I’ve had all these things in my head for the past several weeks, but haven’t been able to figure out how to write it all out. Of course being doped up on Benadryl and other allergy meds the last couple of days probably didn’t help matters and since it is my birthday today, I am allowed to indulge in a bit of inner searching.
Anyway, I’m just going to type it all out on the computer and resist my urge to delete the entire thing for fear that it will only make sense to me and the rest of you will read it while shaking your head and thinking “What?”.
A couple of weeks ago, I watched Steven Curtis Chapman and his family being interviewed on “Good Morning America” and “Larry King Live”.
Honestly, part of me didn’t want to watch because the whole story has just broken my heart. The tragic death of a five-year-old girl hits really close to home when you’re the mother of four children under the age of seven.
But I watched anyway.
One thing came up in both interviews and brought tears to my eyes each time I heard it. After the events, someone told Steven Curtis Chapman that as he was being driven away in a car to get to the hospital where his daughter had just been lifted by helicopter, he rolled down the window and yelled to his devastated son, “Will Franklin! Your father loves you!”
I cried because it is such an incredible picture of how much a parent loves a child. That even in the midst of all that tragedy, he made sure his son knew that he was loved.
But even more than that, I cried because, for the first time, I realized that is how God loves me. How many times have I been crushed by my fears, my failures, my disappointments? How many times have I doubted, questioned, and wondered why things aren’t working out the way I want them to?
He whispered to my heart and let me know that in all those times, when I have been at my lowest points and at my highest points, He has looked at me and said, “Ann! Your father loves you!”
This shouldn’t be a new revelation to me. But it was as if I was learning it for the first time.
When I think back to my childhood, I don’t remember hearing much about God’s grace. I’m not saying it wasn’t being taught, it just never really sunk in.
Whatever the case, I have struggled with grasping God’s mercy and grace. I struggle with how He can love me so much when I so often feel like I’ve failed. And at the heart of that is a trust issue. Do I trust that His love is stronger than my failures? Can His grace cover my flaws? Do I trust that He wants to pour out blessings on me that I don’t deserve, but He gives them anyway because that’s how much He loves me?
Que more tears.
As I sat there, I couldn’t get the image out of my head that God sees me that way, that He feels that way about me. That I am His child and He longs to hold me close the same way I long to hold each and everyone of my babies close. He cherishes every single ounce of me, as I do them, but even more so.
I’ve read Psalm 139 countless times. I know He knows my thoughts, I know He knows my words before they are on my tongue, I know He knows the numbers of hairs on my head (a bit more gray than I remember), and I know His thoughts of me outnumber the grains of sand.
I know it because I’ve heard it before. But I felt like in the days following the Chapman interview. He began to really reveal to me the depths of His love for me. Not for all mankind, not for every creation, but, specifically, for me.
His love for the world isn’t general. It’s not an all-encompassing “I love my creation” thing. It’s specific. Specifically for me. Specifically for you.
In spite of who we are, in spite of how we fail, in spite of all our weaknesses.
Because, here’s the thing. He made us. He knows us. None of our shortcomings and moral failures surprise Him. God doesn’t sit in heaven saying, “Wow. I did not see that coming.”
He sits in heaven, with a deep longing to take us in His arms and say “Ann! Your Father loves you!”
Except He would call you by your name, not mine. Because He’s God.
And He knows your name.
“See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.” Isaiah 49:16