I am learning that I can’t live a life where I am constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop.
My mom was diagnosed with end-stage lung cancer just days after my nineteenth birthday, and she went home to Heaven only 14 months after. My grandpa died of the same disease six years later, and I was not able to attend his funeral across the globe. Fast forward to today, and we’re walking through the same scary journey as my dad faces his own cancer diagnosis.
For years, I believed that my hard experiences were the cards handed to ME by God. It may have seemed dark and scary at times, but it was how God loved me. He was like a coach, standing right beside me, cheering me on as I ran a difficult race—out of breath, exasperated, legs weak like jelly. He was reminding me: “In the world you have persecution, but take courage; I have conquered the world.” (John 16:33)
So I pushed forward, eyes closed, and ran a little bit more. However, as I did this, I did not realize it was the muscles in my heart that were continuing to grow thicker, stronger, and harder.
Something was off, and my heart knew it. I started to ask myself., “Is God a coach first, or a Father first? Who is He to me?”
My heart had hardened to the point where I only thought God would hand me suffering. I stopped believing God would simply delight in me.
It wasn’t until I became a parent myself that I started to see God’s love differently. Heaven knows how deeply I love my kids. I delight in their presence and want good things for them—both in the eternal sense and even in the little things: ice cream, excavators, and beautiful little dolls.
Never did Luke 11:13 make more sense: “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
My children do not have to do anything to earn my affection, so why is it that I often think that I need to impress God with my piety to get His attention?
God does not reserve the low valleys for some and the high hills for others. He both holds my hand when I suffer, and rejoices with me in good times.
When I started to see God with new eyes, I started to see how He was blessing me way more than I maybe give Him credit for.
When my mom was dying, He had showered me with personal little reminders that He was walking with me. Friends showed up in exact moments where I felt lost. They prayed with me, loved me, and were the shoulder I needed during those long months. God even brought my friend’s mothers into my life, providing me with maternal love when I needed it most. Now, I have a caring husband, three beautiful children, food in our fridge, a roof over our heads, and a pocketful of adventurous stories to tell. I am blessed!
God is not merely this coach urging me to push harder, try harder, suffer harder. No! God is also gentle. He is a Brother. He is a Counselor. He is a Father, who knows my likes and dislikes and wants to love me simply for the sake of loving me.
He delights in me during times of joy, not just whenever I put a brave face on amidst a trial.
So what am I learning now? I am learning that God loves me, as simple as that sounds. And that He really likes me. He delights in me, His beloved daughter. His girl. He will meet me with open arms, regardless of the things I bring to Him. All I need to do is come.