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Inward Journey: How God Loves Us

March 2, 2019

Inward Journey: How God Loves Us

If you’re a regular reader here, you know that I believe in God. I’ve never seen God, never touched or shook God’s hand, never hugged that Being, yet still I believe. As we begin again the Christian season of Lent, how can we grow in faith, love, and devotion to God?

How is it that we can feel the emotion of love towards a being that has no physical presence with us—not even in the past, like our loved ones who’ve died? Perhaps we can find metaphors and examples, thinking of those we love and how love is communicated.

Michelle when she was about 18-20 months.

When I was pregnant with our second child, our oldest daughter Michelle was probably about 20 months old and could talk a fair amount. One night—when I no longer rocked her to sleep—she wanted me to rock her. She was having trouble falling asleep, which wasn’t too surprising in light of the fact she had two naps that day, and usually she only had one. As we rocked, she sprawled on my lap; I began to stroke her little face to soothe her, round and round, lightly with my fingertips. An expression of pleasure and relaxation came over her face, like she was feeling tingly-good-all-over. I knew she was just loving it.

Later I wrote about this experience in my journal and said that as I looked down at her, I felt such love too—that there wasn’t anything I wouldn’t do for her. Of course there were things I didn’t do for her (give her cookies all day, or rock her every night). There were things I wouldn’t let her do, (crawl way up on a dresser, or sofa back, or kitchen counter)—things that I judged weren’t good or safe for her overall being. And there were things I did to her or for her I wished I wouldn’t have to: like cleaning her drippy nose, or shampooing her hair. She dreaded shampoos and shook her head pathetically when she knew what was coming.

I think Psalm 103:13 says that God, too, wants to do good things for us, but life includes things like shampoos and nose wipes and worse. “As a father has compassion for his children, so the Lord has compassion for those who fear him.” God doesn’t want us to do things that are not good for us, like smoke, overeat, play loose with our bodies and affection, overwork or overplay.

On the positive side, what is the new thing God wants to do with me this Lent? Grow in love, spend more time in relaxed and mindful meditation: prayer, reading, reflection? Perhaps I can give up the late afternoon snacking when temptation is strongest, nibbling on things that aren’t good for me. Another verse in Psalm 103 is a good one to remember: “God fills my life with good things, so that I stay young and strong like an eagle” (verse 3, Good News Version).

As a young mother, I certainly felt like I had too little time to focus on my inner life—to take time to meditate and pray. When I was in high school and college, I went for long walks and reflected in solitude on God as my creator, and focused on where I felt God was leading or pulling me: lots of time for journaling and reflection. Yet, those times could be depressing and frustrating too, bordering at times on too much navel gazing: thinking more of myself—and not looking outward to others.

So whatever our season in life, we can aim for balance: take time for God, take time for others, take time for ourselves. We can strive for true knowledge, better judgement. Perhaps the last verse of Psalm 103 is apropos here: “The steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting” (verse 17). I want to stand on that promise.

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What moments do you enjoy most with your children, grandchildren, or nieces and nephews?

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What have you learned about God’s love as you’ve been around children?

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Any special disciplines or habits you want to take up during Lent?

 

You can download a free PDF of 7 Lenten devotionals that I shared two years ago online at https://findingharmonyblog.files.wordpress.com/2017/04/lenten-conversations-pdf.pdf.

 

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3 Comments
  1. This is a perfect devotional for me at mid-day. God’s love is very elastic!

    This morning Curtis worked in our yard, mowing with an attachment which sucks up oak leaves that fall in spring. We had lunch at Panera Bread. He ate a full meal and accepted my baguette too. I learned about his skateboarding adventures with friends. I like keeping in touch.

    • You are so lucky to have Curtis and living near by–not so much for the extra help, as for being able to keep in touch with his adventures. Way to go.

      I have to share a sweet moment from our weekend visiting our daughter (Michelle that I wrote about above) and her little tribe of 3 wee ones. The oldest, now 5+, was so thoughtful in bringing over to his grandpa a little stool that says “James” on it for Stuart to use as a place to set his CPAP machine Stuart uses every night. James had seen us use that stool before (with the spare bed in their large basement playroom), and without asking or us going to seek it out, he came bringing it for Grandpa. Very touching and a sign he’s maturing nicely. (Of course there were other moments when the maturation pills were going down hard ….)

      • I don’t take our proximity for granted – they lived in Chicago for 10 years and that was hard. Thanks for sharing your sweet James story!

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