I was walking back from my mailbox yesterday, and as I made my way under the canopy of great oaks that curled overhead across my driveway I prayed. I thanked God for the cool breeze that blew across my face on a sultry, summer afternoon, and I thanked him for the blue sky all around. It led me to [praise] Him for family, forgiveness, and being redeemed. Then the next praise that fell from my lips caused me to pause in awe.
Thank you that you love me anyway.
The weight of that statement! Just the night before my four-year-old had done something I had instructed her not to do. When confronted with her guilt she had burst into remorseful tears.
As I held her and explained the lesson I was hoping she had learned, I said, “you know Momma still loves you, right? I’ll love you no matter what. Nothing would ever change that.”
This was the thing I wanted my children to know most. I wanted them to understand my unconditional love as their parent.
When I walked down my driveway and considered my past, I was grateful for the unconditional love of my Heavenly Father.
Even as I had labored under the heavy chains of alcohol addiction he had loved me.
All the while that I had led a life that went against everything the Bible taught, He had loved me.
He loved me while I sat in strip clubs, and He loved me when I woke hungover from another night of binge drinking.
He loved me while my marriage fell apart, and He loved me when in my grief I turned to everything but Him.
He loved me when I sought the affection I needed in a mere man’s eyes (okay, many men), and He loved me when I did any and everything to obtain it.
He loved me when I didn’t love myself.
He loved me when I turned my back on Him.
But most importantly He loved me when I returned to Him in shame. He never made me feel unworthy, but simply welcome. I felt welcome to return home.
And He loved me even now, when I fell short on the daily. He loved me when I was envious, when I was angry, when I was impatient, or when I was ungrateful. He loved me even though I messed up over and over again. He loved me even when I was especially unlovable. He loved me.
He loved me anyway.
In a world that bases so much on performance, it’s nice to be loved just because. Nothing can remove me from His love. I’m good enough, and though I can strive each day to do better because I love Him in return, I don’t have to worry that I must be without fault to be saved. I base my actions for improvement on our relationship not on an idea that I must please Him to be loved.
He loves me despite my past, He loves me despite my current shortcomings, and He loves me despite how I may fail in the future. He loves me anyway.