Having a baby has been a lot of things people said it would be (except for the labor. No one prepares you for that. No one. “You’ll be great!” They said. “You’re an athlete!” They said…).
As promised, it has been magical looking down into that little face that looks just like my spouse. It’s been heart melting to feel those fingers wrap around my own. It’s been wonderful to see that little mind learning and growing daily in understanding. It’s been fun to chase around those chubby legs as they toddle about. You realize what it means that your heart actually hurts at times just thinking about that little person because you love them so much.
Having CJ has been these things, and has been SO MUCH MORE. More than I would have guessed and more than words can really describe. Having my baby girl has changed me in profound ways. I did not realize that through this experience my relationship with God would deepen, my knowledge of Him would become sharper and more intimate. It is not that this experience can replace what I have learned through His Word, but it has enhanced His Words, letting them become something I connect to now in ways I just didn’t before. I am sure throughout my life He will continue to give me experiences that heighten this knowing of Him, that will perhaps make even what I feel now fade in comparison, but I am so very thankful for the lessons I am learning through my baby girl.
One of the biggest and most wonderful truths that has come alive to me is what it means that God loves me as a Father. Far too often we are unconvinced of God’s parental love because we are too busy seeing all the ways we do not measure up. We are convinced He must be, at the very least, exasperated with us or just unconcerned with us.
I have always tried to get myself to understand God’s parental love by relating it to the love I feel towards my earthly father, but it still fell short because I was not the parent. I didn’t know what a difference that is.
Now I am the parent and I have come to realize the multi-faceted awesome love that comes with that. My love for Corrie is so many different things.
My love is fierce, loyal, and protective. She is MINE. There is literally this bear woman inside of me that roars to life at even the thought of anything happening to her, anyone messing with her.
My love is tender and soft. I feel my heart melt into soup about twenty times a day when I look at that sweet face or hear her sweet voice. When I’m not feeling the bear I’m feeling this warmth, this sweetness in my soul that is so full it can not be shut up by all the exasperations that come in a day with having a small child.
My love is full of delight and joy. I knew people enjoyed their children. At least when they aren’t completely exasperated by them. I didn’t realize how full the delight and joy are. Corrie makes my heart swell with pride. She makes my heart smile. Since Corrie’s birth many other parents have said to me, “you don’t need TV anymore do you?” because they know how you can just sit and watch that little creature, even just sleep, and be so filled up.
I delight in Corrie in so many ways. I love her long limbs and long fingers and toes. I love the way her hair curls up when she’s hot. I love her grin. I love how she sleeps on her tummy except when she’s napping in her car seat and then she crosses her ankles just like Daddy does when he naps. I love her chubby cheeks and her tummy and oh those thighs! I love that she’s so inquisitive, always on the move, always exploring, investigating, rarely at rest. There’s too much to see and do to sit still for more than 30 seconds. I love that she LOVES people. She learned to wave in Italy and to say “Hi” in Germany and could be the Walmart Greeter of the year. I could go on and on.
The point is, I love her inside and out. I love her for things that are just her. Not because of things she does for me. Not because of her obedience. She can’t do anything for me. And obedience is pretty much her least favorite thing.
But I love her because she is mine. And I love her so much that thinking about it literally brings tears to me eyes.
I have realized that God loves me in these ways! He is emotional towards ME. He is protective of me. He is tender towards me. He likes my hair and my eyes and my long spider monkey arms. He likes my water skis for feet. He enjoys my laugh and the way I think about things. He loves watching me learn and grow and it makes him smile just to look at me.
He loves me because I am HIS.
I knew this before. But now I KNOW it. My eyes saw it in black and white before and now they see the color.
I still have days where I can forget how loved I am, but now I have this happy busy ball of boundless energy and grins to remind me. That too, is a gift from my Heavenly Daddy, who wants so badly for me to know I am precious to Him, loved by Him, and enjoyed by Him.
This is the love He has for each of His children. This is his “Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love” (from the beautiful Jesus Storybook Bible). This is the love of the best parent you will ever have.