“Can a mother forget her nursing child, or lack compassion for the child of her womb? Even if these forget, yet I will not forget you.” -Isaiah 49:15
I had my wisdom teeth taken out recently.
Anyone who has experienced this procedure can relate to how utterly terrible it is. Anyone who knows my tolerance for discomfort can imagine what kind of patient I was. I didn’t do anything funny. I was just sad. I just wanted to not be in pain anymore.
Enter my mother.
My mom is one of the most nurturing people I know. I know all moms are nurturers, but mine is special. She drove 2.5 hours to take me to and from my appointment, paid for the surgery (significant because getting braces was my decision), made me ice packs, constantly asked how she could make me comfortable, and administered medication. She sat through countless hours of Boy Meets World DVDs and graciously let me snark at her. She even wiped the rivers of drool and blood that flowed from my swollen mouth and washed my blood-stained clothes.
And all of this on the surface would be enough to draw a parallel to the character of God and His redemption. But there’s more to the story.
It might be safe to describe me as independent to a fault. My mom loves to tell the story of my first day of kindergarten, when she parked the car and prepared to walk me inside and I haughtily announced, “I can do it myself, mother.” And that story is funny but I cherish it because in that moment my mother forfeited her long imagined “my first child’s first day of kindergarten” mother milestone moment and she let me. She let me walk into school all by myself while she and my little brother cried in the car because that was how I would grow into who I was to become.
Over the years my independence combined with her sensitivity made for the perfect storm. We loved each other but there was a period when I believe we did not like each other. And I’m not talking typical mother-teenage daughter stuff. We could barely be in a room or car together without hostility. I was a Christian at the time but had some wall up about the realities of my faith as they applied to my relationship with her.
Since then, some major events have taken place in each of our hearts that have changed our relationship entirely. My mom and I are friends! I call her once a week or more and we giggle and talk. My mother’s laugh is one of the sounds I cherish most in this world (if you know her you can understand why) and I hear it constantly as she takes great joy in almost everything I say. God has given us a new affection for one another.
God loves me even more than my mother loves me. So much that He would redeem our broken relationship. So much that He would allow her love for me to reflect his own sacrificial love. This is a love that has washed bloody garments white. This is a love that fully knows us yet fully cherishes us. This is a love that lets us walk forward alone, even as His heart breaks, in order to allow us to become who we were meant to be. This is a love that sweeps us up into something greater than ourselves.
Unfortunately, I all too often fight against this love with my fierce independence. He has to continually remind me that if I will but surrender to Him, I will experience a love and a provision sweeter than anything I could accomplish on my own.
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” -Ecclesiastes 3:11