While I was preparing to share a word from the Lord at my friend Nicole's shower last week, He brought me to a precious verse that speaks so clearly about the kind of parental love He gives us and He has for us.
"The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing." Zephaniah 3:17
It's a verse I've heard many times, it's even been set to music and is one I can remember word for word because of that. In context, it's a verse that speaks beautifully about the coming hope we have one day, when the Lord will gather His people after He removes his hand of judgement and He himself will live among His people again. But after reading it and re-reading it and praying through it, He helped me draw out some further truth that I hope will bless you like it did me. I'm quite sure I'm not the only one who needs to be reminded today of how great the Father's love for us is...
Because I was preparing for a baby shower and because I've been thinking back to a year ago, when I was just days away from welcoming our little Carter into the world, the Lord reminded me of the precious instincts He gives us when we become parents.
When that sweet baby enters this world and pierces your heart for the first time with cries of fear and agitation, no one has to teach you to fall in love with them.
"...He will take great delight in you..."
As we catch our first glimpse and reality hits us squarely in the depths of our hearts, the tears flow, the heart swells and the world stops. In the hours and days that follow, nothing else matters to you but that little life cuddled up in your arms. To delight in them is as natural as breathing. Every little finger and toe, a work of art. Every noise or sound, music to your ears. This tiny person is yours, given to you by the Almighty God, entrusted in your care for a lifetime and as you wrap your mind around the miracle of it all, He gives us JOY like we've never known. He does it because it's an emotion we need to love our children, it's a way that we provide comfort and stability for them, and it blesses us too.
As we act out an instinct that is God given, He provides for us and for our children but He also reveals one more aspect of who He is. He shows us that just as we struggle and cry and fret, He wants to quiet us with His love too. Isaiah 40:11 tells us that He is like a shepherd, carrying his lambs close to His heart. Psalm 116:1-2 reminds us that He hears OUR voice. When we cry out to Him, He turns His ear to US and listens. And when He thought of us and made Adam in the garden, He came down to us, stooping over the dirt and gathering it to form man, before He bent over and blew life into us (Genesis 2:7). We quiet our babes with our love, because that's how He quiets us too. He demonstrates His love to us in so many ways...
"...He will rejoice over you with singing."
He is with us when your family leaves, your husband goes back to work and these little people are depending on YOU.
He is with us.
(Isaiah 41:10, 13-14; Isaiah 43:1-5, Joshua 1:9)
A year ago, I was overwhelmed.
I knew in my heart the Lord was with me, but I was desperate for Him to show me that He was mighty to save. I knew He was my Faithful Savior and I trusted Him for my eternal salvation, but I needed to know that I could call on Him for daily salvation too. Not because I doubted a salvation that reconciled me back to God through Christ Jesus, but because of my sin that so easily entangles me, I knew I had to get out of bed every day and function. I knew that I couldn't do this last year alone. I knew that Travis and I couldn't survive in our own strength, either. But as we've watched the seasons come and go, and as those little itty bitty people have grown right before our very eyes, I'm assured that the Lord MY God is with ME, and yes, He is MIGHTY to save. In every way.
"O Lord, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress." Isaiah 33:2
Being a Parent makes me love and appreciate and marvel at the love of my Father and they way He displays it. Tenderly, personally, faithfully...He loves us. He loves me. He gives us instincts and His Word to help us, to provide for us, to make our lives better. But that isn't His ultimate goal. His ultimate goal is for us to KNOW Him. To have a relationship with Him. To reflect Him. To trust Him.
I love that He's impressed that on my heart this week.
Remembering those newborn days and looking forward to the days ahead...
I hope you feel loved today.
If you don't, you can. He offers a love that compares to none other.
It's found through salvation in Jesus alone and it's your's for the taking. Don't waste another day wondering if you are loved. You are. My prayer is that you will be encouraged in His love today or be willing to receive it, if you haven't already.
In the words of the David Crowder Band,
"Oh, how He loves us, Oh...
How He loves us, Oh, How he loves..."