It is so easy to dwell on the hard parts of being a parent. The bad days weigh heavily on me, while the good days slip by unheeded. But there is something magic about a baby, that I never knew until I had Piper.
Sometimes when I am changing her diaper, she reaches to the side and arches back on the changing table to grab at something. Her smooth little body looks like a crescent moon with a tight little butt in the middle. When she does that she is so beautiful and flawless that it pulls at my heart. I am taken out of the hurry, hurry, hurry, clean, clean, clean and transported into a perfect moment. I run my fingertips down the silky curve of her side and my breath catches in my chest. “Oh, Pipey, Pipey. I love you so much, too much, with all my heart and body. I love you till it hurts me. I LOVE you.” I forget that I am rushing somewhere, I forget that she is fussy, I forget that I’d rather not wipe up more poop. For just a moment, everything is right with the world and I don’t want to be anywhere but there with her.
When Piper was a newborn, I was surprised by how much I loved her. She had put me through a hellish nine months, but still there was that magic baby thing. The day Piper was born a new kind of love was born in me. A love that is almost too much to bear, strong enough to take over mentally and physically. A kind of animalistic love that made me want to lick her and smell her; trying to consume everything tiny thing about her. Powerful love, life changing love, gut squeezing, heart healing love.
There is a tiny bud of an idea that I have. If I love my child this much, does God love me this much? I am His child. I know the Sunday school answer, but does it really apply to me? It sounds like Pharisee-ish false humility, but I often feel that God doesn’t love me or want to help me day in and day out. I am too dirty and too broken. I am a failure when trying to live up to my standards and I have fallen woefully short of His.
But I don’t stop loving P when she isn’t perfect. I know the Lord doesn’t stop loving me, but it is a hard concept to internalize. He loves me more than I love Piper. He thinks I am beautiful just like I know she is. This feels wonderful and terrible at the same time. Most days I feel about as beautiful and worthy of love as a moldy turd.
In the evenings, after a long day wrestling with P, I hold her and try to rock her to sleep. She is usually crying and sometimes I am, too. I am exhausted. My brain is tired and my body is aching. I have come to the end of the end of myself. Then I cry out to the Lord and He is there with us. His presence is strong and I know He is in the room. With Piper nestled in my neck and the Lord’s strength and love pouring out on us, I know I can make it another day.
I go all day drawing on my own strength and when the well is dry, there He is. Ready to quench my thirst with living water. Maybe I should give it up earlier in the day and turn to Him before I am a my breaking point. But I don’t feel I have the right; what if He turns me away? What if He says He will help me if I stop screwing up so much?
It’s only when I am out of options that I seek the Lord. I just realized that maybe I should make seeking the Lord my first option! What if I turned to Him first thing in the morning!? Sounds like a wonderful idea, why haven’t I thought of it before?
I know in my head that God is love and he has forgiven me. But in my heart, I have a hard time accepting that His love as unconditional and unfailing and it is for me. It is amazing to me how He is revealing Himself to me through Piper and my relationship with her.
*This was originally posted on April 28, 2010. I’m moving some older writing over to this blog. I’d love to hear what you think! *