My first experience with unconditional love was when I became a mommy over 20 years ago. I had no idea such a thing existed where I could love someone so deeply without expecting anything from them. There were no stipulations on loving that precious little girl I am blessed to call my daughter.
Before she came along, my perception of love was very different…
Anger filled my childhood home. I always felt if I could just be a good little girl, there would eventually be peace. I walked on eggshells so I wouldn’t upset my incredibly volatile, alcoholic father. When he finally left us, something deep inside of me broke. I suddenly found myself unlovable.
My mom had so much of her own brokenness to deal with. She couldn’t help me through those troubled days. I turned to drugs and alcohol, which sent me into a downward spiral of feeling even more unworthy of true love.
I lived a selfish life, trying not to get too close to anyone. This led to a string of bad choices in men and friends. Those days never showed me the love described so beautifully in the Bible, the patient and kind type I so desperately craved.
Becoming a mother used muscles in my heart I never knew existed. My daughter gave me a reason to want to be selfless for the first time in my life. Loving her unconditionally was breathtaking, but I still longed to have someone return that love to me. I knew she loved me, but I took care of her. In my mind, the love was dependent on me meeting her needs.
A few years ago, I learned about the unconditional love of God. I finally realized His love had always been there for me to accept.
This week really reminded me how easy it is to not allow myself to see His love. One of our assignments for the final week of the Made to Crave Action Plan was to look for hearts around us. These hearts could be anywhere and they would be symbols of God showing us His love. I looked all week for these precious signs, almost running off the road several times scouting the clouds for tiny heart formations…
Today I began to feel defeated. I actually started to question His love for me because I hadn’t come across a rock or latte foam in the shape of a heart. I became that sad little lonely girl, incapable of being loved unconditionally.
As I scrolled through some pictures from the week on my phone, I stumbled upon this…
I created a Resurrection Garden a few days ago to symbolize God’s ultimate, unconditional love gift to us. When I looked at the picture above at that time, I labeled it useless and too dark to use in my tutorial post.
What a beautiful moment I had tonight as I saw a completely different view. That heart was there days ago but at the time, I was so focused on the darkness, I couldn’t see the light. Story of my life…
I know hearts don’t have to appear around me to tell me God loves me. All I have to do is open my Bible to understand and believe this truth.
Not even the highest places or the lowest, or anything else in all creation can do that. Nothing at all can ever separate us from God’s love because of what Christ Jesus our Lord has done.
~Romans 8:39 (emphasis added)
How appropriate my Garden decoration created to symbolize this verse, led me to His heart, in so many ways…
Beautiful reminder of God’s love. 🙂
Thanks, Melissa! Even though we always know He loves us, little signs are always encouraging!
this is so touching, Candace… To reflect, I didn’t realize how much I didn’t understand God’s love for me until having kids. I mean i still don’t sometimes, but after having that first child, I understood a lot better.
Having children changes us on so many levels! It is amazing how much we adore our little ones. My daughter is 20 now and I can tell you that love only gets stronger! It’s always great to see you, Roaen :).
God is so personal! I love that at just the right moment he provided that heart! His love is so far above human love that we often think of Him as human because we simply can not comprehend unconditional love. But His,love is never dependent on our behavior. We can’t earn nor loose His love. That is good news! Thank you for you open and honest post. This is truly a journey and we are all in this together!
It is a long beautiful journey, Debbie! Thank you for that reminder. I get so caught up in the end result, I miss so many wonderful little aspects of my journey. I’m so thankful that HIs love is not dependent on our behavior! I would be in trouble :). I guess we all would at some point. So glad to be on this journey with you!
Ruth L. Snyder
Thanks for sharing. I’ve been struggling with my focus too. Isn’t it good to know that God is always there and always loving us, even when we aren’t aware? Today I choose to focus on Him and His word.
It is so gratifying to know He loves us even when we lose awareness. I love your statement- “Today I choose…” Every day is a new choice and we can refocus on Him. Thanks for that reminder, Ruth!
Debbie W. (OBS Group Leader)
Beautiful blog today and love that garden. Thanks for joining us. Debbie W. (OBS Blog Hop Team)
Thanks, Debbie! I am really happy with my garden. It is such a beautiful reminder of His incredible love and forgiveness!
What a beautiful post. I can relate to everything you say here. Sometimes God takes us through a valley and when we come out of it we find Him even though He was always there. Knowing the Lord has helped me be such a better mom. When I had my first daughter I felt that love you speak of here. It was the only time before I knew Christ that I stopped drinking because I felt fulfilled for the first time in my life. She was the first person in my life who loved me. Now Romans 12:1 is my calling card for my daughters.
Great verse, Laura! I actually have Romans 12:1-2 on an index card on my desk. I so agree with you on the ability to be a better mom by knowing the Lord. He has helped my parenting ability on so many levels! It is amazing how love can fill us up so beautifully.
Kim @ 2justByou
Thank you for sharing. I know what it’s like to walk on eggshells. Your post actually brought tears to my eyes. Thank you. You made my day such a better one. More than you know.
Thank you so much for your sweet comment, Kim! I share my personal stories to try to help others. Telling me I made your day better is the best complement you could give me. Those eggshells are scary and hard to forget sometimes.
That is amazing! So glad you found the heart.
I was shocked when it suddenly appeared to me! It was not the first time I had looked at that picture, or honestly, the second or third time either. I’m so thankful to have finally seen the light through the darkness :).
Lori, OBS Group Leader
I love your Resurrection Garden. I have to admit the first thing I saw in the picture was the heart and then the garden. Your blog post touched my heart today. Thank you for sharing with the rest of us. Blessings, Lori (Group 39)
Thank you, Lori! I’m so impressed you are one who sees the light first :). I’m working on it! So glad you stopped by. Blessings to you as well!
This was absolutely beautiful!! Every time I visit your blog, I leave blessed and touched! The picture was amazing…I am so glad you saw the light in it! 🙂
I am “blessed and touched” every time you visit me, Kim :)! You are such a blessing to me. I love looking at that picture. I need to print it out and frame it as a reminder!
I LOVE the picture you shared! What a gift from God. Thanks also for your vulnerability.I’ve appreciate your support and transparency during this M2C study. Blessings and hugs down the road!
It has been great following along with you, Miriam! I hope to see you in future studies. Blessings and hugs to you as well!
I am always amazed at the inner beauty that is shared on these blog post. Yours warmed my heart and I felt peace. Thank You sharing Gods Love with me.
Irma (Group 39)
Thank you, Irma! I’m so glad to hear you found some peace here :).
Candace, thank you for sharing so much of your heart. Your posts are such a blessing.
Thanks so much for your sweet comment, Sandy! That is such a beautiful complement :)!
So precious…I have no words…just, thank you for sharing. Much love, indeed,
Thanks for your encouragement, Gisela! You are so appreciated, my friend!
Tammy @ creativekkids
I’m so glad that you found God’s unconditional love and that now you can know how much worth you are to Him that He would die for you! Praying for you on those hard days that you will be able to rest in His unspeakable love.
Thank you for your prayers, Tammy! They are always needed and appreciated :)! I’m so thankful for finding His unconditional love as well. It has brought so much peace to my life.