"There are days when I look at my daughters and I can't imagine why I had them. I get frustrated, exasperated, annoyed, and my heart is mournful and full of regret. And then Piglet smiles at me and puts her little chunky arms in the air to be picked up or Teenybop comes to me to tell me that I am the best mom ever and she loves me more than anyone ... And then it's all better.
And then I imagine how much more God must feel this toward all of us. So much frustration and bitterness over the times when we turn our ungrateful backs. So much regret when he watches us waste time with useless persuits. So much mourning when we are angry and resentful to him and he watches his hopes for us be made into ugliness.
But when we as prodigals come back to him and say that we are sorry and that we are madly in love with him? That he is the best father we could have imagined? And that we thank him for always looking out for us and loving us anyway? Perhaps then, it is all better for him. And perhaps ... that is why he gave us children. To help us understand. And maybe when we struggled to gestate and birth those children, he was saying with a little smirk ... "I hope you have children someday who are just like you."
I wonder if this is the way He sees it. I wonder, when God looks at me as a mother and sees my infinite failures, the flaws in my heart that create the flaws in my parenting ... does He see me as a disappointment? Is He just a little bit sorry that He created me? Does He shake His head and mourn for the way He wanted me to be?
Does He feel just a little regret, the way I sometimes do (not today, but some days)? Does He sigh to Himself and think, "What was I thinking?"
I don't know. I know that my Bible has taught me countless times when God felt that way. When God appointed Saul to be the King of the Israelites, He was proud of Saul and hopeful that Saul would be successful, that he would be a Godly king, a good leader for the people. But when he messed up, over and over ... God was a little sorry. Maybe not outright regretful ... but sorry. Not because He changed His mind and decided that He had made a wrong choice in Saul ... but because Saul's freedom of choice had led him astray, had led him to fail and fall away from God. God wasn't wrong, He saw Saul's potential the whole time. But it was Saul who failed to live up to the hype. And it made God so, so sorry.
There are days when my children have failed to live up to my hopes. Days when no matter what I do they are untidy, unkempt, ungrateful, and LOUD. On those days, I am not regretful of having them. I am not regretful that I see them each morning, alive and well. But I am regretful, mourning hopes that never came to pass. Because no matter how I mother my children, they have freedom of choice too. They can choose to disobey. They can choose to do things that keep them discontent and disorganized. And untidy. They can choose to be LOUD! And I am not a failure as a mom because of that. Just like God did not fail when He chose Saul even though Saul chose to disobey.
It is moments like this, moments when God speaks into my heart about how much He loves me "in spite of". "In spite of" the times when I have been angry with Him and said things that were hurtful to my Heavenly Father. "In spite of" the times when I have not lived up to His expectations of me. "In spite of" the times when He has sat back shaking His head and saying, "I knew you would do that. Why didn't you just do what I told you to do?"
And on those days ... in those moments, I am so grateful to Him for giving me my children to help me understand. I am so grateful that He sent me these babies to show me how wrong I can be, and how good I could be. It is those moments, however rare and however fleeting, that I am so grateful that when I became huge with child and when I birthed them and as I raise them, He sat back with a smirk and said to Himself, "I know they will be just like you."
Not because He wanted me to suffer as my parents have, or to suffer as He has. But because they give me a gift ... the gift of understanding. The gift of perspective. And I turn to Him in the moments when my blind eyes can see these things, and I thank Him. I love Him. And I tell Him He is the best Daddy I could have ever asked for. Because He loves me anyway, and because He watches out for me anyway. Even when I have failed Him as His child, He still loves me so well as His daughter.