November 6, 2017

What My Children's Love Taught Me About God's

My daughter asked to take this picture with me.

"I don't have any pictures with you in them," she told me sternly. "I want one today."

And then the other night, when I tucked her into bed (which, okay, involves me standing at the foot of her bed while she pulls up the covers), she sighed happily and said, "I love our family."

We weren't having a conversation about our family. We weren't having a conversation about anything, actually. I was just telling her good night. She said this wonderful thing out of the blue.

"I'm so glad," I told her. "But what makes you say that now?"

She said, "I don't know...I just love it when we're all together."

I read a post a few days ago that said there's no love like the kind of love your children have for you when they're little.

And I agree: the love our kids have for us when they're small is unmatched and exuberant. Our babies and toddlers and preschoolers and pre-pre teens give it to us freely, without having to think about it. Their fierce hugs and sticky kisses belong to a precious season of parenting that does not last forever. Soak it up and store it up, parents of littles: that kind of love is a precious treasure.

But there is also no love like the love our kids have for us when they're older. Because this kind of love is a choice.

It is on-purpose love.

It is love by decision, rather than by (delicious, delightful) default.

It is love of intention.

And this is where my children helped me understand in a new way something I’d never fully grasped before: why God gives us free will. Why God gives us the choice of whether or not to love Him when He knows some will choose not to.

I'm so grateful to Lori Wildenberg for letting me tell the rest of the story of this lesson I learned from my children. 

Ultimately, it's a lesson about grace I'm not sure I could have learned any other way.

**This post may be have been shared at some of these blog link parties.**


  1. Great post, sister! YES! When your kids get older is does become a choice. I had the choice with my dad and the choice was to walk away from that relationship. It was toxic and filled with hurt. You are a wonderful mother, woman, wife, human being, and those BIG babies see that and they love you. In turn look at the glory! xo

    1. Thank you so much, Amanda! I so appreciate the excellent point you make: sometimes, the best, healthiest choice is to walk away. I'm truly sorry for the hurt you've suffered. It breaks my heart for you. But I pray that as you love on your sweet ones, you will experience the joy of having them choose to love you! It is a peg big enough to hang a hope on. xoxo

  2. Squeal! Just left a comment over there, but have to do it here, as well! LOVE that you turned this into a post!!

    1. Do you know that even though I've never actually heard your voice, I can completely hear you squealing right now?! Thank you for that! And thank you so, so much for inspiring this expanded post. What would I do without you?

  3. I think it's so rewarding as a parent to have grown up children that actually like us and want to stay connected - you realize it even more when they have lives of their own but are still happy to share that new life with their parents - lovely post Elizabeth (and a lovely daughter too!)

    1. Thank you so much, Leanne, for this lovely comment!

  4. Aw, I totally get this... my oldest son is now firmly in his teen years and hugs and kisses are so few and far between but when he does show his love it means so much to me.

    1. Mother of 3...THANK YOU for "getting" this. That means so much to me. Blessings to you and that teen boy of yours!


I'd love to hear from you! Feel free to tell me what you really think. Years ago, I explained to my then-two-year-old that my appointment with a counselor was "sort of like going to a doctor who will help me be a better mommy." Without blinking, she replied, "You'd better go every day." All of which is just to say I've spent some time in the school of brutal honesty!