The other day I found myself asking my toddler this question after she repeatedly refused to put away her new Christmas toys. Usually, she responds with a sullen, “You are.” But this time she smiled at me and said, “Jesus is!”
It was pretty hard to argue with that logic, so my new parenting motto is: Until Jesus comes back, Mommy’s in charge.
Today, as I was putting away a folded pile of laundry, I realized that of all the rooms in our house, our bedroom is usually the messiest. Logically, I suppose it makes sense. We want people to feel welcome in our home, so we spend most of our time cleaning the rooms they are going to see.
Two and a half years ago when our daughter was born, it was like my world collapsed. I assumed the extreme highs and lows were just part of being a new mother, and I had no idea that I was suffering from postpartum depression.
Too often, our relationships sink under the weight of our expectations. We could spend hours talking about why this is the case, but there’s a simple explanation: There is only one who can love us the way we are created to be loved.
“I have loved you with an everlasting love.” – Jeremiah 31:3
No other love can reach the standard of God’s love. When we tie up our worth in the measure of anyone else’s love, we are selling ourselves short. Not only that, but we are putting a lot of pressure on someone who has no way of living up to who we need them to be.
Early in our marriage, this quickly became my husband’s least favorite phrase. In the middle of an argument, he would tell me that I was misunderstanding what he was trying to say and I would respond with, “So what you’re saying is I’m stupid?”
In scripture, I always wondered why God hardened Pharaoh’s heart. Exodus 4:21 says, “The LORD said to Moses, When you go back to Egypt see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders which I have put in your power; but I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go.” Throughout Exodus, it is repeatedly pointed out that Pharaoh hardened his heart, or that God hardened his heart. I read through the verses several times, because I couldn’t understand why God would actively keep someone from believing in Him. I assumed that to have a hardened heart was to rebel against God, and that hardened hearts belonged to unbelievers. Until God showed me my own.
When I was younger, I wanted a love like the movies. I wanted someone to tell me they loved me more than anything. I wanted to be the thing they loved the most. After being in relationships where that was the case, it terrified me to look for a husband who loved Jesus more. What if that didn’t leave enough love for me?
When I graduated from college, I was in a relationship with someone I greatly cared for. He had stood by me as a friend and boyfriend for three years as I tried to work my way through a sudden loss of stability. My parents had divorced, my childhood home was being sold, my church had split down the middle and the sense of displacement was staggering at times. However, the boy I loved didn’t believe in the God I was longing for. He would go to church with me and he would sit quietly while I prayed, but he didn’t know how to help me find the peace I was searching for.