My child is running at me. Tears mark her face, which displays an erupting anger and sadness. I scoop her into my arms, feeling the tug of the Holy Spirit in my heart.
In this current season, our house has felt like a battleground. The lovely moments are sparse, and the unruly, messy moments are frequent. Even in times of peace, the threat of renewed turbulence lingers.
In this space, I’ve become quick to correct my daughter. I’ve become worn down and impatient. When my daughter approaches me with all her feelings aflame, I snap. I’m quick to address her behavior before addressing her. That changed for me today.
It was a gentle nudge and a question: Does God have requirements for how we must behave when we come to Him?
No way. He opens His loving arms to us, whether we are thankful and overflowing with joy or furious and frazzled. He is ready for relationship with us, constantly available and eager. His arms are wide open. His love is extended to us before anything else.
This is good news for me today. I am in need of an accepting God. Just like my little daughter, I can come flailing and frantic, in need of a love that says, “I’m here. Come as you are.”
Because our God is a God of come-as-you-are, He expects me to be a bit messy.
I don’t have to have every hair in place, everything neat and tidy. I can stop striving to have every area of my life ordered and figured out.
Instead, I can come to God with all the mess and all the desperation. When I do, I’m greeted by grace. And when I let that grace sink into my bones, not only does it soften my heart for my child, it softens my heart for others. I am better equipped to listen with His ears to my lonely neighbor. I can see His longing for my brother or sister on the street. I can lay down my self-interest in order to share His love with my husband. I can open my arms and exude His love to my child.
God’s love melts my criticism and frees me up to trust Him and love freely.
The message of God’s love and ever-present grace will never be redundant. In fact, this is a story we need to tell ourselves every day. God is here for us. His love and grace are sufficient for us. We don’t need to alter ourselves before approaching Him. Approaching Him is our best human attempt at love — our best bet when we are beaten and raising our flags of surrender. May we never tire of telling ourselves this story.
As I wrap my arms around my child, may I be reminded to open my arms to others. As I wipe her tears, may I think of the One who wipes our tears — the One who invites us to dry the tears of others. May I be reminded that we are all in need of saving, all full of turmoil, all children of God.Leave a Comment
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
I love this! It’s a message that never gets old for desperate ears to hear. I love the image I get of you scooping your daughter up in your arms – in all her frantic, spirited messiness. That’s just what God wants to do with us….scoop us up in His strong and loving arms and love on us awhile. I think Jesus knew what He was doing when He simplified the gospel to two principles….Love the Lord your God. When we love Him with all our heart, strength, soul, and mind….when we seek Him, He loves us JUST AS WE ARE. He pours out an unfathomable grace and love that then enables us to Love others as we, ourselves, are loved. It’s pretty simple, but we can’t get to Part II unless we pass through Part I – seeking Him and experiencing His grace and love beyond measure. You described this interaction beautifully!!
Hi, Bev! Thank you for your sweet words this morning!
Michele Morin says
Your words do my heart good! I love the truth that we follow a “come-as-you-are” God. May this be the message that we extend to a hurting world.
Hi, Michele! I am so touched to hear that. I couldn’t agree more.
Thank you Emily for sharing this story . Today’s message felt like it was written just for me today. I praise God for indeed His grace is enough. What a beautiful reminder that we need to come just as we are. I can’t wait for my daughter to wake up from her nap to embrace her and kiss her face.
Thank *you* for sharing. What a good God we serve that He gives us each other to help remember His grace. I am grateful you shared with me, and I hope those were the most delightful kisses!
So needed this today! Some days more than others it is especially nice to hear from a Mom who can relate! Thank you!
Thank you, Katie! I agree. It always makes me feel lighter to know others are going through the same thing!
Love this. I agree We should all try harder to be better with each other.
Thank you, Debbie!
Diane Bailey says
As I read you post an old hymn came to mind. One of the lines “Just as I am without one plea but that Thy blood was shed for me
And that Thou bid’st me come to Thee Oh lamb of God I come I come”
Beautiful, Diane! Thank you for sharing. I will need to look that up.
So good! Thank you for this reminder today ❤️
It’s my joy to share, Julie! Hope you have a wonderful weekend.
Terri Kyle says
Such a powerful message. In our hurried world, we forgot our Father is always busy! But He also is ALWAYS patiently awaiting our needs. I will never forget your vivid illustration. Blessings ~
I’m so glad, Terri. I need to remind myself of this regularly! Thank you for taking the time to read and respond.
Thank you emily for your life breathing words. I am in the midst of walking along side my teenage daughter who is battling depression. There are good days and messy days as you said. Thank you for reminding me that i need always look to the Father for his abounding grace to speak. She is not the toddler but the teenager who is struggling, the the response is to be the same. Thank you!
You are so welcome, Carolyn. As a formerly depressed teenager, you are giving your child such a gift in your loving presence. You are so right. Love, grace, mercy. We can always look to the way God loves to help us. Prayers for your journey!
Gail Noe says
Thank you so much. Perfect for me today and much needed. Changed by grace. You worded it perfectly. No matter how many times we cry out and in our need, He is ready with His grace.
I’m so glad to hear that, Gail! I always need the reminder of His unfailing grace. Blessings to you today!
Beth Williams says
Our God is a come-as-you-are messy & desperate loving God. He wants us to come and experience ALL He has for us-grace, love & mercy. I praise God for that. January 2016 was a “messy” time for me. My aging dad’s dementia had worsened and he was hospitalized. I cried out to God to take him home-this isn’t living. I couldn’t stand to see my dad like that. God heard me, but had other plans. He healed my dad and showed me a true miracle. Now my faith is full and I’m sharing God with everyone I can. I visit my dad at the assisted living and give hugs and smiles to the other residents. Wanting them to experience as much of God as they can.
Thank you for sharing, Beth! What a beautiful, awesome story. It sounds like you are able to spread God’s love to others who could use His joy. Thank you for taking the time to read and share here!
I am so thankful our God is a come as you are God. I can wear my pajamas and approach him with bed hair and tired eyes and a bad attitude and he is there for me.
Yes, Theresa! I couldn’t agree more.
Oh my goodness- how I needed this today. God spoke straight to my heart through your post this morning. We have had a lot of turmoil in our home as well recently, and have seen our son acting out at school and our daughter at home. My husband and I have been struggling with how to handle it. We had a conversation just last night about it, both understanding that we needed to change our approach and praying that God would show us how. The Holy Spirit convicted me through your words, “I’m quick to address her behavior before addressing her.” This has been our response too, but it’s not what God models for us as our Parent. “His love is extended to us before anything else.” This is how He wants us to respond to our children in their misbehavior and their mess, just how He responds to us in ours. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this reminder.
Alyssa, Your words warmed my heart! I am so glad God used this to speak to you. I find that as a parent, it can be so challenging to hear all of the messages about how to parent “correctly.” I am so thankful our God listens and speaks. He hears us when our hearts are heavy because of parenting and life, and He offers us His wisdom for His (our!) children. Every time I come back to His wisdom and His heart for my daughter, I am moved and I have a deep peace about our actions as her parents. Blessings and love to you on this journey! Thank you for sharing today.
Jenny Howell says
Beautiful Em. Such a sweet reminder! Parenting 5 over here and the amount of times God corrects me in my correcting them is embarrassing but SO kind and helpful. Thanks for writing down your heart!