I was a very busy stay at home mother. I had three young children and my husband was an occupied family practice physician. We both grew up in families with three children and had decided early on that we would have more or less than three kids because we did not like the “odd man out” in a threesome. We were living in Vicenza, Italy at the time so we were far from home and far from receiving any help from grandparents or relatives. The Lord spoke to me and said He wanted to give us another son. We already had two girls and one boy, so this would certainly even things out. But I recall wondering how I would manage with that many kids. There are many mundane tasks and thankless jobs that go along with parenting. However, my dependence on the Lord and His daily encouragement in my heart gave me the added strength I needed to stay in joy. Not that there was continuous joy, but when I needed it He provided. When my schedule was really full, I decided I would wake up every night from 2-3 in the morning to have my prayer and devotional time. I’m sure that got a chuckle from heaven, for that plan didn’t even work once. I tried multiple times before I realized God was not asking me to do that.
From the moment each of my children were born, they were loved unconditionally. They did not have to work for my love and did not have to earn it or perform for it. We disciplined our kids in love. They are a part of our family and we love each one of them no matter what, through thick and thin. It takes the wisdom of God to know how to handle situations they find themselves in, but we tried to follow God’s manual as best we could. They are all uniquely made and have their very own contribution to better society as they follow the Lord. My husband and I celebrate their differences, their abilities, talents and natural gifts. We have no favorites, they are all our favorites.
This is exactly how our Heavenly Father feels towards us. We are all His favorites. We have been adopted into His family, and all that He has belongs to us. He loves us unconditionally which is what the Greek word “Agape” love means. He loved us from the moment of our conception and is still loving us today. There is nothing we can do for Him to love us more. The Bible says there is nothing that will separate us from his love. Romans 8:35 “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?” John 15:9 says, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in My love.” God’s love is there for us, in every occasion.
How do we receive His love and walk in it everyday? How do we experience His love rather than hear or read about it? There are multiple ways for people to experience God’s love and have what I call love encounters. For me personally, this is what I do. This is not a formula. People can experience God’s love in worship and this happens for me. I simply adore Him, expressing my love to Jesus. Once I begin my expression of love upward, the Lord comes down and fills my heart with His love and from there I go into surrender and repentance. When His love immerses you, it is easy to lay your will down and pick His up. Giving thanks to God is another way His love comes down. It is magnificent to experience God’s love and offer our affections back to Him! This is one experience of heaven on earth!