But my Heavenly Father IS perfect. This lent God has been teaching me a lot about the Father. In reading the daily Gospel’s I’ve been noticing just how much Jesus mentions the Father in His teaching. This has been such a gift to me.
This weekend I’m home with my family. I talked to my mom Friday afternoon and she informed me my childhood dog has bone cancer. I didn’t have any plans this weekend and it happened to be a weekend my dad was coming home so I decided to come home too because we don’t know how long out dog has left and I wanted a chance to say goodbye to her. Anyway, the news of Friday resulted in me making an unplanned trip home for the weekend.
Saturday morning I woke up and my mom was really grumpy and moody. It seemed like everything was an end of the world situation (that really wasn’t as big of a deal as it needed to be). She has a cold, and this is pretty normal for her when she doesn’t feel well. However, when she’s like this it makes me so so anxious. Like I usually feel like I can’t breathe. I was a little on edge for the day.
I hadn’t prayed yet so I made myself scarce and went to my room so I could have my daily prayer time. And the gospel yesterday was basically hand picked for me, I’m convinced. It was the passage where Jesus teaches on loving and praying for your enemies. Which calling my parents enemies is a little excessive, but sometimes, as a 20-something trying to be independent, but still semi-dependent on them, it can be really hard to love them and is more of a choice to love them and love them well. But the gospel that day reminded me to be perfect as my Heavenly Father is perfect, to be merciful as my Heavenly Father is merciful. So it reminded me to love my parents well and by the grace of God.
After spending time reflecting on this I went back out to the living room. I’d changed into running clothes to motivate me to run because it was so nice outside I wanted to take advantage of the beautiful day. I was wearing a dry-fit shirt, and those tend to be a little clingy, and I was bloated from natural things in my body that happen because I’m a female. And my dad made a comment about me having a belly. Which he’s done before, but it was always after I had teased him about being overweight, but this time it was just an outward remark he made. I was infuriated. Usually I’ll take what he says with a grain of salt and let it be, but this time I decided to say something because it basically felt like a stab in my heart.
This week I decided to join a gym because I’ve been waking up feeling crappy and lethargic all the time, I’ve been eating crappy, and I’ve been feeling extremely insecure in my own skin. So I decided to do something about it. I had spent a lot of Friday night talking to my dad about what I was doing and the gym I joined and what was included in my membership and how I’m really excited about this. So a comment about my weight was a slap in the face from a person who I highly look up to.
So in my infuriated state I put my running shoes on, grabbed my headphones and headed for the road to get my workout in for the day. While I was running I was letting myself feel all the emotions I was feeling, but then I was drawn back to the reading and to my reflection in prayer only an hour earlier. Be perfect(merciful) as your Heavenly Father is perfect(merciful). Hmm.
My parents are not perfect, as much as I expect and want them to be perfect, they are not. I am not perfect, as much as I wish I was or try to be or pretend be, I am not perfect. Then, why should I expect my parents to be perfect. They are broken people too, just like I am a broken person. I guess it’s hard because as kids we often put so much weight on what our parents say. We look up to them. We turn them in everything. We depend on them. They are our safe zone. So it’s easy to expect them to be perfect. However, they’re not. My mom didn’t feel well, so she was grumpy and moody, and let everyone know it. Usually when I’m sick, I’m pretty grumpy and whiny too, as most people are. My dad struggles with weight, so he probably projected his own frustration with his weight onto me because that’s what we do when we’re broken.
The good news is that we have a Father in Heaven who is perfect. He loves us perfectly. Our Heavenly Father provides for our every need. He loves us unconditionally. He desires for us to come to Him with our struggles. He desires to lavish his love on us, but will we allow His grace to touch our dark and broken hearts?
Yesterday morning, I was hurt and frustrated by my parents, by their brokenness. But I had a choice. I could choose to stay in my hurt and frustration, to dwell in it, to dig deeper into it. OR I could choose to see it as an opportunity to lean into the Lord, to allow the Love of the Father to penetrate to the depths of my broken heart and to fill me so I overflow His Love, and to practice forgiveness and be merciful to my parents, recognizing they are imperfect too. I chose the latter. I chose grace.
I choose grace. I choose life. I choose mercy. I choose forgiveness. I choose God’s love. I choose to drink of the cup of salvation. I choose to allow God to be enough for me. What will you choose?
This morning, I was in awe of the providence of my Heavenly Father. He knew what I was feeling about my parents and he knew what was coming with the day, and the comment my dad would make, so He set me up for success, by revealing to me how great His love for his children is! Thanks be to God, for he is forever faithful! He provides for our every need. He knows what we need before we ask Him! Thanks be to God, for a Father who KNOWS the heart of His children.