Growing up, on each and every camping trip we took as a family, just before we all fell asleep in our small pop-up, my mom would begin this long, but sweet good-night routine by asking my sister, myself, my brother, and my dad individually if she had told us that day that she loved us. If we said “no,”she would respond with “I love you.” If we said “yes,” she would respond with “I love you again.” After she had finished with each of us, my dad would take his turn asking each of us. Then my sister took her turn, followed by me, and lastly, my brother. Thirty minutes later we were ready to go to sleep. That camping bedtime routine, though sometimes completely annoying, made such an impact on me. I still think about it today. Thank you, Mom, for making that a family tradition!
Everyone has the desire to know they are loved. If you grew up in a family where you said “I love you” often, perhaps you take those words for granted, however, they are some of the most important words one can hear. Three simple words speak security, belonging, acceptance, and intimacy.
Truth: I am loved.
This is a relatively easy extrapolation if you have (or had) a father that makes (or made) you feel loved. If your earthy father causes (or caused) you pain, insecurity, fear, or rejection, let me say first and foremost, I am so sorry. The impact a father has on the life of his child, specifically a daughter, is far-reaching.
Know today that your heavenly father loves you and did the unthinkable for you.
I remember listening to a message given to young children during a children’s story-hour at a local Christian bookstore and was forever changed when I heard her say to the children, ages 2-4: “Do you know how much Jesus loves you? Even if you would have been the only person on the earth, Jesus still would have died for you.”
I had never thought of it that way before. As the young children in the room were wiggling, searching for run-away cheerios on the floor, and crying for one reason or another, I sat amazed. I had known that He loves “us,” but never really considered how much He loved me. I had the song “Jesus Loves Me” engrained in my head from the time I was little, however, it was just a canned bible song. But as I sat amongst these toddlers, the Lord’s love for me became very real. He traded heaven to save me. He traded heaven to save you.
John 3:16-18: “This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.” (MSG)
Perhaps one of the best things I’ve read that has helped me to understand His amazing love for me is The Jesus Storybook Bible, by Sally Lloyd-Jones.
I read it to my girls when they were younger, but once again, the “God Moments” that I was seeking for them turned out to be for me. This beautiful rendition of the Bible so clearly frames it as a love-letter to us. Simply amazing!
Romans 5:6-8: “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (NIV).
He loves us despite our doubts. He loves us despite our failures. He loves us despite our sin. He loves us. Period.
Romans 8:38-39: “For I am convinced 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, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (NIV)
Know today that you are loved by King Jesus who traded heaven to save you.