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Saturday, November 6, 2010
We had a baby shower at the church today for one of my friends in celebration the upcoming birth of her little one. I was invited to give the devotional, and this is what I shared:
I know that nearly each of you in this room has been a mother longer than I have, with my little one just 9 months old. It is humbling to me that I am suppose to share something with you all this afternoon. I pray that I will encourage each of you, but particularly you Sara, with a little part of what I have learned and realized in my short time of being a mom.
When I was younger and my mom would tell me that she loved me, of course I would respond with, “I love you, too.” Every once in a while she would look at me closely, and tell me that I had no idea how much she really loved me. I just shrugged it off, frustrated that she thought I didn't know what love was, and say, “I know mom, I love you too!” Then she'd reply, “Toni, you won't understand how much I love you until you have a child of your own. When you do, then you will understand.”
So I grew up, hearing this every now and then, thinking my mom was a little bit crazy. I knew her love for me was special, but she really thought I couldn't comprehend it?
Then I had Abel. And I understood.
Sara. When you have your baby and as you continue to watch him grow, you will understand too. You will go into protection mode right away, and your love for him will be fierce. When he smiles at you, learns to clap, or says Mama for the first time, you will melt, into one big mommy puddle.. You won't care about anything else, because you're beaming with pride and love that your son called you Mama. When he cries, your heart will break and you'll want to fix it. You'll want to shelter him from anything that can harm him. When he is in pain, you will hurt. Physically, and deep down in your soul, you will hurt. And wish you could take away the pain, or the fever, or the cough. When he does something wrong, you'll pray for him to just learn the lesson so you won't have to discipline for the same thing over and over and over. And when you pray for his salvation every night before he goes to bed, you will truly understand the meaning of the scripture in Romans 8:26, “ ...For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” That's the kind of love my mom has for me, and now I understand, because that's the kind of way I love my son.
As I've grown to love Abel more and more, and to understand this deeper kind of love, I've realized something. The way we love our children is just a shadow of how God loves us, His children. We might think we understand the depth of His love, or the power of His love, we might think we know how precious we are to Him, but I believe this is beyond our comprehension. Eph 3:19 tells us that “ the love of Christ surpasses knowledge.”
Just like a parent, God disciplines his children to bring them to maturity. He is faithful when we are in pain. He is patient as we make the same mistakes over and over and over. Like earthly parents who try to understand problems their child faces, the bible says that Jesus can “sympathize with our weaknesses.” The love God has for his children is so vast, and immovable. In Romans 8, the Bible tells us just how awesome God's love is for His children. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?.... No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
And like a parent, God protects His children. He has made us his own, adopted us into His family, at great personal sacrifice-- the death of his only son. We are his children now. 1John 3:1 says. “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.” Before Abel was born, I knew of course that God had sent His only son to die for me, and my sins. But when Abel was born, and I had an 'only son' of my own, this took on a whole new meaning. The God of the universe sacrificed his son, his perfect child, for my disgusting rebellion. Not only has he redeemed us, but he has made us co-heirs with Christ. Romans 8 declares that we “ have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ” How rich is this truth! And how deep it is to me now that I have a son. God has sacrificed His son, to make those which have rejected him, his heirs. We've been adopted into his family. And we carry his name.
I love the song by Stuard Towend, How Deep the Father's Love for Us. I know you're all familiar with this song, but let me remind you of the first two verses
How deep the Father's love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure
How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory
So Sara, I want you to remember, that when you see that sweet face for the first time, and when every day you fall deeper in love with your little boy , that that is just a shadow of the love Christ has for His children. We might think we understand how God loves us, just like I thought I understood my mom's love for me before my son was born. But God's love for us is beyond our comprehension. I pray that each day, as you grow to love your son more and more, that you will be reminded of, and in awe of, the immeasurable love our Father has for you.