For almost two years, I’ve been seeing a therapist. My life coach, I call her. Depending on what’s going on in life, I see her weekly or I might go months between visits. It’s all very fluid. This wildly crazy period of motherhood has wrecked me at times. It has exposed every flaw I have. It has magnified every insecurity I have. And so, at times I am prone to extreme melancholy. My life coach, she helps me through them. She holds me accountable. She prays for me. And she asks me extremely probing and thought provoking questions.
Today’s question, or the challenge she sent me home with, really got to me. In the car ride home, of course. Forty minutes of quiet as I sat in rush hour traffic.
She challenged me to take five minutes daily, pray, and ask, “How does God see me?”
I left her office, muttering to myself, “How do you see me, God?” I then sat in the car and watched an old video of my kids that my mom had found on facebook today and commented on. Seriously, it was from 2008. Not even sure how she found it today of all days. The video is of my oldest daughter, barely two years old, rocking her baby brother singing to him. My two oldest were so young then and it’s one of those sweet memories etched forever in my mind.
Then, I ran an errand or two and headed for home. With nothing better to do in traffic, I thought I’d get a head start on my counselor’s challenge.
“God, it’s me… I know we don’t talk enough. I know we should. I’m going to do this every day like I was told to and ask you this question. How do you see me?”
And then the audible voice of God came to me in the car…
No, just kidding. It’s never audible. It’s small, it’s still, it’s a stirring, a verse of scripture, a song, a simple reminder.
“God, how do you see me?”
“How do you see yourself?” – That question echoed in my mind.
Just a preface here… today was rough. The past few weeks have been a bit dark… the return of Melancholy Mandi. A not so awesome meltdown today (me, not the kids). The reason for my last minute therapy session. Sigh.
So, I answered. “I’m a mess. I just left seeing a therapist. I flipped out talking to my husband because I’m crazy. I wasn’t even nice to my kids before I left today. I just want to be better. I don’t want to be a screw-up. I want to be the mom my kids need me to be. I want them to grow up well adjusted. I want them to grow up secure and confident. I want them to love you. I don’t want to screw them up. I want them to love themselves… not in the narcissitic way, but the healthy way. You know, I want them to love themselves like you love them.”
The quiet stirring, “Like I love you?”
“God, I know you love me, but I don’t always love myself.”
“Do you want that for your children?”
I thought… no, of course not.
It hit me. A ton of bricks hit me across the face as I was getting on I-26 at Cosgrove.
Oh, wow. God wants the same things for me that I want for my children. My head has always known that, but I haven’t lived in that security. At least not lately. And that’s when I realized how God sees me right now… Like a mother sees her children.
I’ll be honest. Each of my children can be challenging in their own way.
They backtalk. They disobey. They lie. They argue. They bicker. They fight. They whine. They sulk. They can be lazy. They can disappoint me. They aren’t always grateful. They don’t always see that I have their best interests in mind when making decisions. They question decisions. They sometimes have to try things the hard way despite my attempts to show them an easier way. One day they may even break my heart.
Simply put, they are human. And each challenge they present to me, I challenge God with daily.
But despite every flaw and every frustration and driving me to the brink of insanity at times, I love them.
I love them deeply. And when I look at them, I find myself amazed. The love that pours out of my heart for them covers up all the wrongs they do.
I don’t think of my oldest two bickering in the driveway as I left today to go to therapy. When their names cross my mind, I think of the video from seven years ago. I see that sweet little girl rocking her little brother. I watch all three of them when they don’t know I’m looking and they amaze me.
Love can cover a multitude of sins, no?
My son is so very hard on himself. Poor child inherited that trait from me. But as I consoled and comforted him the other day, I told him that no matter what he does in life, I’ll always love him. My love for him is not a reflection of his performance. I love him unconditionally.
You know, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. God’s love is unconditional.
My children are my treasure. They are my world. And I love my little people so much I would protect them with my life.
Oh, God so loved the world.
One last time – “God, how do you see me?”
A reminder comes – a verse. “You are fearfully and wonderfully made.” Or as one version says it, “Thank you for making me wonderfully complex.”
So, how does God see me? He sees me as his precious child. Today I was reminded despite my flaws, my failures, my insecurities, my whining, my pity parties, my disobedience, I am loved. I think I’m complex… but I am reminded that I am “wonderfully complex.”
I feel a little better. The question “How do you see me, God?” won’t magically resolve my many issues and erase my insecurities, but the answer I received today is a comfort. In a way the answer felt like a warm embrace… the type of embrace I’d give my own child to comfort an injury or sooth a wound.
I’ll return to some more traditional Lenten discussion tomorrow. And I have more thoughts on this God loving like a mother topic that will come after Lent. Thanks for reading!