My love for you can’t be earned.
I felt it long before you were born.
I recognized it when I saw two pink lines.
When I first beheld your profile on the monitor my heart burst and my eyes glistened.
I was a momma long before the world recognized it.
The first time I held you my spirit soared.
When the unknowns overwhelmed and lurked fearfully in front of us, I clutched you closer.
Daddy paved a way before us and our Father in heaven before him.
The first night out of the hospital was hard, my son. I stood and swayed and rocked you in my arms long after my body ached with protest.
Our first night in the hospital felt impossibly long, my daughter. I nursed you and nursed you and nursed you until my milk came in the next morning. I thought my eyes would never know rest, until at last they did.
My love for you can’t be earned.
I felt it when you first fell asleep in your daddy’s arms.
I recognized it when my stomach began to swell and I felt your first gentle fluttering, like a pulsing heartbeat made of butterfly wings.
When I first beheld your lacy golden-red lashes battle against sleep, your sweet milky smile mirrored my own contentment.
I was your momma long before I realized it.
The first time I recognized God had made us for each other . . . the first time I understood God had orchestrated the weaving of our family all along, my fears dispelled like fog in the sun.
My love for you can’t be earned because His love for us is freely given.
I used to think I had to prove myself to Him, to my family, to me.
I used to think perfection exemplified my devotion to Him, but really it undermined the truth of my need for Him.
Because, when I graduated high school, I put away childish things. As I looked in the mirror, I didn’t realize how dark and obscured the world really was, and I let a veil drift over my thoughts and stifle my identity.
I thought in order to be a “good” Christian and a “faithful” daughter, I could struggle but never slip.
And when I slipped, I tumbled and vaulted.
Asphalt dug into my knees, air constricted my lungs, and I grew dizzy losing myself to a person founded in lies.
But finally, His light, the light of the Son, permeated my family and friends . . .
Each person loved me in my darkness.
Each person recognized this was not who I really was.
And, eventually, my hands bled from fracturing the glass that had enclosed around me.
Jesus gave me freedom. I shared my testimony, spent time with friends, prayed, cried, and fought depression.
Then I read Luke 7: 47: “‘Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven- for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.’”
And I realized the corrosion perfection had done to my soul. The damage my own perception had caused- long before the “first” mistake. I recognized the beauty born of my repentance and His redeeming love was that I now knew how much my salvation rested on Him.
I could never earn it. I could never gain it through any means of my own. I could never obey enough rules or race fast enough down the right path.
And though I had fallen and my life had spun out of control, my mistakes were not weighty enough to drive His love from me.
In fact, His forgiveness now meant more to me. Because I now had a better understanding of His love, I loved Him more.
My love for you can never be earned.
You don’t have to chase after my affection. You don’t have to strive for perfection. I’ll love you in your struggles. I’ll hug you when you’ve fallen. I’ll run out to meet you when you begin to slip.
Because I felt His unrelenting forgiveness long before you were born.
I first recognized His redeeming plan when I beheld your father’s reckless love.
I was His daughter, his wife, and your momma long before the vows were made; long before your first heartbeat.
Because a sovereign God knew all along.
The King of the universe knit you together in my womb.
The ultimate steward grafted us together.
He found purpose for the splintered wood and broken limbs. He brought forth new life.
From the overflow of His love, my heart was created to carry yours.
From His death and resurrection on the cross, our stories were irrevocably woven and grafted into His.
No ands, buts, or ifs.
Not because, nor despite.
We recognize, realize, behold, and understand that love is the greatest gift.
Our greatest joy is sharing it with you.
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. -John 15:4-5
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