Student Life Group Pastor
I have to be honest for a second. Raising children is hard work. I have been preparing for raising boys my whole life. Sports, the birds and the bee’s talk, the first time they fall in love, and navigating the world at large are all things I’m prepared to teach them. With my boys it’s all facts, skills, and data. There’s no sugar coating, no white gloves and no major emotional breakdowns. My daughter on the other hand, is a different story. I have no clue how to navigate those waters. She’s 4 and the reality of my inability to prepare her for life is becoming even more evident. Luckily my wife has prepared for this so it’s not a complete disaster. I did have a moment of confidence recently where I really thought, “I could do this”.
Here’s what happened. Just this past month, we moved into a new house. As we were setting up her room we found a poster that she received for her birthday. My wife put the poster up on the wall and then her brothers began to read it to her. The very first line says, “I’m not a perfect girl”. The rest of the poster says:
My hair doesn’t always stay in place
I spill things a lot
I’m very clumsy
Sometimes I have a broken heart
My friends and I sometimes fight
Maybe some days nothing goes right
But when I think about it & take a step back
I remember how amazing life truly is
And through all my imperfections
God still loves me!
It’s the first line that caused my daughter to have a monumental emotional breakdown. We had always taught her that she is perfect because God made her, just like God made everybody, and they are all perfect. That’s not exactly true. None of us are perfect, and we will never be perfect. My wife defaulted to me for this situation as to how to approach the conversation. I confidently let my wife know that I “had no clue”. I said, “Just buy her something pretty and we’ll figure it out”. How was I going to address this conversation? Then as I was talking to my wife, and formulating a plan she reminded me of this verse.
“but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
That was it. Romans 5:8 highlights why the last line of that poster is so important. Even with all of our imperfections, our shortcoming, and our failures God still loves us. Too often we stop just short of realizing that last line. It’s worse if we never get to experience the truth, that God does in fact still love us. Even more truthful, He never stopped loving us. He sacrificed His son for us. This conversation was starting to take shape. I needed more to make sure she didn’t hear something other than the fact that she is loved. Then it hit me, John 3:16. Perfect.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
There was a major problem with this though. This view of love is one that I struggled with most of my life. When I was younger, I couldn’t imagine that God or anyone else could ever loved me because I was so broken. Now that I have grown a bit, I had to show my daughter what God’s love looks like, even when we learn that were not perfect. I wasn’t sure I was ready. Then I remembered 1 John 4:8.
1 John 4:8
Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
This was just what I needed. I didn’t know love, because I didn’t know God. Now that I do, I could share that love with my daughter so she could experience God’s love. I knew just what to do. So Sat my baby girl down and looked her right in the eye and said “baby, your mom has something to tell you”. I’m joking. I sat her down and begin to have the conversation with her. It went as well as you could imagine the conversation going. Maybe it was the pie charts, or the hand drawn map that I used to emphasize my points, but either way she hugged me and said, “I love you daddy”.
I’m not perfect and I may not know how to deal with all the situations that will arise in my daughter’s life. I do know this one thing. Our number one job as parents is to make sure our children know that their heavenly father loves them.
Do you desire to attain perfection? Does it stop you from truly experience God’s love? If you haven’t yet been able to fell God’s love because of situations in your life, or you in a season where it seems like God’s love has diminished, I want to encourage you that God loves all of us, and it’s unconditional. Even if were not perfect.