I subscribe to a weekly e-newsletter called "Upwords with Max Lucado" - an established christian author whose reflections on biblical concepts are refreshing and easy to read.
Today's article was on 1 Corinthian's 13: 8 - "Love Never Fails." In a nutshell, Lucado reflects on the truth that unfailing love is only accomplished by God alone.
It made me think about the quality of my love as a mother. People like to generalize and say that parents' love for their children is unconditional.
In some ways, yes - loving one's own flesh and blood is probably the closest approximation of this thing we call unconditional love.
But is it really unconditional?
Then explain to me how it is that when I see my child reject his dinner and abjectly refuse to behave in the way I want to him to, an anger wells up inside of me that I never thought I was capable of feeling?
And when I receive his end-of-year progress report book from his nursery teacher, why I should allow an inexplicable sense of disappointment to creep in at the column marked "Needs Improvement" for "Child is able to share toys" or "Knows his shapes/ numbers".
The truth is, in my fallen state, I am not able to love unconditionally, as Christ does.
It's easier to love my child when he is lovable - obedient, well-mannered, clever, articulate.
When he is acting in an unlovable manner... it gets admittedly more challenging. It's as though he's broken the unwritten covenant between mother and child, tearing down the natural authority I have in his life, breaking the deep-seated expectations that I never even realized were there.
In times like these I realize in the same way, I have utterly and abjectly disappointed God in the many sinful thoughts and prideful choices I've made in my life, and wonder how it is possible that His love is so great to see past it.
It disturbs me that in extreme situations and circumstances, my love for my children can indeed fail. I am disconsolate, and filled with dismay about my limits.
Yet, I'm still going to strive for a perfect love in this life. If my child is to see in me the quality of God's unfailing love in our lives, I desparately need to grow closer and closer in my walk with Him, and understand Him more and more.
There is a powerful lesson in rearing children for parents, I think.
When God gazes down on each and everyone of us, what he sees is a perfect creation, his own handiwork, a lovable soul with whom he wants to share eternity with. This is possible only because of what Christ has accomplished on the cross!
In Love's gaze, we are washed whiter than snow, and made perfect even in our broken, damaged state.
When I gaze on these two lovely forms before me, may I see them as God sees them too - imperfect, but unfailingly loved by God.
May my life demonstrate the gratitude of this truth.