This morning I had the opportunity to read John 17. The context is Jesus is praying at the Last Supper. First he prays for himself and the glory that is going to come to God through his looming crucifixion, second he prays for his disciples as he anticipates leaving them on earth to continue his work, and third he prays for the believers that will come through the work of his disciples. In other words, Jesus finished his prayer with me and all other believers in mind that would come to know him after his ascension.
At the end of the chapter, I was struck with the implications the last few verses have on me as a mother:
As a mother, I have come to recognize a fear I have for my daughter. I know how easily I was led astray and hurt by the counterfeit love of others. Even people that mean well cannot love perfectly and I was putting my identity — my value — in how they saw me and whether they liked me or not. So I was blind to deception, false-love, and manipulation (both in others and in myself). I did not take the time to really know the love of the Father so as to have that as my foundation, my identity, and the measuring stick to which I compared all other love. So naturally, the thought of raising a little girl who will possess the same longing to be loved and to belong that I possess, I’m afraid of the hurt her heart will most certainly encounter. I get angry when I think of the possibility of people trying to deceive or manipulate her. And I often promise myself that I will protect her from such people.
But that is not my role. If I become the buffer through which she trusts people, she will never be able to go without me. And I cannot be that. What I can do is entrust her to our Savior. First, praying that she would come to know Christ and the work of his life, death, and resurrection. Second, praying that he would make known to her the love of the Father and that she would come to trust completely in her unity with Christ. Jesus is the only one who can do that. I can’t make her see it or experience it.
If she knows the true, unconditional love of God deep within her, she will learn to discern between what is true and what is counterfeit. She will not be hurt-proof. But my responsibility is relinquished to God so we all know she will be better off than if I try to fill this role.
Baby girl, the love of God abounds beyond the edges of the universe. And he bestows it on us. May you come to know this love and cherish it more than anything else. And may God protect and guard you against anyone who tries to use or manipulate you through their counterfeit love. May they come to fear our Heavenly Father who takes good care of his children. May you be blessed with a heart enraptured by our Savior as a little girl who blossoms into a woman who fears the Lord and follows him faithfully all the days of your life. I cannot fill the place of Jesus in your life but by God’s grace, your dad and I will do our best to raise you according to his word. Jesus will do the rest. We are so excited to meet you, Appleseed. Our anticipation is almost too much to bear. But we’ll keep pluggin’ away at our work, you just keep growin’ until you’re ready, but in case you are wondering, I don’t think you’ll be getting anymore space so if you’re feeling cramped like it sure seems like, you might as well come out=)
Tomorrow is August 1st. No matter how long she waits, she’ll be out before the month is done. Praise the Lord!