Monday, February 13, 2017

Love Changes You Revisited

 This week I celebrated my son’s birthday by going through some old photos and enjoying the memories they conjured. He was born at 2:33 AM and I spent so little time with him that before they whisked him away to count fingers and toes, etc, that I needlessly feared I wouldn’t recognize him later that morning when they wheeled him into my room. One photo of my then one-year-old son tickling my feet made me laugh out loud as I heard the echo of infectious laughter. And the photo of him sporting his happy meal tiger nose with a great big smile filled my heart with joy. My son will always be a huge part of my life even though he is no longer with us. Sometimes that will make me happy and sometimes it will bring me to tears. I may have given birth to him, but he gave me life and a unique understanding that I wouldn’t have had otherwise of who God is and who I am to God.

It was in experiencing the world anew through my child's eyes that God opened my eyes to the miracle of life all around me. And it was in caring for Bryan that God taught me selflessness and sacrifice. It was in coming to and knowing Jesus that gave that selflessness and sacrifice true meaning and purpose. Much of what I know and understand about my Heavenly Father, I learned from my relationship with my son. I know the all-encompassing love I had for my child and therefore can to some small degree comprehend the love God has for me. In forgiving Bryan's childhood indiscretions, I learned a little bit about the forgiveness of God–how he never stops loving me in my sinfulness but reaches out to me to embrace me in his grace. And it was in enduring the event of my sweet child's death and in living life now devoid of his presence that I can begin to fathom, at least on a human level, the great pain of separation that God knew when I was lost in my arrogance and rejecting his love for me and denying his rightful place in my life as loving God and Savior.

So many more things I have learned about God and about my relationship with him as his child through the relationship I had with my precious boy and I am so grateful to God for the twelve years Bryan was in my life. My son's presence in my life changed my entire existence. Perhaps that's the greatest lesson of all–love changes you. And the perfect love of Jesus changes me to the very core of who I am.

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 1 John 4:9-12 (NIV)

Part of this blog was originally posted in February 2014.

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