Hope is starting to understand what it means to disappoint someone, namely me. It occurred to me today that she may understand this too well and then it broke my heart. This is a concept with which I, too, am overly familiar. Never does it show up better than in my relationship with the Lord. My posture, most often, when I come to God, is of one who is sure she has disappointed. I am so aware of my unworthiness, my unholiness, that it makes it a chore for me to come at all. Who wants to feel all of that?
Hope and I have had a rough couple of weeks. There has been lots of discipline. Today as I sat down to meet with the Lord and felt that immediate sense of disappointment, I could totally relate to my sweet daughter. She says, “I’m sorry mom. I’m really sorry. I keep doing bad things. I’m sorry.” I say to the Lord, “I’m sorry, Lord. I’m really sorry. I keep doing bad things. I’m sorry.” Then, I tried to put myself in the Lord’s shoes (a mighty feat for sure). What must he be thinking? What would he say?
It occurs to me that I have no real concept of how he feels when he is disappointed. My only relatable example is how I feel when Hope disappoints me in some way and I am afraid that, too often, my feelings of anger or sadness are too mixed up with my own distorted expectations of her, or of myself as a parent, or of life in general. So, I doubt if I ever come close to any sort of righteous disappointment.
But I know a thing or two about love. Pure, sacrificial, heartbreakingly beautiful, terrifying love. I knew all about that kind of love as soon as I laid eyes on my little bundles. I experience it every day, even on really hard days. There is always a moment, and sometimes more, when I look at my kids and am overcome with love. In that moment I would give anything to erase the ways I have failed them. (As a side note, I think I can only really handle moments of this raw kind of love. For the first year of Hope’s life, I got teary every time she smiled. This love often causes a physical reaction in me.) So, if I know about love then that means I know at least something of the way God feels about me. Why, then, do I tend to think of myself as a disappointment to God…that somehow, despite his infinite resources of love which far exceed my own, when it comes to me, flaws outweigh beauty?
Here is truth. The times that I have most fully experienced the Lord have been times when he has sweetly whispered his love to me. He knows that I am flawed. We talk about it a lot. But, from my own experience with my kids, I am convinced that he is most often overcome with love for me. Certainly, that love caused a physical reaction as he spilled his precious blood.
So, today, I made cookies for Hope. And I let her have four of them, right before dinner. And I sat her on my lap and told her that, even though she sometimes does bad things, she is precious, and she has a good and beautiful heart, and I love her. She smiled, and I got teary.