(Listen to the audio version of this article here.)
It was after my three-year-old daughter’s unsolicited observation that I realized how much God loves all of me—even the messier bits.
“What’s under your armpit, mom?” she asked me from the back seat of our minivan.
I’d been smooshed between two toddlers for days on highways and back country roads. Memories of the car salesman saying that vans are “roomy” and “give ample leg room” flashed before my mind like some high school prank. I felt like a clam in a slow cooker.
We were in and out of Airbnb‘s and survived long nights with extended family (one of our kids doesn’t sleep well traveling) and a handful of states.
We hurdled through the Cumberland mountains to the Ohio flatlands to lush Michigan forests. By the time we were a couple hours away from our Tennessee home after almost two weeks of “vacation,” I felt more than burnt out. Refreshed? Ha. Family vacations with toddlers are more like soul-vacuuming the back seat of the van, finding little tiny pieces of Doritos that are impossible to reach: maddening.
It was on the way home that I was reaching for a series of somethings in the front of the seat (snack, coloring book, toy, water bottle) like a circus acrobat when she approached me quizzically about my under arm.
“What’s under your arm?”
“What do you mean?”
Being sleep deprived, it took a minute to register. Then I realized what she was getting at. We had been gone for 10 days, and I forgot my razor.
“Mommy hasn’t had time to…um…clean up the way I usually do.”
My daughter looked at me with her combination cherub and gremlin eyes.
“Mommy, it’s okay. I love your yucky parts, too.”
It Became Clear: God Loves All of Me
I looked at her, and it hit me like a raspberry slushy to the brain: if this is how much I love my kids and how much my kids love me, then how much more am I loved by the God who created us all?
I smiled and nodded, tears welling up behind my droopy eyes, and I heard God speak something like these tender words:
I love your need to be liked and your longing to be loved.
Your desire to belong.
I’ve seen your worst moments, the ones that make you look down to the ground and slouch your shoulders and ask me for my mercy while not believing I’ll give it.
I love those moments—and every moment.
I love every inch of you, even the parts you’d like to hide with concealer or high waisted jeans or filters.
I love your beauty and your ugliness in equal measure.
Your mess is my joy.
Because it is in your brokenness that you can really feel my presence and see beyond the pretense of this world.
My dear, sweet girl:
I love your yucky parts, too.
It’s in the Tough Times and Unexpected Moments That God Reminds Me of His Love
My precious girl gave me a gift that day, a picture and a reminder: no matter what, I am wholly and completely loved.
I don’t have to be perfect. I can be messy. I can embrace my lovely and yucky. I can rest in the truth that I am loved. On long trips with the kids, I can lose my cool and not sleep enough and forget to shave and wonder why we ever leave the house anyways, and God still waits for me in His quiet, perfect way. Our mess is His joy.
“I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Luke 5:32
Sometimes we don’t feel worthy of God’s love, but that doesn’t keep Him from giving it generously. Let Darlene & Meaghan encourage you that God indeed loves “messy people.”