The other morning I opened the devotional book Jesus Calling to read it aloud to Dave as he ironed his shirt.
“Oh, I have a hard time believing that most of the time,” I said—before I’d even read the first sentence.
“Believing what?” Dave asked.
“Here’s what it says,” I answered. “’I am pleased with you, My child.’ And listen to this: ‘You don’t have to perform well in order to receive My Love.’ Ouch!”
Forty-five minutes later I was in the middle of my workout when son Jake came down to the basement and did what he always does in the early mornings when none of his other siblings are yet stirring: he went straight to the couch and cuddled with our dog, Chai.
“Oh, Chai,” he said, his voice syrupy sweet. “You’re such a good girl. What a good girl you are!”
Feeling a bit like chopped liver—I hadn’t even rated a “hello”—and in the middle of a huffing, puffing part of my workout, I asked, “What has she done to make her a good girl, Jake? She’s just lying there.”
He looked up, his face surprised. “Mom, I love her. That’s what makes her good!”
I love her. That’s what makes her good.
I am pleased with you, My child.
I guess God really wanted to drive the lesson home.
Ephesians 2:8 “For it is by free grace (God’s unmerited favor) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation) through [your] faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [of your own doing, it came not through your own striving], but it is the gift of God;”
I like how the Amplified version puts it: “not through your own striving.” Oh, I strive. And I beat myself up and assume that God feels the same as I do when all my efforts come up short or are revealed to be what they are—things done to make me feel good about myself.
At bedtime the other night, Patrick said something hurtful about a group of people. He said it without thought, just to be talking, but I didn’t let it slide. “Do you realize how hurtful those words were? Do you realize what you were saying?”
When I explained, he DID understand.
And he felt awful.
When I went into his room to kiss him goodnight, his cheeks were tear-stained and he wouldn’t look at me.
I rubbed his head, and he turned his face to me and asked, “Mommy, do you still love me after what I said?”
Man, when any of your kids say that—but especially your adopted baby—it stops the heart!
“Oh, sweetheart,” I said—when I could say anything, “nothing’s going to change my love for you. I Love You! It’s like a fact.”
He loves me!
He loves you!
It’s like a fact.