Monday, September 7, 2009

Love Never Leaves

When I first became a parent, I had no idea I would learn so much about God from my children. I thought I would be there to guide them into His heart. Little did I know that it would be they, who guided, me.


As they have grown over the years, so have I. My husband and I started out with behavior modification parenting. It was common to hear those around us talk of “breaking the will of the child”. Breaking the will seemed to be an accomplishment that would bring obedience. We set out to make that happen. I shudder even now as I think about it.


The sad reality is, we believed God was the same way. That is until He summoned us to enter into true, authentic relationship. In that place love is the motivating factor, not behavior modification.


I discovered something. God wasn’t after my will. He was after my heart. Obedience wasn’t the most important thing to Him, love was.


It was in that place I began to learn something new. God will never be disappointed with me. His heart aches to hold me close. In sin I separate myself from Him. He exposes it in order to bring me back into His embrace. For He knows that my perception of what He thinks of me changes when I am captured by sin.


There is never guilt, condemnation or accusation. There is only, always, love, mercy and grace. He reveals to return me to where I was meant to be. My sin is not His focus. I am. He didn't come to make me perfect. He came to give me life. Sin destroys life.


When I entered into the world of motherhood, I thought I would bring my babies into the world and love them. It all sounded so simplistic. Yet, it wasn’t. There were times when a child would stray off the path and look in other directions. Choices that cost them were made. I ached as I watched. I prayed, I waited to welcome them back in. All I wanted was to love them. Didn’t they know that? They judged my heart by the way they felt about themselves.


He thought He would bring me into this world and love me. I have often taken wrong turns. I’ve gotten off the beaten path. I looked for love in all the wrong places. Yet, He doesn’t see me covered in my sin. He sees me in a robe of righteousness. He does not separate from me when I choose to return to sin. He is not angered or even disappointed with me. His response is always the same. He pursues me to come back home.


Like the Father in the story of the Prodigal Son, He runs to meet me when I return to be held. For just as I could never turn away from my children because of my unending love, He cannot turn from me. His heart is filled with a love that cannot be measured or challenged. It is from everlasting to everlasting, not based on conditions or behavior.


He knew I would be imperfect. He knew that the lures of this world would pull me in. For when He created the earth, He knew my sins, past, present and future. He couldn’t bear for me to separate myself from Him. He devised a plan. It was His plan of rescue.

The cross has been misunderstood. It’s not about sin. It’s about love. Jesus’ blood was spilled to annihilate that which separated us from entering in as sons and daughters. Because of love He paid the ransom note to bring us back into the embrace of God. He came to restore us to life, to the full. It was the life He always meant for us, before sin entered into mankind. Love was the motivating factor of the cross. His love for you.

There has never been a time when I did not love my children. There is absolutely nothing that they could do that would change that. I see beyond the choices they make. I love.


There will never be condemnation or disappointment with God. There is always and only love. Love welcomes you back. With arms wide open, it runs out to meet you, to restore you to where you were meant to be, in the arms of God.


Sin is not His focus. You are.


Also posted at the Internet Cafe:


©copyrighted: 2009 Julie L. Todd

18 comments:

Proverbs 27:19 said... Reply to comment

It is amazing how we, parents, learn so much from our children. Whenever I realize that God has used one of our children to teach me something about Him I say, "I need my kids more than they need me!"

smooches,
Larie

Jo Princess Warrior said... Reply to comment

I have only been a mother for 6 years and already I have learned so much from my children. I love reading your blog Julie. You never fail to inspire, challenge and make me smile.

Amy said... Reply to comment

Julie,

As I was reading these beautiful words, I was thinking about what a gift you have in writing.

Your gift with words is being used and will continue to be used in a mighty way for the kingdom of God!

Much love!
Amy

Tabitha@ichoosebliss.net said... Reply to comment

I so loved reading this.

