“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.” Psalm 56:8
“Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” Luke 12:7
My oldest daughter turned twelve recently. This addition of another lit candle on the cake also flamed a change in my heart. When the candles were blown out and the smoke lifted, I saw her in a new, and admittedly, scary way. She’s no longer an unsteady toddler or toothless elementary school kid. Her long legs far surpass the days of the dark oak crib that once towered over her. This birthday felt different; less celebratory and more serious–the ushering in of the coming of age–my little girl becoming a young woman. This once little girl who was learning to share and use “big girl words” is now developing a mature, responsible, and more independent demeanor.
My first baby doesn’t need me as much; she has handled big things this year gracefully and without much help from me.
I look at her wearing twelve year old skin and tears begin to well in my eyes. I can’t understand why I’m so emotional as I run my fingers through her dishwater blonde hair; this head in my lap that I’ve kissed so many times. She’s a good and perfect gift, just like all gifts that come from God. I look at her and recall the things I know about her- her favorite food, favorite color, what makes her happiest, what annoys her the most, who her best friends are and what she desires to be when she’s older. I know where she wants to go to college, who she wants to live with, and her favorite animal. I know weekends that she has to leave her dads and come back home always make her sad; I know living in two different houses is frustrating for her at times, and I know that often she feels like “she doesn’t belong anywhere”. I know what makes her heart ache and that coffee will always make it better.
Then I think, “If I can love her this much, how must God feel when he sees her?”
This thought then sparks a truth powerful enough to light every candle…If I can love my daughter this much, how much does my good good Heavenly Father love me? And as much as I yearn to be her provider and protector, how much more does my Heavenly Father desire to be mine?
God’s word says He knows every hair on our head, and every tear cried, and every thought. He knows every sorrow and pain.
This is true for all of us. We are cared for, loved, and accepted by God, not because we could ever earn it but because we are His daughter. The worthiness given to us because of whom we belong to cannot be blown out because we fall short. We will always fall short, that’s why we need Jesus. With our heads in His lap, God wants us to trust Him and look to Him for all we need.
One of the greatest gifts given to me was the picture of God as a parent. Like the prodigal son can return home into welcoming, open arms, we also can return home, and our Father throws a party when one of His children come home, with cake and all! I picture God often in this way; especially when I need a reminder that I am loved and accepted fully regardless of where I’ve been or what I’ve done. My prayer is for all reading to know this truth:
Whether you have 12 candles on your cake or 102, you have a Father who is celebrating you and knows you infinitely. You are His beautiful daughter–coming of age, becoming more like Him. His lap is always open, and His love for you burns like an everlasting candle, unable to be snuffed out.
Father God, You are the beginning and end of who we are. You knit us together with such care and take notice of us when no one else does. Thank you for your love and devotion; thank you for being the lap in which we can rest our weary heads; thank you for being our protective Father. Amen.
Today’s post was written by Ashley Gregory, who is a contributor to the Deeper Still Devotional Blog. Ashley lives in Mt. Sterling, Illinois and is married to Mark. They have 3 children and she serves on the Central Illinois Deeper Still team.
Deeper Still is a ministry that offers free weekend retreats for women who have had abortions and the men who fathered children lost to abortion. If you have had an abortion and would like more information about our retreats, please go to www.GoDeeperStill.org to find a retreat close to you.