God is often described as our “heavenly Father.” Growing up, I thought I knew what that meant. It was easy for me to relate to being a child to a loving father because I was fortunate to have an amazing earthly father of my own. I understood what it meant to be a child. When I became a mom, however, my perspective changed.
Four things being a parent has taught me about our loving Father:
- God desires for us to depend on Him. Children depend on their parents for everything – especially early on in life. As a parent, I’ve learned what it is like to have someone depend on you for literally every aspect of their existence. There are certainly times when I wish my kids could do more on their own, but deep down I really enjoy being needed. (Maybe it’s a “mommy” thing.) I love being the one that they run to when they bump their head or fall down. In the same way, God loves it when we run to Him for help, guidance, and healing.
- God will sometimes allow us to do things on our own so that we have a chance to grow. As much as I love to do things for my daughters, I know that there I times I need to back off and let them try new things. Where would my toddlers be if they never learned how to use a spoon? Sure, it was extremely messy when they were first learning, but they mastered it soon enough. With each mess, they learned what not to do for next time. God isn’t some magical genie that will make everything perfect in our lives. He uses our mistakes to build us up in Christ and to make us more like Him. If He cleaned up every mess we ever got ourselves into and removed every negative consequence of our actions, we would never learn how to do things the right way.
- God doesn’t enjoy disciplining His children. It didn’t take long for me to learn this parenting lesson. Disciplining your child is never fun, but it is necessary. My oldest daughter went through a period of time where she would repeatedly push down her one-year-old sister if she came anywhere near her toys. It was a trying time for everyone in our family (especially our one-year-old who was just desperately trying to play with her older sister!) As a parent, I knew I had to step in. It was difficult at times because I love my little girl, but I knew that disciplining her would help her to grow as a person. Day by day, she is learning how to show love to her little sister, and it is amazing to watch the transformation! The Bible says that God does discipline His kids, much like a parent disciplines their children. We need to remember that His intention is never to harm us, but to watch us grow.
- God loves us unconditionally. I love my daughters. They are the joy of my life. I will admit, however, that sometimes it is hard being a parent. They may be the joy of my life, but they aren’t always a joy to be around…particularly when they are acting out and misbehaving (which they enjoy doing at the worst possible times!) It doesn’t matter how awful their behavior, I love my daughters. Nothing will ever change that. Even at their worst, I wouldn’t hesitate to give my life for them.
I never fully understood the unconditional love God has for us until I became a mom. God truly loves us deeply and unconditionally, even when we mess up. Nothing can separate us from the love of God.
I can say that I would give my life for my daughters (and mean it with all of my heart), but we should never forget that Christ already gave His life for us on the cross. He not only died to save us from certain death, but He did it to one day be near us.
God’s number one desire is to be with His children.
I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” …All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children. – Revelation 21:3-4, 7 (NLT)