Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Great, Big, Supernatural Love

Recently I've caught myself doing something I never thought I'd do. I did it in the checkout lane today at Homegoods and then later in the park near our house- I stare at people. Well, I stare at families with young children to be more clear. I stare at the way they interact with one another. I study their faces for clues on whether they're pleased or frustrated or tired. I watch them go about mundane tasks like grocery shopping or watch as they laugh and play together at the park. I'm fascinated with it all- the good, the bad, and the exhausted.

OK I admit, this might be a little weird, but here's the thing- since I became a mom it's like I have this  insatiable knowledge for all things parenthood. It turns out it's true what they say, I've never known love like the love I have for my son and because of that, I will never look at love the same way again, or my parents for that matter. I've realized the kind of selfless marathon commitment it takes to raise a human is nothing short of a phenomenon, and I'm fascinated in what keeps moms and dads rolling along this crazy ride and the only thing I've come up with is LOVE. Great, big, supernatural LOVE.

When I was in my early twenties I was dating a guy my parents did not approve of...to say the least. I mean this guy broke my heart again and again and again. Even so, as you do when you're in your twenties, I continued to let him break my heart until one late night a couple of years later it was enough, and with a very harsh (and a little scary) slam of a door in my face, that relationship was over. I did not go home to my lonely, little apartment. I did not go to a girlfriend's house to eat ice cream and vent. I drove straight to my mom and dad's house at 2:00am and knocked on their door. I had no idea what they would say, I just knew I needed them. I can vividly remember them both opening the door, both taking me into the living room, and both sitting down on the couch so I could lay in their laps and cry and cry. I also remember them both crying with me, the pain of their daughter in pain was too much for them not to. Never once did they say "I told you so." Never once did they pry. They just loved me and loved me until I was better. I'll never forget that. I'll never forget my father standing in the doorway of the room I was staying in and telling me "I've gone through what you're feeling and it's unlike any other pain, however, I wouldn't change a thing from my own horrible heartbreak in my youth because it means I can stand here and tell you YOU ARE GOING TO BE OK. If I made it through, you will make it through, too." To me, that was so profound- he wouldn't change a thing about his own painful heartbreak in his past, because he now knew it would benefit me. Big love.

I've been a Christ follower for 27 years and I've always loved the holiday season, but, because I now know what this bond, this attachment, this THING called parenthood feels like, I will never look at Christmas or Easter the same way again, either. It's now even harder to wrap my brain and heart around a God who loves us so much He sent His only son to be brutally beaten and killed so that we may have eternal life IF we want it. I don't know how God did it, I don't know how he let his baby boy go, but I do know if there was another way to save us, He would've taken it. It's with that knowledge I believe with every ounce of me He did it out of that unfailing parental love, and these days I have a newfound awe of His great sacrifice.

And yes, parenthood is HARD. I think that's another reason I stare at you young moms and dads in my town, I'm wondering if you're doing OK today. There are sleepless nights, not a lot of personal time or space, plans that don't go as planned, and lots of mess. The good news is- great, big, supernatural love doesn't feel like obligation, as least not to me. What it feels like to me is AN HONOR. I'm honored to share in all things parenthood: the good, the bad and the exhausted. And I'm honored to share it with all the parents out there, young and old. But most of all, I'm honored to be a "Whosoever," and I thank God every day not only for the gift of His son, but also for the gift of mine.