Before I had children of my own, I remember hearing other parents say things like “you can’t imagine the kind of love you have for your children,” or “you just can’t understand how you can love another person so much.” I knew they were probably right, but it was still maybe a little cliché in my mind. And then I had my sons…and it happened to me too. I fell completely, unconditionally, endlessly in love with them. I look at them and I am overwhelmed by it! I suspect I am not alone, and most of you moms reading this right now will agree that you have done the same thing.
When little ones are two and four, “I love you” seems to flow so freely! And believe me, I am storing every one of them up in my heart for the days when they might not come so easily! My four year old will say, “I love you mommy.” I respond, “I love you more!” He answers, “I love you most!” I say, “I love you the most to infinity and beyond.” You get the idea! Or I’ll ask the boys “How much does mommy love you?” And they know the answer… “SOOOO MUCH!!”
Sometimes I’ll say to them kind of quizzically “I wonder why I love you so much? I guess it’s because God made you just for me.” I tell them that they are my best gifts from God. And I tell them that the amazing thing is that God loves them even more than I do, because He made them. That is pretty incredible. But it’s true! Now my oldest will say to me “Mommy, I wonder why I love you so much? I guess it’s because God made me just for you.” Oh the sweetness of a child’s heart!
As Valentine’s Day is approaching and everything is hearts and roses and love in the air, I started to examine the question that I ask my sons a little more seriously. Why do I love them so much? How is it possible to love someone else so completely just because they are yours? Why do I still love them just as much when they are not behaving particularly lovable as when they are wonderful? The answer, I think, is made very clear in the Bible: we love, because God first loved us. So simple and yet so amazing and complex!
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” 1 John 4: 7-11
That’s the reason we love our children so much. It comes from God. He is the source of love, and it is part of His very nature. It certainly doesn’t come from how good or loving we are, and not even because of how cute or fun our children are. It comes from the simple fact that HE LOVED US FIRST! When I look at my sons, I see the evidence of a God who loves us! I am aware that the love parents feel for their children was carefully created and designed by our loving Father, and graciously put into our hearts in order that we might see Him more clearly.
The love we have for our children is like a beautiful mirror that reflects back to us the love God has for His children.
“The love we have for our children is like a beautiful mirror that reflects back to us the love God has for His children.”
“Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground. So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:26-27
It says in Genesis that God made us in His own image. When I look at my sons I think to myself “has there ever been a more beautiful creation in all the world than their sweet faces?!” I bet you have said the very same thing about your precious babies. It doesn’t matter the specifics of what they look like, they are made in your image. More importantly they are made in God’s image and somehow deep in our hearts we recognize that. Even if your children don’t look like you physically, maybe you are an adoptive parent, or a stepparent; it is still just as true. It makes me feel humbled and in awe to think that God could look at us and see even a glimpse of His own image. What a gift it is to be a parent and have a daily reminder that we have been created by such a loving God!
“You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely.” Psalm 139:1-4
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:13-14
When you love someone you want to know that person. It is amazing to watch as your children grow and you get to see their unique personalities and qualities. To think that God knows everything about them, and us, down to our thoughts before we think them! He was there from day one, as each of us was in the womb, carefully designing every trait, seeing every day to come. What great love!
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:16-17
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
This is the culmination of our Father’s great love for us. While we were still undeserving sinners God sent His own beloved Son so that we might be saved and reconciled to Him. God sacrificed His son, so that we could be adopted into His family as His redeemed children. That is true love!
The next time you look at your child, and your heart overflows with love, remember where it comes from. We are made in the image of God, He created us, He knows us, and even though we didn’t deserve it, He sent His own son in the person of Jesus Christ, fully God and fully man, to save us. Through His perfect life that we couldn’t live, His atoning death that He died in our place, and His glorious resurrection, He offers us the gift of salvation from sin and death and the hope of eternal life. He did all this because He loved us first, and in fact, He is love. There are many counterfeit versions of love out there. But we can trust in the one true source, our God who made us and loves us with an everlasting love. So Happy Valentine’s Day, moms! Give glory to God that today and every day, your children are loved. And you are loved!