I know God loves me on the days that I get up early, have time in the Word, my kids are freshly scrubbed and sweetly dressed, the laundry is done and folded before lunch, the counters and floor are crumb-free, and my to-do list is well on it's way to being accomplished before the kids are in bed.
But what about days like today? When I missed my alarm, my peaceful time in the Word was cut short, my head aches with an impending cold virus, and I have a long day ahead of too-many errands in town with two small children, a large belly, and an aching back. When I am snappy at my husband and irritable because I just AM.
Does God love me then, when I feel worthless, faced with my failures as a wife, mother, friend? Well, maybe He loves me, but probably not as much as those other days when I am more... lovable. Right...?
Like Martha in the kitchen, I think Jesus will love me best depending on how clean my floor is, how timely and delicious our meals are, how cute and well-behaved my children are, how frequently and well I care for others in my home and in our community.
This lie is not a new one - to me or to humanity. The lie that God's love and my worth depend on my accomplishments, my performance, is not a surprise to me - that, yet again I place my own value on my ability to do... do.. do! And let me tell you; I can do a lot! There really are days where I accomplish some pretty incredible amounts of things! I won't bother listing them because if you're reading this, you also have days that just sail along smoothly. Surely I am better person (wife, mother, Christ-follower) on those days - right?
My husband and I are
"on staff" on staff with a mission organization and living on an Indian Reservation. Even now, writing about my value and worth, I had to resist the urge to downplay the fact that I am on staff, because my formal role on the team is to be a stay-at-home mom, and does that really mean I am on staff too? Our leadership clearly recognizes and encourages the value of my ministry to the community by being free to care for our children and support my husband in his formal ministry roles, but see what my inclination is? I can't DO, therefore my value, to God, to others is somehow decreased.
I am joining in with GracefullMama in a book study of Because He Loves Me by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick. I was eager to read this book because I have heard Elyse Fitzpatrick interviewed and seen her books recommended by many trusted people but have never yet read anything she has written.
In Chapter 1, she writes:
It's essential for us to think about God's love today because it is only his love that can grant us the joy that will strengthen our hearts, the courage that will embolden us in our fight against sin, and the assurance that will enable us to open up our lives to him so that he might deal powerfully with our unbelief and idolatry...
...If we don't consciously live in the light of his love, the gospel will be secondary, virtually meaningless, and Jesus Christ will fade into insignificance. Our faith will become all about us, our performance, and how we think we're doing, and our transformation will be hindered.
What must we remember? Simply that God loves us so much that he crushed his Son so that we might be his and that this love isn't based on our worthiness or performance. His love doesn't fluctuate from day-to-day. It was settled the moment he set it upon you before the foundation of the world. (emphasis mine)
And I saw myself. I saw myself in the disciples, failing to keep watch just one hour, such a short time after proclaiming that they would die with him.
I saw myself in my failure to say "YES" to whatever God has for me today, and saw myself scattering along with Peter, John, Thomas, when it got too hard, when the heat got too hot.
I saw Him, the Good Shepherd, dying as a Lamb outside the camp, pulling me gently to Himself with His correcting rod and placing me lovingly over His shoulders to carry me back, loving me so tenderly with such purpose that He would not leave me to myself hidden in the darkness of doubt, despair, and perfectionism. I saw His Kingdom coming, the arrival of justice and completion of mercy, the wedding feast of the Lamb, the year of Jubilee.
My three-year-old, Lyddie, said tonight at bedtime, "We are all lost sheep, right mamma? But God always finds us."
"Yes, Lyddie. And that means we are not lost sheep but found sheep, even when we keep trying to run away. Do you remember the story of the Runaway Bunny? He kept trying to run from his mommy but she became the wind to blow his boat, the tree for him to nest in as a bird. We might keep trying to get away, but because God loves us, He is always with us, even if we go over oceans or try to hide in the darkness to get away. The Bible says that even darkness is not dark to Him so He always comes after us like the Mama Bunny. Because He loves us."
And it is true, every day of ages past and future. He loves me.