something is wrong with them, it’s jokes about our human state that make us laugh so hard on tv shows or movies. It’s funny but our imperfect, sinful state leaves us feeling lacking and unable to “measure up”. We look at those around us and we look to God and ask, “Do you still love me?”
God has already told us the truth about all this in His Word. Romans 3:23 states that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” God is Holy, and we’re not good enough (fall short), because of our sin, to be with Him. We don’t deserve His love. But God has loved us, (does love us!) enough to give His son, Jesus Christ, so that now we have a way to Him. Once we are in Christ we no longer have to worry about not being good enough for God. We have forgiveness and our good behavior is not a condition of that forgiveness. Now, being good or obedient is something we do out of a desire to love our merciful and awesome God. Wow! I read the good news of the Gospel and hear the good news of the Gospel all the time and I never react like a should. We all DO have a DESPERATE need to know that we are loved, just like my Gracie. We are desperate people! We are just better at pretending and denying it than children are. We seek to be loved by: being the best at our jobs, being the best wife, being the best husband, being the best child, looking good physically, doing all the “right” things, saying all the “right” things, being funny, doing good deeds, etc.
The Gospel is called the good news because it IS good news. God does love us! We ARE loved! That thing you did doesn’t make you unlovable. That person who doesn’t love you the way you need to be loved doesn’t define your worth. This is good news people! When you believe in what Jesus has done and you repent and receive His truth into your heart and life you can ask God over and over again, “Do you still love me?” and He will always say, “Yes! You could never do anything that would make me stop loving you.” The writer Amy Carmichael said, “Our feelings do not affect God’s facts.” I love this! This is truth! 1 John 3:20 says ” …for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.” Do you know everything? Do I? No, absolutely not. When our hearts do condemn us we really need to stop trusting in what we think we know and stop believing that something we could ever do would be good enough to earn us the love we so desperately need. Instead we must trust with all our hearts that what Jesus did is good enough because what He did for us IS LOVE and nothing we could ever do is bad enough to take that love away or good enough to make it stronger. If you are in Christ, when He sees you, He sees His son, and He loves His son. He loves you! Believe it! “God is greater than” your heart!