In my most personal post to date, I wrote a letter to my son in response to a difficult situation our family experienced. Read on to explore thoughts about a mother’s steadfast love for her children.
With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, everyone is chatting about love and drawing little hearts and X’s and O’s. It’s such a sweet little holiday that I’ve always loved.
But this year I’ve had deeper thoughts about love floating around in my brain and in my heart. After a very personal experience in my life that deeply affected and changed our family, I’ve felt a huge need to reassure my boys that the love they experience from me is more than mere emotion or a reward for making me happy.
I wanted them to know that my love is steadfast–just the same way that God says He loves us.
I wanted them to know why I can say with confidence that my love for them will never change.
While I’ve left the personal details of our situation out, they are not important. I know you can relate quite well because you have your own story and circumstances that have impacted you.
In one way or another, you’ve had to think about what it means to love someone.
Regardless of how well your mom or your dad or [insert person’s name here] did or did not love you, I hope you can find a measure of encouragement thinking about God’s steadfast, immovable love for you.
Everyone has one or two defining moments in their life that change them.
Difficult moments that break them, in a way. Like a broken bone, it affects the way you move and live. And though you can set the bone and help it to heal, an x-ray will always show evidence of the break.
I don’t think your little brothers will remember that moment in our lives, but I know you will. Even though it was my moment, it also became your heartache as well. You were confused and needed to be assured that you could always depend on your mom and dad. And that’s why I needed to write this to you.
Here’s the beautiful thing about heartache, though. When you press into our Great God with your pain, He is with you. He not only comforts the heartache, preventing it from becoming too much to bear, but He also uses it for your good and your sanctification.
Remember Romans 8:28? “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
And sometimes–if you’re really lucky–something will happen in the future that gives you a tiny glimpse into the “why” of it all.
But not usually. Not on this side of eternity.
No, on this side of eternity we bathe ourselves in God’s promises and patiently let Him change our hearts to be more like His.
Son, during the time I’ve spent leaning on God, our shared heartache has taught me one beautiful thing:
My Love for you is STEADFAST. It will never change.
But I’m not sure that you really know what that means
I don’t love you because you deserve it.
You haven’t earned my love.
And since there’s nothing you can ever do to earn my love, that means you can never lose it.
I loved you from the moment I learned you were growing in my belly. Not because you had done anything good or contributed anything to our family. Not because I thought you would one day become a scientist, the President, an engineer, a terrific father, or some other great thing that your Dad and I would be proud of.
Not because you would make me look good in front of my friends or coworkers. Not because you would be kind to me, or respectful, or smart. Not because you would come see me when I am an old lady.
Nope. I just love you because you are mine.
I just set my love upon you because I want to.
Do you understand what that means?
If you disappoint me, I will still love you.
If you rebel against me, I will still love you.
If you make life choices that are wrong and detestable, I will still love you.
If you humiliate me, I will still love you.
If you betray me and stab me in the back, I will still love you.
Now, I do love you enough to confront you and discipline you, but you also need to know that your worst actions and attitudes do not remove my love from you.Since there’s nothing you can ever do to earn my love, that means you can never lose it.Click To Tweet
It’s An Uncommon Love
This kind of steadfast love, it’s not really all that common. You know that, right?
When someone hurts us, we pull back and protect ourselves. We stop being vulnerable and we certainly stop pursuing.
Even moms will stop, given enough heartache.
So you may wonder how I can be so certain that I will continue to love you no matter what.
Here’s why: Because that’s how God loves me.
I have nothing special to offer God in exchange for His Love. Even when I didn’t care about Him or want Him, He decided to set His Love upon me anyway. I didn’t do one thing to deserve it. It was His kindness–not His judgment–that led me to repentance.
Romans 2:4: “ […] Do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?”
So you see, Son, I don’t need your love to love you. Whether or not you return my affection, I will continue to love you. I am filled to the brim with His acceptance, security, love, and hope. It pretty much flows out of my pores, and I can’t really help but extend the same to you.
Why wouldn’t a parent who has everything want to also share that with her son? Why would I withhold any of it from you?
It’s a Love That Makes You Run
Do you remember the prodigal son?
Most people assume the theme of the parable is mostly about the son’s repentance. But one word opened my eyes to the idea that it’s probably more about the Father’s affection for his son.
That word is run.
The Father is seen running toward his wayward son who has come home.
His son offended him, embarrassed him, disappointed him, and rejected him. The father had every right to be closed off, irrevocably hurt, and at the very least, demand a serious apology before accepting his son back home.
But the man was instead waiting eagerly on his front porch, hoping and praying, with no agenda whatsoever except to love his son.
And when he finally glimpsed his son far off, he ran to him. In a shame/honor based society, scholars teach that it would have been considered utterly shameful and embarrassing for a 1st Century Middle-Eastern man to run, and even more humiliating to run toward a shameful son.
The son would have been publicly scorned in that society, forced to prove his true repentance to earn his way back to his father. But the father sprinted to his son before his son could get to town so that the father could absorb the shame for his son. All he wanted was to be reconciled. Even if it shamed him in the process.
So when you think of that Father running recklessly, unashamedly toward his son–without a thought about how ridiculous He looks to others or how much His son doesn’t deserve it–know that this is how your mama feels about you.
But if you don’t remember that, then please, know that this is how God feels about you.
That is the point of the parable, after all. Jesus wanted us to know that God sees Himself as the father in the story. We are the son, and He tears a path down the road to wrap His arms around us and kiss our face.
God is willing to bear the shame that you deserve in order to be reconciled to you. He is good and generous and patient and self-sacrificing.
And, having His generous love poured all over my life, there is no reason that I cannot do the same for you.
So, when you lay your head down tonight to go to sleep—whatever state your heart is in, whatever troubles or worries this world has given you, however old you may actually be when you read this letter—know one thing:
I will run to you no matter what. I will never, ever, ever stop loving you.
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