I am thankful that God did not give up on me.
I did not grow up following Christ. I remember, as a child, feeling like there was something more to life. I would write my prayers down, though I didn’t know God yet. I was someone that you would think of as a “great kid” and I did want to do the “right thing” most of the time. However, in time I would make quite a few poor choices. I did not obey at His first request but in patience, God pursued me with His unconditional love.
All along the way He kept chasing me.
Though there was separation, God did not surrender His pursuit of me and for me. It was His constant pursuing of me that eventually brought me to the point when I surrendered my life to Him as a Senior in High School.
I am thankful God didn’t give up on me.
What drew me to God was not rules, but His gracious invitation for a relationship.
It was His love, in light of His law that I had broken, that drew me to love Him in response. This is the heart of the gospel. In 1 John 4:10 we read, “This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”
The gospel informs me that my security in Christ as a son or daughter is based on Jesus’ performance, not my own. It is in the context of this loving relationship that I desire to live in obedience.
Rules may change behavior, but they cannot change the heart.
This is why our children need first and foremost a relationship and not just a list of rules. They need our love, before they need our law. Our children need to know that we will not give up on them and that our love for them is not dependent on their obedience. Like God’s love, our love patiently instructs, pursues, and endures. This is how we parent because this is how we have been parented by God.
I remember the first time I heard my husband whisper these beautiful words to our oldest daughter:
“Bella I will always love you. Nothing you ever do will make me stop loving you.”
I was reminded in that moment that we must remember to always tell our children one very very very important thing:
Just like God loves us, we will always love them. God never gives up on us and we will never give up on them.
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” -Romans 8:38-39