It was a simple, yet profound statement, one I thought of often in the months to come. My daughter was finishing her third, and perhaps most trying, semester at the University of Lincoln and dealing with sleep deprivation and time management challenges. To add to her stress, this was her first year living both out of our house and out of the dorms.
In other words, she’d taken a giant leap into the adult world, and she was beginning to feel the strain.
In my normal, hover-mom capacity, I cleared my schedule and headed her way, ready to “fix” it all, or at least, every thing that I could fix.
Which was very little. I couldn’t help her pass her classes. I couldn’t cook for her after a long, busy day at school. I couldn’t navigate relationship or time management issues for her. But what I could do, I soon learned, was enough. More than enough.
We spent the afternoon grocery shopping then brought everything back to her apartment where together, we’d prep everything she’d need for a week’s worth of lunches and dinners.
Things didn’t turn out quite like I planned. By the end of the night, we’d made a mess of her kitchen, burned the chicken, and spent more time laughing then anything else. As darkness settled outside her apartment window, she glanced sideways at me, elbow deep in quinoa, and said, “The best thing parents can do is make sure they’re children know they’re loved. They can make a lot of mistakes, but so long as their kids know they’re loved; that’s what matters.”
As I said, I thought about her statement a lot over the next few months as God showed us two kids, teens, (foster children) who grew up feeling unloved. He gave me a front-seat view, if you will, of what life looks like, when one lives loved, versus when one that doesn’t feel that same cushion.
The differences were extensive.
For example, growing up, whenever we had to discipline, train, or challenge our daughter, though she’d get frustrated, that was largely the extent of her emotion. When I’d question her about this, she’d often respond, “I know you love me and want what’s best for me.”
In contrast, when these other children experienced the exact same guidance, they grew fearful, and their fear turned to anger. And defiance. To a digging in of their heels and a fisting of their hands. Because they didn’t understand that the adults in their lives loved them and only had their best in mind. Instead, they assumed others were out to get them, to punish them or withhold something from them.
Whenever we push back against God’s loving, corrective or guiding hand, I believe we’re living with that same mentality—as if He’s trying to punish or withhold something from us. But when we understand how much He loves us, how He always has our best in mind—when we live wholly loved, we’re freed to release our grip, follow His lead, and surrender to His gentle, yet sure-guiding hand.
When we live wholly loved, we no longer have to strive, grasp, and fight for control. We’re set free from those self-sabotaging actions, freed to live as the women He created.
At Wholly Loved, we long to help you find and rest deeply in your identity in Christ. We long to see you experience the spiritual and emotional freedom that only Christ can give. Join us for one of our upcoming conferences where you’ll learn how to live wholly loved, how to find a purpose that will never change, and how God longs to use you, in all your uniqueness, to bring glory to Him and have a life-changing impact on others.
On February 25th, we'll be at Living Water Church in Plattsmouth, NE. (Registration details coming.)
Other resources you might enjoy:
God Meant it For Good by R. T. Kendall
God's Healing Love (a blog post) by Jennifer Slattery