There have been some big changes in our household over the past few months. Zachary headed off to college, Anna became the "oldest", and Maya is now a Ridgway. This has posed some challenging moments in our house. Until August 7th, 2017, Josiah was the youngest. He had all the rights and privileges that come with the position of youngest including full access to mom and dad without much sharing. (the older two are usually too busy for the parents!) Now there is another 9 year old in our house and that has taken some adjustment.
When I pick up the dynamic duo after school, there is a constant chorus of "mom, mom, mom" as they both try their best to get in the first words about their day. They are struggling to be heard because they are afraid there might not be enough of me for both of them. Some days, I will readily admit, I am not sure there is. I struggle to hear and pour into both of them with my full attention and adoration. Sometimes, I have to say, "let's just be really quiet and listen to music until we get home." Those few quiet moments allow me to breathe, pray, and prepare to hear each child as they need to be heard.
Maya and Josiah are learning to share. In the 10 weeks since Maya joined our family, we have made leaps and bounds in adjustments and the biggest of all is the assurance that mom and dad love them unconditionally. For Josiah, it is to know that although his circumstances and sibling count has changed, his place in our hearts has not changed. He is our son and nothing will ever change that. For Maya, it is to know that she has a family that will never leave her. We have loved her since before she was born and we have prayed for her the entire 9 years that she has been alive. Our children are learning that our love will never end.
This time of teaching and leading our children has had me thinking a lot about how I respond to God's love. I go through seasons where I feel like I am a cherished Child of God but all too quickly that perspective is skewed by my changing circumstances. I look at the trials or even just simple changes in my life that makes me uncomfortable and my initial reaction is to accuse God of taking away His love. I question my value in His eyes. Does He really love me? Did I loose my privileged status as cherished or precious in His sight? Does He have enough love and grace for me?
So here is the lesson that God is teaching me (again) today. He is showing me that just as I think it is silly for my children to fear my love will end, it is equally silly for me to think that God would take away His love for me.
In Psalm 136:1 David writes, "Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever." Over 40 times in the Bible the phrase "His Love Endures Forever". I guess God wants to reassure us that we are loved.
In the Ridgway household we have a saying which expresses the depth of God's love for us. Here is what we say each night before bed:
"Can't you see, God loves you and me? Jesus came to set us free!".
Then the dynamic duo will shout in their best southern (slightly Bulgarian accent...) "Amen, Mamma! Amen, Daddy!"
God loves us. Forever.