As a mother for the past 17 years, I have learned more about God as a Father than any other time in my life. From the moment I sat on my couch with my days-old son perched up on legs and I stared at him with a love I couldn’t explain, God has been teaching me about the love He has for me. As I stared at my baby, I saw the eyes of the Father looking at me.
It was such a poignant moment in my life that it has stuck with me all these years. I can’t look at my son with a tender heart without also thinking of that moment and remembering the tenderness God the Father has for me.
This last week, my only child turned 17. It was a major shift and transition moment for both my son and me. We’ve been through a great deal… two divorces and many days of uncertainty.
In 2007, he was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. Numerous well-intentioned folks expressed their sympathies at this news. However, for me, it was just a way to describe how he viewed the world. He wasn’t broken or needed to be fixed. In many ways, I envied him and wanted to have traits like my son. I would watch him navigate tough days and quickly forget the faults of others. I realized he was more like Jesus than anyone I knew, especially me! He was always full of compassion, laughter, joy, quick to forgive, never holding a grudge.
His simple, loving, kind ways taught me about the heart of the Father. And my love and joy in watching my child taught me about how the God the Father enjoys me.
My son didn’t have to do anything special for me to enjoy him. I just did.
EACH SEASON HAS JOY
This week I reflected on the last 17 years and I marveled at how each moment was special. Each age and season in life had its own joys. I hung on to every day as long as I could and never wished for a season to end. There were no “terrible twos” or difficult “teenage” years. I chose to enjoy each day as it was.
That’s not to say that with the transition of one season into another there wasn’t a time of grieving the loss of one while rejoicing at the beginning of a new one. That’s where I am today.
On the same week as his birthday, we were looking at driving lessons and searching for his first job. In one day I watched an awkward boy who had been wanting to hold on to his childhood suddenly realize that the passage into adulthood wasn’t as bad as he thought it would be. He went from grieving the end of “kiddie” birthday parties to embracing the adventure of independence at the thought of a first job and driving on his own.
After spending a few hours at a job fair, I took him to lunch and as I was admiring the man he was becoming before my very eyes – walking straighter and with more confidence and maturity – he verbalized what I was feeling: “Mom, I feel like I’ve aged 5 years in the last 2 weeks.”
My heart melted. I couldn’t have said it better.
It was clear that we both had been grieving the loss of childhood while welcoming the gift of adulthood. For me, from the point of a mother having to let go a little more of her baby; and my son, from the perspective of learning that the end of child-like games and innocence doesn’t mean a life void of joy. It’s just different.
I’m still a mom – it’s just different. But from the moment he was born to now, it has been one joy to the other. Not because my son has had to do anything to bring me joy. I simply enjoyed him because of him. Because he was my son.
As I reflected on the smiles and inward swelling of happiness my son has brought me over the last 17 years, I realized that God enjoys me too. Not because of anything I have to do to make Him like me.
God the Father just enjoys me. There’s no why or because. He just enjoys me. And I want you to know that God the Father enjoys you too.