Devotion – Loving as He Loves
– TJ Wierenga
A few months ago, I had more-than-one of THOSE days after not-JUST-one of those nights. You moms know the story, or one similar. My 2 ½ year old son and barely 1-year-old daughter were teething simultaneously, but they were tag-teaming ol’ Mom when it came to waking up at midnight, the late hours of the night, the wee hours, and finally beating the sun itself out of bed. The combined effects of having woken up at least six times apiece in the night, getting up even earlier than their normal 6:30AM, and teething pain were setting us all on edge.
After what felt like endless patience and what felt like Mother Theresa-like grace, I was finally getting pretty worn down. Around 3 in the morning I was scrunched up beside my son in his toddler bed trying to soothe him yet again, with one arm stuck through the slats into my daughter’s crib trying to soothe her yet again… and my son woke from the light sleep he’d fallen into by suddenly kicking the devil out of my back. This was less than 12 hours after I’d had painful deep-tissue massage and chiropractic work done on my back, so I was sore to begin with.
And to my surprise, I heard myself respond to his whiny mutterings with a sound I never thought I’d use on my little darlings – my mean voice. The one I used for rapidly approaching, strange large dogs… or a horse who was trying to bluff me during training. A growly, frustrated, not nice voice. A big mad, scary voice that my son had never heard come from my mouth, and was now issuing forth in the middle of the night when he was, let’s face it, just being a two year old.
Immediately his whining turned to a sound of fear, and he started crying. And in that split second, I remembered the sermon I’d just enjoyed so much at church that Sunday. The pastor reminded us that Jesus came to us while we were still sinners. Not after we had cleaned up our act and came even a little bit closer to ‘deserving’ Him. We didn’t have to earn His love. We didn’t deserve it. But He sacrificed Himself for someone – a world of someone’s- who at the very least behave on occasion like brats, and who can’t understand our own pain and handle very little with either grace or gentleness.
John 13:34-35 tells us, “A new command I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.”
With a lump in my throat and tears in my own eyes, I held my little boy against my heart and told him that I was sorry for speaking to him like that, and that I loved him very much. I asked him to forgive me for not being a nice mommy. Relaxing into my hold, he whispered “I love you Mommy.” I hugged him tighter and softly sang his favorite lullaby until he went back to sleep.
I immediately turned in my heart and mind to my Heavenly Father, and told Him I loved Him, and asked Him to forgive me for having not loved my son the way He loves us. And I asked Him for comfort, and peace, and gentleness. And the same way that my “Mommy kisses” help my children, God immediately helped me.
“The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17