Ever since I returned from the convent, I’ve been struggling with feeling guilty about not praying enough or not doing enough faith related activities. Being in the world, it’s much easier to get distracted. But the reality is that living in the world requires me to not live like I did in the convent. It might seem obvious but it’s taking awhile to settle in my mind.
Within this same thread, I’ve been struggling with understanding how the Lord sees me. I’ve been getting caught up in my guilty feelings and convincing myself that God is judging me and seeing me as my failings and sins. I’ve been letting myself believe that I am not good enough in His eyes.
I’ve been reminded several times that the Lord looks on me with eyes of mercy, that He loves me for exactly who I am at this moment. He loves me whether I pray five minutes or five hours. He loves me the same always, no matter what I do. I can’t earn His love. I know these things and it was nice that people kept reminding me, but it wasn’t quite sinking in.
And then, Friday night I was hanging out with some friends and I was given a little glimpse into how the Father sees us. One of my friends has a little girl. She’s just one year old and she’s adorable. I just love her to pieces. We usually get along great, she plays while we hang out and have adult conversations. However, Friday night she didn’t get a long enough nap and she was not a happy camper. She was squirmy and screaming and didn’t want to have anything to do with allowing us to have some adult time.
I’ve been in similar situations before, where a child is screaming and I just get really annoyed and upset and want to remove myself from the situation, but Friday night was different. While she was making it hard to concentrate, I never once felt annoyed or upset. The entire time I just felt this deep love for her and for my friend as her mother. I knew that this little girl wasn’t purposefully interrupting us, she didn’t even know that’s what she was doing. She was just trying to let us know what was going on with her.
As the night continued, she calmed down and we were able to finish our conversations a little more easily. We even had the opportunity to watch her stand on her own for a couple seconds (cue the cheering, clapping, and crazy joy of three women watching this little victory). It ended up being a wonderful evening, the screaming and crying included.
The love I feel for this little girl didn’t change when she was screaming and crying and being disruptive. My love for her was the same before the screaming, during the screaming, and after the screaming. I could see the bigger picture and realize she didn’t even know what she was doing.
I think that’s how the Father sees me (and each of us). He loves me regardless of whether I have my act together or not. He loves me the same no matter what I do. Plus, He’s outside of time and He knows my thoughts. He knows my intentions so He knows when I don’t mean to act in a certain way even if I do.
We are just little children in our Heavenly Father’s eyes. That is why we can have so much confidence in His love and mercy. Who doesn’t love a little child? Who isn’t patient and forgiving with a little one who doesn’t know what he or she is doing?
I’m challenging myself (and you too!) to continue to accept this identity as a little child. I need to claim my identity as a beloved daughter of our Heavenly Father, remembering that He loves me the same no matter what.