Today is my father’s birthday. My father – both my parents – have been a wonderful influence in my life. One of the biggest impacts I’ve found they’ve had on me, though, is the love they’ve had for me. The love many parents have for their children mirrors a gimps of our Heavenly Father’s love for all of us. They modeled to me how God loves all His children. And I hope that through me, my children will see the same. Here are 5 ways my parents reflected God’s love:

1. They Set Expectations of Me
Because they loved me, they set boundaries for me. They set guidelines and held me to them. God has done this for us through His word, as well.

2. They Disciplined Me
When I pushed boundaries, broke rules, disobeyed, there were consequences. It wasn’t because they loved me less. It was because they loved me all the time and they wanted the best for me. They wanted me to learn. God does that same thing for us. A course correction, if you will.

3. They Where There for Me
When I needed something – to talk, to confess, to be lifted up – they were there (and still are). God does this for us on a whole different level. My parents currently live just over 150 miles away from me (but only a phone call away). But God is always present, with me wherever I go. He hears my every thought, my every prayer. 

4. They Let Me Go
They didn’t keep me under my thumb. They knew I needed to find my own way, to make my own decisions, to make my own mistakes. God doesn’t make us do anything. He’s there, pulling us close to Him, but we have to open ourselves up to allow Him into our hearts, just as we have to allow what our parents taught us to sink in. 

5. They Loved me Unconditionally
No matter what I did, no matter how much of a pain in the butt I was, they still loved me. Always. God does this. No matter how far we stray from him, we’re never too far. We can always come back home. 

Modeling our Heavenly Father’s love is one of the best things we can do for our children. It’s one of the best things my parents did for me. So, today, on my dad’s birthday, I say, thank you Mom and Dad! I hope I can pass the wisdom and example you set for me on to my own children.

Lacy Jo Donald

I, like many mothers, can't remember my life before I had children. I adore my children and love to spend time with them. I also love my job, God and my family!