Carmen said... Reply to comment

It is truly amazing how children teach you a lot about your relationships with God. How could we love them any less? Even through the hurts and disappointments, we still love them and forgive them.

christy rose said... Reply to comment

Julie,
What a beautiful piece of writing about the love of our Heavenly Father. It is amazing how much our kids teach us about the love of God for us. What amazes me the most is that as much as I love my kids unconditionally and can not imagine anything that would ever make my love for them stop or change in any way, my love for them is so imperfect in comparison to God's love toward us. It is still human love which fails to rise to the level of agape unless I am filled to the rim with His love for me and it spills over from my life into theirs and even others, His glory shining in me. Oh to know the heighth, the depth, the width and the breadth of God's love for me!
Great post! I loved it!
Christy

Sharon said... Reply to comment

Yes we do learn alot from children, don't we. They are so innocent and so pure. You wrote this wonderfully. Very Nice!

Have a Blessed and Joyfilled week my friend :)

Shanda said... Reply to comment

This answers a question my sister had for me, only I didn't know the answer, so I asked God about it and just waited for His response...
Then this:

"There will never be condemnation or disappointment with God. There is always and only love. Love welcomes you back. With arms wide open, it runs out to meet you, to restore you to where you were meant to be, in the arms of God.
Sin is not His focus. You are."

There He goes again, friend! Using you to speak to me.
Love you!
shanda

Karen said... Reply to comment

Beautiful message....

Crown of Beauty said... Reply to comment

You have written from such a deep understanding of God's heart, Julie.

My husband and I were such parents too -- believing we had to break the will (without breaking the spirit) to make our children obey us. To this day, I do not know the difference between breaking the will and the spirit... and I still do not know how deeply, in our ignorance, we have damaged our children because of trying to break their wills without breaking their spirits ...

Yes, like you I shudder. Only God in His goodness saved our children from our ignorance. We were good parents with nothing but love for our children, we just didn't always have the right answers.

And I agree with you that the cross has been misunderstood. It was about sin, yes, but sin wasn't the focus of the cross. God so LOVED the world that He sent His only begotten son... In the ultimate analysis, the cross shows to what extent the love of God will go! You are so right about everything that you wrote.

Thank you for this post. Thank you for the way you write well thought out posts!

Love
Lidj

Tea With Tiffany said... Reply to comment

Sin is not His focus. You are.

I love that.

I'm thankful for God's love and the way my relationship with Him continues to grow. It is all about love. Period.

Thank you.

Miss you.

Love you.

Laurel@FromMyHeartToYours said... Reply to comment

Hi Julie. Just thought I'd pop in for coffee this morning. :) I love having coffee here...

This is beautiful. I always appreciate your words.

May He breath beauty into your day today.

Much love from Canada

Daveda said... Reply to comment

Beautifully stated! I agree 100%! I too started off with the objective to break the will, to accomplish immediate obedience, whatever the cost. I found, as you did, that the cost was too great. The cost was a close relationship with my children, founded on love.

As I began to understand Grace, I began to see that this is not how my father parents me, therefore it no longer made sense to parent my children this way.

Father has taught me, and still is, how to parent my children based on the same foundation that He parents me on. A foundation built on love and relationship. That produces a respect and honor that comes FROM those things, not a way to get to them.

GREAT POST!

Crown of Beauty said... Reply to comment

As we remember 9 11 today, let us look up in hope for our redemption draws near!

I have dedicated my Sept 11 post to all my American friends.

Love
Lidj

Tea With Tiffany said... Reply to comment

Passing along a blessing to you on my blog.

sparrow girl said... Reply to comment

Julie,

This post was so wonderful! So often in the past I have projected onto God the character of a very poor parent - mostly angry, detached, always disappointed, always asking for more, wanting only slavish service and good behavior so we can "make Him look good", noting every fault, quick to punish...
But God is not like that at all! He's the Perfect Parent! Even if His kids are messed us, we're still His pride and joy! He wants a relationship with us more than our obedience! He wants to let us know that no matter what, He'll be on our side, loving us forever. He has promised our faults will never come between us and Him. I am not the perfect earthly parent, but both me and all my family are parented by the best Daddy in the universe and He is working in all our lives for good!

Thanks so much for sharing the loving heart of God. I needed to be reminded of who He really is!

Trinity Mommy said... Reply to comment

What a wonderful post!!! I am in the middle of reading Loving our kids on purpose by Danny Silk and it goes right along with this message! Oh how much I have to learn!

Aine Willis said... Reply to comment

Wow! You are so right ... He is after our hearts. Sin is something that seperates us ... I'm now following your blog. I'm anxious to read more of your thoughts. God Bless.