Last night, thoughts relating to my childhood connected with that of my children, and it made me think about how differently each child - depending on how far apart they are in age, mostly - will view me in years to come, as they look back upon our lives. I shared this with my two youngest - who were the only kids in the room with me last night - and said it would be the same of their dad, too, but he hasn't really changed, nor needed to change, since I've known him, so our 6 kids will be able to view him from similar viewpoints, whereas our 3 older kids would've known the much-grumpier me and our younger 3 would know the more happy-go-lucky, Mum's-a-bit-of-a-dork-but-we-love-her-anyway mum.
I can just imagine my 6 kids sitting around the table in a few years, without me in the picture, saying, as it has been said of my dad, "I don't remember [her] like that..." Part of me aches to return to the grumpier days and get on my knees before the older three and repent, telling them they deserved far better than my heart was capable of giving at the time; telling them they are worth all the love in the world and I am so very sorry I didn't give it to them. I should've. They deserved it.
I thank God He is not like that - ever-changing with tides, times and moods, as I've been known to. I am so very grateful that He is the same, yesterday, today and tomorrow; that His love never changes, and He never takes it from us...and so on...Yet, with all His kids, if we were all to sit around a table (we'll call this table Earth, shall we... ;) ), without Him in the room :), and share our hearts and memories of Him, I dare say we'd hear a lot of statements such as "I don't know Him like that..."
My mum and dad had 6 kids. They had a different relationship with each child - be it due to times, misunderstanding, the child's character, or whatever. My husband and I have, between us, 6 children. We each have a different relationship with each of those children - and that's not because we love one more than the other, but often due to similarities or differences in personalities, as well as times and tides of our lives. God has so many children, but one heart - and in His heart there are so many "rooms", one of which you own; one of which I own; one of which 'they' own. According to our character, our trust in Him, our openness to and with intimacy, and due to our understanding of Him, life and love - or lack thereof, we will view Him, and have a relationship with Him, in a way that suits us, and it may very well differ from the next child - or, from the next person.
"I don't see God like that..."
"That's not how I know Him..."
And so it goes...
But the thing is, God is God, no matter how we can or cannot see Him, and it is up to us to seek an intimate, open and honest relationship with Him in order to see His true character; His heart; Him. And, if you know the New Testament, you know the best way to get to know the Father is through the Son - Jesus Christ...Start with the 4 gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John), open your heart to Him and His Spirit, and you'll soon see who our Father is.
I know God to be very merciful, very loving. And it's that part of His heart I try to reflect to others. I don't know God's anger - apart from Him saying "Don't you dare!" to me once when I was planning, in my heart, to openly reject someone (and that I put down to His love for that person). I've never known Him to be angry, critical, bad- or quick-tempered, or anything in the like. In and with God, I feel safe, I feel loved, I feel wanted, and I know I belong. But not everyone knows the loving God I know, and that saddens me...so I write, I share my heart with you, in the hope of introducing you to the loving depths of His heart - depths I still haven't reached the bottom of.
I am also curious as to how you view God. Your view won't cause mine to alter in a negative way, because, as you know, someone's testimony can never have as much impact on one's heart as one's own experience, but I am curious how you view our Father...and if you view Him through the heart of Jesus or the hand and ego of "man" and circumstances...
...I write this now because, this morning, along with the thoughts re my siblings and my children and how we view our parents, I was thinking about a few things God's placed on my heart lately that I am 'almost' convinced He wants me to write about. As I was chewing these things over, while driving, the following song came on the CD in my car:
Open Me ~ by Shawn McDonald
Actually, this song started getting me from the start. There I was, driving along, contemplating this, that and the other, and starting to feel very incompetent with it, when the lyrics from the 'last' song (which went unnoticed) gave way to these ones, which instantly drew my heart before I realised it, and, with an ache in my heart, I instantly started speaking to God in between each line, which went something like this:
(my words in red)
- because I can't see what you're telling me;
Would You open up my ears, so I can hear
- because I need to know what you're saying;
Would You open up my mind, so I can know
- because I don't have your mind, heart or spirit
Would You open up my heart, so I could love You more
- please... Give me your heart...
I want to serve You, my God
- here is my heart
I want to give you all of me
- please... take me...
...and so on... and by the time I got to the end of the song, my heart was wide open to Him... And that's when I found myself sitting at a set of traffic lights, waiting to turn onto another road, and as I sat there, allowing all this to soften my heart to God and His heart and will, a car drove by in which an elderly gentleman sat, in the front passenger seat, just looking out the window and watching the world go by. This gentleman saw another elderly fellow walking alongside of the road and, as his eye caught hold of the second fellow, his vision locked onto him and remained with him until he [the 1st fellow] was forced to look away. And as I witnessed this, as I looked at the eyes of the first fellow, seeing a smile of 'something' there - wistfulness, perhaps, I could, in my heart, hear him say, "We were young once, too, ay...?" and as soon as that echoed through the chambers of my heart, I sensed God with me and felt as though I was looking from His seat as, with an ache of His own, He said, "He's my child, too," and I felt His heart for the man; I felt the longing in God's heart. I felt His love for a child He could not hold - for reasons I don't know. I felt God wanting to reach out and embrace 'His child' with all that He was and, with grave fervor, confess the depths of love He held for him. I felt the man's sadness and God's desire to relieve him of such sorrow. I felt God wanting to take that man, His child, and love Him openly throughout eternity. And I cried...
This all happened in a matter of seconds. I thank God I have read [in the Bible] that a day is like a thousand years to Him, because that made it easier to accept that God enabled me to capture a "day's" worth of thoughts and emotions in a few seconds. And as I sat there, with that man no longer in view, with tears, with my heart softened, with my insecurities pushed aside, I knew, once again, that, once again, our Father was saying, "Tell them that I love them;. Tell them that I want them. Tell them that they're worth much more than they realise." And this is the Father I know. This is the heart He has revealed to me. This is the God that loves and wants you...