She whispered it in the dark, just as I felt myself falling asleep. Bedtime routine on my own can be rather tiresome and if I’m not careful, I’ll find myself awakened suddenly by a child’s face telling me it’s their turn to be tucked in.
“What is it, baby?”
Even in the dark, her face outlined by the glow of the clock, I could tell she was looking right at me.
“Mama, will you always love me? Even when I do something bad?”
The intensity in her little voice made me pause before answering her. I felt like I needed to get this one right.
“Yes, Eden, I’ll always love you. There’s nothing you can do to make me not love you.”
She put her hand on my cheek. “What about when I don’t keep my room clean? And when I don’t listen to you?”
My heart hurt. It had been a difficult day. Five little ones including a baby who wanted all the attention had us all a bit tired and cranky. It didn’t take much for me to lose my patience.
“Eden, there’s nothing you can ever do that would make me not love you. Nothing. Even if I had to tell you every day to clean up your room until you were 90, I wouldn’t love you any less. And even if I could have another five-year-old girl who cleaned her room every day, I would still want you for my daughter.”
Her lips turned up. All was forgiven. I kissed her head and snuggled close until I could tell she was sleeping.
I lingered a bit, watching her sleep, thinking about what she had said.
Was I that harsh today? Yes, I’m tired but I certainly give my kids enough affection and tell them I love them all the time. How could she doubt that I loved her?
I heard the baby cry. I settled into his chair, still thinking about my daughter’s words.
She had obviously seen something in my actions that day, something that made her need reassurance that I loved her. Yes, I had yelled about the mess. Told the kids I needed them to help me because I couldn’t do it all. It was just one of those days. I was tired from sleep deprivation and a fussy baby and other kids who woke me up during the night.
What kind of mother has her child ask that question? You’d think after five kids I’d finally get things right. I can’t get upset over messy rooms and crumbs on the floor.
As the tears unleashed, I heard God whisper. “Do you know that I still love you?”
What was He talking about? Of course I knew He loved me. I didn’t doubt that.
Yes, things were a bit challenging. Finances were a mess and life felt a bit uncertain. Yes, I thought God was going to put the pieces together for my family’s situation much sooner, but surely He still loved me.
I’m thankful that God speaks in the small moments. In the simple, everyday routines like bedtime and holding babies. In that moment, I saw so clearly the lies that had been whispered over the past year. “Look at her life. Secure jobs and a good financial situation. God’s love must be with her.” And, “See how God’s working out things in their lives? Surely God must love them more than you.” I had unknowingly allowed my present circumstances and what I could see with my eyes to taint my view of God’s love.
I had allowed those lies to shape how I viewed God in hard times. Those lies stole pieces of my identity, clouding the reality not only of God’s love, but that He was still with me. He not only loved me fiercely, He was still fighting for me.
And so it is for you too, mama. No matter what season you find yourself in, no matter how many mistakes you’ve made, no matter how much you’ve “messed up,” His love for you never changes. Even if he could recreate you, He wouldn’t. He would still choose you.