BIG LOVE: if only I didn’t automatically attach this phrase to HBO’s sensational drama about polygamy.
In a beautiful blog article I just read, a mother uses this to describe motherhood, and that’s a much better fit. In fact, staring at my peacefully sleepińg toddler, with her pink flushed cheeks, her smacking pouted lips, and wild halo of fine blonde hair, “big love” captures just what I feel for her. A love so sizeable that it makes my chest feel like it’s full of bubbles.
Once you’ve felt this intense, primal, “I will hunt you down and hurt you if you hurt my baby” kind of mama love, you know that love comes in different shades and sizes.–Big mama love is BIG and bright, and beautiful and painful. Big mama love will rock and hold your baby after shes scraped a knee. It will stand up and cheer loudly when he graduates kindergarten, 1st, 3rd, or 12th grade. It will say “I love you & I forgive you” when she’s crashed the car, drank at a party, and broken your heart into a million pieces again and again.
But here is my favorite part of this BIG LOVE. It gives me a glimpse of God’s love for us. Gods big love is the kind of love that celebrates our smallest victories. It weeps over the pain and suffering sin causes in our relationships and lives. Instead of piling our sins and mistakes against us, Gods big love says we will start fresh each day–I died for every mistake you will ever make.
“Dear children, let us not love with words and speech, but in action and in truth.” 1John 3:18
Whenever I’ve had to make life’s biggest decisions whether it was about colleges, getting married, or buying a house I’ve wanted God to give me his direction in a major way–like with fireworks and stuff. But it seems that most often in these major moments of indecision God is the most quiet.
As frustrating as this silence can be, I realize that if God had a megaphone, shouting directions at me, I wouldn’t grow in the process of decision making.
When a ball of clay is shaped into a clay pot on a potters wheel, it cannot be formed into its desired shape right away. There is first a process called centering, where the clay is shaped into the perfect circle, opening , where it is hollowed out, and flooring where the base of the pot is formed. Without these steps, the pot would be unbalanced and without a foundation.
The finished product is beautiful , but the throwing process is a artful dance that is just as significant as the pot itself.
Being in a state of indecision is uncomfortable, but God reminds me to take it one step a time with Him as he uses the process to shape and prepare me for my next adventure.
“Every good and perfect gift is from above…” James 1:17
Blessings always come with responsibilities. The greater the blessing, the greater the responsibility. When I was a kid, if my pockets were full of a few quarters and a couple cubes of bubble gum, then I felt blessed and other kids felt jealous. But when I got my first car, I quickly learned that cars don’t run on quarters and bubble gum. The blessing of a car meant the hard work of babysitting and odd jobs to earn enough money to fill the gas tank.
When I became a mom, the blessing of my daughter came also with the heavy weight of responsibility. Not only do I receive the pure joy and pride of being a mother to my gorgeous, stubborn, and independent little girl, but every time I look at her, I’m reminded of the great calling God has put on my life to care for her, to teach her, and to love her, even when that means the tough kind of love.
A person can respond to responsibility in a few different ways. We can resist it or even grow to resent the extra work that comes with responsibility. We can become a slave to it, allowing the responsibilities to run our life and become an obsession. Or, we can embrace it and lean on God to strengthen us in fulfilling our responsibilities. When we remember the blessings that are attached to the extra work, it’s easy to see that it’s worthwhile, but our perspective can determine whether we treat our blessings as gifts or burdens.
When we think of the James verse, it’s easy to think that a perfect gift means something that is lovely, flawless, and uncomplicated, like quarters and bubble gum, but in life we quickly learn that the most perfect gifts come with responsibility and sacrifice. We can choose to embrace God’s gifts and draw closer to him, or miss an opportunity for God to touch our hearts and lives with His call to greater responsibility and trust.
After two days of battling naps and bedtime with my two year old, I was fried. That afternoon I’d walked nearly a marathon pushing a stroller (minus 25 miles) trying to get B to go down for a nap. Finally, tired and frustrated, I looked her in the eye. I said “Mommy really needs time away from you. I’m going to put you in your bed with a bottle of milk, and your job is to fall asleep.” She looked at me earnestly and said, “otay.” I layed her down, left the room, and a miracle happened…. she fell asleep.
It occurred to me then, how often do we ask for what we want? So often we either play the martyr by going without, or we expect others to be mind readers and meet our needs without communicating our expectations.
How often do we ask God for things we want? He may be better than a husband, He can read minds, but God still calls us to pray to him about our wants and needs.