As a child, I struggled with OCD-induced anxiety. In an attempt to protect our kids from a similar experience, my husband and I agreed to always reassure them after spills or messes. Life isn’t perfect, and that’s okay was our parenting motto. That turned out to be especially important for our daughter, who would seek affirmation after doing something she considered bad. Every time she knocked over a drink or tipped over a plate full of food, she would ask us things like, “But it will be okay, right?” or “But we can fix it, right?” and we would usually respond with a quick, “Yes, it will be alright, but let’s try to be more careful.”
I assumed she only asked those questions to make sure she wasn’t in trouble until one day after a few cheerios fell off of her tray, she looked at me and asked, “But you still love me, right?”
The question broke my heart. I realized that my daughter had this idea of an un-crossable line in her mind. We never told her we would love her any less because of anything she did. We never said, “We love you because you’re good.” The idea of going too far was self-imposed. The same way that kids don’t have to be taught how to lie, they also don’t have to be taught how to doubt their value or worth.
And don’t we do the same thing in our relationship with God? We assume He only loves us when we’re good. We believe that if we cross too many lines, He couldn’t possibly love us anymore. But nowhere in scripture does it actually say that. In fact, it says the exact opposite:
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
– Romans 8:38-39
So if you’re looking at your life and wondering if things will be okay, or if they can be fixed, I believe God would say the same thing to you that I would say to my daughter:
Yes, I still love you. When the lies are loud, let this truth speak louder: There is nothing that could make you unlovable to me. This place in front of me is a place of hope and safety and grace and forgiveness. Whether you are clean or dirty, prideful or broken, silent or screaming, I will always be right here for you with open arms. You might not always recognize your value, but I know that you are worth dying for. Because you are—and will always be—MY child.