I asked Christ into my heart as a teenager but my faith never blossomed and I never grew. I was a baby Christian and very trapped. And it took me YEARS to break free.
I was trapped in a cycle. And I want to share this with you to prevent others from being trapped or other parents trapping their own children.
The scenario usually went like this:
Try really hard to be a good Christian----> Fall very, very short ---> Hide from God.
Then eventually, I'd try again, fearful that God wouldn't accept me anyway, and it always ended with falling short and hiding from God.
It took me years and years to first realize that I never could really hide from God. But that post is for another day.
I was finally set free, when I heard a sermon explaining the unconditional love of God and what that truly means. It was a foreign concept to me. You mean, I can fall short.. and I'm still loved? I can stray, come back, repent, and He'll still welcome me with open arms?
The answer, friends, is Y-E-S!
Some of you are probably saying "Really, Stephanie? You had no concept of unconditional love?"
And the answer is sadly "Yes, I had no idea. I had never been shown unconditional love.. not even human unconditional love." (Because I realize that humans are NOT perfect like God.)
I do not know my biological father. I've begged and pleaded with my mother for the information and never been told. Doctors have pressed me for health information for my biological children (and some of their health issues) and I've NEVER been able to answer any of it.
I've had two step-dads and while each one tried to convince me that they loved me and they'd always be there for me, neither of them are. The man that was my "Daddy" for 13 years, turned his back and walked away when he and my mother were divorced-- even after he promised he'd always be my daddy. Unconditional love wasn't there.
My mother only shows me love when she is in complete control of my life and when she thinks I make her look good. And that hasn't happened since well before I was 17 years old... before she kicked me out on Mother's Day 2001.
So yes, really, I had NO IDEA what unconditional love truly looked like. Once that was explained, my faith grew in leaps and bounds and then I experienced love from my husband, Brandon. He loves me as unconditionally as a human being can.
If you don't understand that God loves you unconditionally, you can't grow in a relationship with Him. God loves me with my faults, my hurts, my weaknesses, my past. He loves ME, no matter what.. sins and all. God is love! He loved me so much, He gave His only Son! For ME!
Don't you dare pity me, I have a perfect Father!!!!
So now you are probably thinking "What does this have to do with Father's Day?"
To my friends that have children: help your children understand God's unconditional love for them, by showing your children unconditional love. Show your children unconditional love by showing your spouse unconditional love. (I'm obviously not talking about cases with abuse.) I'm talking about commitment here. I know you are human and not perfect like God, but try. Don't stunt your child's spiritual growth. God's love is a foundation to your child's faith! It will do a wonder for their faith and understanding of God and His love.
I'm moved to tears thinking about Brandon loving our babies unconditionally. He loves them when they frustrate him, he loves them when they are stubborn, he loves them when they are good, he loves them when they are disobedient, he loves them when they are funny and crazy and everything in between. He loves my child from a previous marriage, he loves our biological children, he loves our adopted child. He loves the girls, he loves the boys. He loves the ones he has a ton in common with and the ones that he struggles to find common ground with. My children have NO DOUBT that their Daddy loves them-- and this makes it so.much.easier. to teach them that their Father loves them too. I'm blessed to parent our four with Brandon!
To all my friends: Know that God loves YOU unconditionally! He does!
PS: DeLainey's adoption was final June 3, 2011. She is over the moon excited to legally have Brandon's last name although she has used it informally for quite some time, by choice. It hasn't changed anything in our day to day life and she still isn't quite sure what the big deal is since this is all she knows, but it has brought an amazing amount of peace to my heart. It has been a very special Father's Day here at the Bee House!