Today’s episode of Cultivating Grace is sponsored by:
Living as Loved
Hi there homeschooling moms. My name is Kendra Fletcher, and I am an old homeschooling mom. I started homeschooling our kids back in 1997, which seems a little unbelievable now. Our oldest is 26, and I’m still homeschooling three kids.
We graduate our fifth this year and I’ll tell you what, even if you think that the rest of us have it figured out, we don’t. We blow it all the time, too. Or, at least I do. I don’t know who those homeschooling moms are out there who’ve got their stuff all together, but I am not one of them.
I have had to learn to tell myself the truth as I have gone through parenting eight kids, and through homeschooling, and through marriage, and through relationships, and all of the other stuff that life throws at us.
But, this is what I want to encourage you with today. As we think that we’re failing, as we’re maybe hearing the lies that Satan loves for us to hear, that we’re blowing it, and that God certainly could not be pleased with us, or certainly cannot love us in the midst of that, we have to remember how loved we are by God. We can remind ourselves to live as loved.
But the problem is, so many of us struggle to believe that He loves me, individually. Do you have a hard time even hearing that, and thinking, right, I can’t say that? I mean, I know it’s the truth, but I can’t really internalize that. I have a really hard time believing that God loves me. We find it difficult to believe how much God loves us, especially when we’re at our worst, I think.
You know, we can pretend that we got our schoolwork done. And by “we”, I mean our children. Right?
I know the first time one of my kiddos came to me and said, “Yep, math is done. Yep, it’s all done, mom.” And I realized about two months later that no math had been done. Are you there? Have you had that experience yet? I would really hope you don’t, but I’m probably about to guarantee that you will. Because I think every single one of my kids has tried that or some variation of it. They get a little smart, and they realize, “Hm. Maybe I can get out of doing the thing I don’t like to do.” And so, they’re at their worst. Or we lose our patience with our kids as the homeschool year chugs on, I think, especially at the end here.
But, here’s the thing. The gospel tells us that God loves us especially then. Especially when we blow it. God loved us even when we were His enemies, so much so, that He willingly came to Earth and died to rescue us. But I think the practical question after realizing that we just have the hardest time believing that God loves us is how we can live as loved.
Okay, so I have this problem. I don’t think that God loves me, truly, unless I prove it to Him. How do I live in that love? How do I know how loved I am? I would just point us all back to Romans 8:31 that says, “If Christ is for us, who can be against us?”
How does it change everything for you when you grasp how very loved you are by God? How does it stir and move us when we realize that God is not only not mad at us or disappointed in us, He actually sends a rescuer, a redeemer.
Like Edmund in The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, we have sinned and betrayed God, and become victims of evil. But, Romans 8:31 tells us, we are loved by God, even when we were his enemies, so much so, that He willingly, again, willingly died to rescue us. Our sin is already forgiven, mom. That manger, that cross, it took care of that. Our shame is already covered. The cross took care of that. Our guilt is already pardoned. The cross took care of that.
There’s an old story that Pearl S. Buck told about a farmer’s boy who heard his dad telling his mom in the middle of the night that he was going to let the boy sleep in, instead of getting up to milk the cows, because it was so terribly cold that morning. And from that moment on, that boy knew in his heart how much his father loved him. And on Christmas morning, the boy himself woke at 3:00 a.m. to go milk all of the cows as a present of love for his father. Pearl S. Buck knew the meaning of living as loved. At the end of the story, when the boy is all grown up, and the father has long passed away, she wrote,
“Love was still alive in him. It still was. It occurred to him suddenly that it was alive, because long ago, it had been born in him when he knew his father loved him.”
That was it. Love, alone, could awaken love, and he could give that gift again, and again.
When we know how loved we are by God, we can now tell ourselves the truth and live as loved. We can tell others the truth, and we can love them, because we know how loved we are by God. And if we remember whose we are, and how much He loves us, we can love those who are unkind to us, even our kids, because we know how loved we are by God.
We can forgive others who have betrayed us or spoken ill of us, because we know how loved we are by God. That’s just a beautiful truth. God loved us so much that He sent Jesus as our rescuer and redeemer, and because of His great love for us, we can tell ourselves the truth. Even when we’ve blown it, even on the worst of our parenting and homeschooling days, we can look up, look to God, remind ourselves how loved we are by Him, and we can live in the overflow.
We can live as loved.
Kendra Fletcher is a mother of 8, speaker, author, and podcaster. She is the author of Lost and Found: Losing Religion, Finding Grace, and Leaving Legalism, and she regularly writes for Key Life Ministries. The Fletchers reside in California, where they play in the Pacific Ocean as often as possible. Find her here: www.kendrafletcher.com, on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.