When it comes to love--particularly my ability to receive it--I am a skeptic. I'm sure if you were to ask my husband, he’d tell you that one of his biggest challenges (even after three years of marriage) is convincing me that there is no ulterior motive to him loving me.
Even in my relationship with God, I'm constantly wrestling with the whole idea of unconditional love. It’s hard to believe sometimes that He loves me simply because of me; that he stands forever alongside me; that he loves me in spite of me. In fact, if you’ll allow me to take my halo off for a minute, I can admit that there have been too many times that I’ve “acted out” in order to test His love. Very much like a child would a parent, I suppose. It's like I'm trying to find God's breaking point despite knowing in my head that if there was ever a time for him to break because of my sin, it would have been on the cross.
But you know what's even more ridiculous? I wasn't always this way. There was a time in my early childhood when I was an open vessel for the giving and receiving of love. I reveled in it gladly and regardless to the form in which it would present itself. I knew peace and could see the good in anyone. I was, using a term my hubby says often, a “bright-eyed and bushy-tailed” kid who somehow instinctively knew how to love fully and deeply and widely and had and the depth in me to receive the same.
In a phrase, it has always been in me to love.
And yet I suspect that somewhere between my teens and young adulthood, life (via the craftiness of the enemy) taught me something else. It taught me that the people who were supposed to love you could actually hurt you; damage you. It taught me that those that should be there to protect you, won’t. Or can’t.
My pastor recently said something that was quite profound to me. He said, “Experience is NOT always the best teacher. Sometimes experience is too expensive. It can cost you your life. I want my lessons and correction to be the least expensive. Some of us have too high of a pain threshold for stupidity."
And admittedly, that's me. So many times in my life, I’ve tolerated the distorted version of love that my experiences have presented---to the point that I’d actually come to expect it. I anticipated rejection. I found myself always looking around the proverbial corner of time for the “angle” or the “motive.” Always waiting for the other shoe to drop. So much so they even as God began to restore me, I was resistant. I fought against my true design even after it was revealed to me because I just couldn’t bring myself to trust it. To trust Him.
I forget sometimes that He created me to be one of the special ones. To be an extraordinary giver and receiver of His divine, unconditional love and to have the unique ability to mirror even the smallest of compassions. I keep allowing this to be stolen from me.
But God is passionate in His pursuit of my restoration. This much, I know for sure.
So now as I await the birth of my first child…my little girl…I can’t help but to wonder about this part of myself. I wonder if, when I look into her eyes, I will finally know unconditional love and be able to receive it fully. I know that she comes to me as a miracle with no angle and no motive. Just all love and need. The question is, will I be able to serve her without selfishness or suspicion?
I guess I'll soon let you know. :)