Sometimes my kids tell me I’m the meanest mom on the planet. Like, the entire planet. With over 7 billion people populating it. I’m the meanest? I’m thinking that’s probably not true. Depending on the time of the month, maybe I reach the top 100,000, but the meanest? I don’t think so, kid.
Here’s what my kids don’t get. They don’t get my love. They don’t get that I can see twenty years down the road and that I really don’t want them to end up as total delinquents. Therefore I tell them “no” or I take their stuff away in efforts to help change the trajectory of their…life. And they straight up hate me for it.
But I’m ok with that. Because I’m learning something really huge through this motherhood gig. I’m learning that my love can’t be measured by their response. Did you get that? My love — the level and intensity of my love — cannot be rightly evaluated by their response to my “loving” actions. Including my loving actions that don’t feel loving.
All this hit me the other day because I had a moment where it bothered me to be called the meanest mom on the planet. And I wanted to shout back, “I PROMISE I’M NOT THE MEANEST MOM! BUT, THERE’S A THING CALLED SELF-FULFILLING PROPHECY, PEOPLE. SO WATCH OUT!” Or maybe I did shout that at them. It’s a blur.
Anyway, it hit me that God loves perfectly. He loves absolutely, scandalously, perfectly. And yet people betray Him, reject Him, deny Him, and curse Him. Continually. He loves me even when He allows things that don’t feel loving. He loves me with vision of my entire life and works in my days for my ultimate good. If I begin with His love, defining His allowances through His love, then peace and hope can’t help but reign in my soul. I sighed deeply at that revelation.
My love can’t be measured by their response.
Sometimes the most loving thing to do for a person is to draw a boundary line. Sometimes the most loving thing to do is to say, “Enough.” Sometimes the most loving thing includes a firm “no.”
We can’t always gauge our love by the response of others. Yes, it’s good and wise to honestly evaluate ourselves in light of what people say to and about us. Because if the whole world is telling us we’re being a jerk then maybe we are. Just sayin’. But people don’t set the plumb line. Jesus does.
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father…that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have the strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Sometimes love is easy and fluffy and candy-like. But other times love is firm and unpopular and isolating. The only way to know how to love in the moments of this messy life, is to press deep into the love of the Father praying that He presses His love deep into us. Then, when the world pushes in, His love in all its complexity can’t help but flow out.
Here’s to being the meanest mom on the planet. #meanmomsunite
Fill me, Lord…
What have you learned about God’s love that surprised you? How does the love of God encourage you?