Yesterday, my son lost a board game to his mother (yes, I am THAT mom). And not only did he lose the board game, but he also lost his mind, his self-control, and his sense of reason and logic for about 3.7 seconds.
In an absolute fit of competitive rage, he found the closest thing near him, which happened to be a large, inflatable, pink, pig-shaped ball (don’t ask…I can’t explain why we have some of the things we have), and chucked it at my head.
BOY WAS MAD.
And that large, inflatable pig flew through the air (missing my head) and knocked over my most-prized, morning treasure…yes, my cup of caffeine. And if you have ever wondered what happens when a large pig-ball hits an almost-full cup of coffee, well…let me just save you the suspense. It flings that coffee far and wide and all over the blessed carpet.
Mama was mad. Mama was REALLY, REALLY MAD.
This wasn’t just an “accidental-he’s-three-16th spill-of-the-day” kind of accident. No, this was a spill that happened because of his uncontrolled anger.
And because I’m super awesome at keeping my anger under control, I yelled, “GET OUT! GET OUT!! GET OUT!!!” Think of it as an “OUT SHOUT” because with each “OUT,” my voice got louder and louder and louder.
And when I gave my “OUT SHOUT,” the boy went OUT!
With a roll of paper towels in one hand and carpet cleaner in the other, I assaulted the brown stain. Ummm…existential aside…why isn’t coffee the color of Sprite when you spill it? Yeah, I don’t know either, but I kinda wish it worked like that.
Half-way through the roll of paper towels, I hear this little voice in the hallway.
“Mommy, do you still love me?”
Insert: GUT PUNCH MULTIPLIED BY A TRILLION.
I wish I could tell you it’s the first time I’ve ever heard this question come forth from his mouth, but I can’t. In fact, I’ve heard it more times than my mama ears have ever wanted to hear it (which is all of zero times), and it breaks my heart EVERY SINGLE TIME.
He gets in trouble for being rough with his sister. “Mommy, do you still love me?”
He receives discipline for talking back. “Mommy, do you still love me?”
He loses a bedtime story because of his disobedience. “Mommy, do you still love me?”
He refuses to heed the warning and acts in anger. “Mommy, do you still love me?”
So yesterday, surrounded by a pile of sopping, brown paper towels, I said the same variation of words I always say when he utters that heart-wrenching question.
“Oh, buddy. Of course, I love you. I always love you. Yes, Mommy is frustrated about this spill and yes, I’m angry about the choice you made, but I ALWAYS, ALWAYS love you.”
And every time I reassure him of my love and wonder why he is so quick to doubt my love when he makes a mistake and fails, I am reminded that he’s not the only soul who is fearful of losing love…his mama is, too.
I fall into temptation and give way to my sinful nature. “God, do you still love me?”
I knowingly revisit a repeated sin. “God, do you still love me?”
I fall short and make a big mess. “God, do you still love me?”
I disobey, throw a fit, and hurt others in my sin. “God, do you still love me?”
And do you know what God whispers to my fearful, doubting soul?
He reminds me that He is “slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.” Exodus 34:6
He reinforces that His “love reaches to the heavens” and His “faithfulness to the skies.” Psalm 36:5-7
He reassures me that He has loved me “with an everlasting love” and “drawn me with loving-kindness.” Jeremiah 31:3
He reasserts that His “compassions never fail” and are “new every morning.” Lamentations 3:22-23
He repeats that “neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation [including my repeated sin and my continual shortcomings] will separate me from His love.” Romans 8:38-39
And if a broken, sinful, quick-tempered mama like me can continue to extend love and offer repeated forgiveness to my mistake-making son, HOW MUCH MORE SO can God say to me and you…
“Oh, child. Of course, I love you. I always love you. Yes, you have fallen and yes, I don’t approve of the choice you made, but I ALWAYS, ALWAYS love you.”
And do you know what He does with those yucky stains from our shortcomings and sin?
He washes those stains “white as snow” and removes them “as far from us as the east is from the west”…SO VERY, VERY unlike my best, earthly attempts at removing and forgetting about the stains that still semi-reside on my carpet.