(The husband hates this. "It's hard to snuggle with you when your knees are in my ribs, you know." Sorry, Love.)
I lay there wondering when I will finally feel those first movements of the tiny one growing inside me. I marvel at the intensity of the love that I already feel for this child who I can not yet even sense, much less see and touch and smell.
I hear the silent whisper: "That is but a reflection of the way I love you, My Child."
That is the way my Heavenly Father loves me. Even more, truly, in its perfection and completeness.
I can scarcely fathom that sort of love from our holy God.
Scars still run deep from my first understanding of God, distant and angry, meting out his forgiveness with reluctance and only after much begging. Always watching, waiting for the mistakes, quick to anger. Sins separated as far as the east is from the west? No, never, but rather counted and recorded and stockpiled on scales that could never be balanced out.
My head has since learned of another picture, a picture of a God who is Love itself - not simply loving, a single characteristic, but Love in His entirety, the very embodiment of Love! - and yet my heart has been slower in accepting this. It's too good to be true...but then isn't the entire Gospel? It's all just too good, and yet somehow still true.
I surround my children with this picture of a God who is Love, but can I really do so completely if I haven't wholly accepted it myself? Can I reflect a picture, however weak and marred by human error, of that sort of unconditional, all-consuming love if part of me is pushing it away in my own life?
This, I decide, will be my Lent. Giving up...what? My picture of an angry God? My hesitance to wholly accept His perfect love in my life? I don't know. I can think of it only in the positive: I desire to spend this Lent coming to better know this God who loves us passionately and intimately and wholly. Drawing closer to the source of all life and goodness. Learning more of the passion that led to a cross and a tomb and a bodily resurrection.
"As Jesus addressed God by the Aramaic family word 'Abba', Father, so Christians are encouraged to do the same: to come to know God in the way in which, in the best sort of family, the child knows the parent. From time to time I have met Christians who look puzzled at this, and say that they have no idea what all that stuff is about. I have to say that being a Christian without having at least something of that intimate knowledge of the God who is at the same time majestic, awesome, and holy sounds like a contradiction in terms. One of the characteristic signs of the Spirit's work is precisely that sense of the intimate presence of God."
-N. T. Wright, "Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense"
Lead me during this time of Lent, Father, to a more intimate sense of your love and presence. Prepare my heart to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, Your Son and our Savior.
Just writing along with The Extraordinary Ordinary...