After we had Elliott, there were a couple (or six haha) months that we depended heavily on some TV time for Anniston. I was learning how to balance both of my girls well and if we all needed a little break I would grab the remote without a second thought so we could just get a few minutes to breathe and gather ourselves. It was during this season that we watched a LOT of Daniel Tiger, everyone’s favorite neighborhood tiger friend. (I think I still have his songs playing through my head while I sleep. Any parents in the room with me?).
Well all that to say we now have a little saying in our house that I totally ripped off from my buddy Daniel Tiger. The little cub has an episode centered around the song “grownups come back” and in our house we say “Mommy ALWAYS comes back”. If I’m dropping my big girl off at school or church we always say goodbye with a kiss and a “Mommy always comes back” reminder. If Mommy and Daddy are going out on a date then we get a big hug and a “Mommy always comes back” before we head out the door. I heard from one of our babysitters recently that Anniston is now telling Elliott, “Don’t worry sister, Mommy always comes back!” when Elliott starts to get upset after we leave.
There is nothing magical in the saying, but it’s always followed up with Mommy returning at some point so she knows the promise is TRUE. The saying gives her peace and hope and reminds her she doesn’t have to fear because Mommy said she will be back and she always has before and she always will again.
Recently, I’ve been trying to explain to Anniston that God is like Mommy and Daddy because He loves you SO much. But unlike Mommy and Daddy, He is ALWAYS with you and there is nothing you can do that will ever make Him leave. As usual, the more I preach at my daughter, the more I receive for myself.
He is always with me. He will never leave.
It’s so easy for me to tell my beautiful little girl this. My little girl that hasn’t experienced trouble or shame. My little girl with all the questions and the tender innocence. She is beautiful. Of course the Lord won’t leave her.
And then there is me. The me with a past. The me with shame. The me with negative thoughts. The me with impatience. The me with selfishness. The me that isn’t grateful. The me that tries to hide from the Father so He won’t see this side of me. But what if I believed what I am teaching my daughter?
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” - Lamentations 3:22-23
I know this truth. I believe this truth. But sometimes I do not LIVE this truth. I’m not sure about you, but more often than not I am subconsciously avoiding the Father’s unconditional love. Consciously, I know His love is good and is all I need. I know there is nothing that can separate me from this love. But in my core I think I am undeserving. I am unworthy. And I do not want to go to Him with all my mess.
Spoiler alert: I am unworthy. You are unworthy.
We’re all sinful, fallen human beings. We have messed up. We have baggage. But… BUT…
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” - 2 Corinthians 5:17
THE OLD IS GONE. That sin. That shame. That baggage. IT IS GONE. Christ died for us so that we may live as NEW creations. It is a disservice to Him and all He did for us if we continue living with the shame of our flesh.
I am unworthy in my flesh, but I AM worthy as a daughter of the King! Just as I see my innocent daughter, beautiful inside and out, the God of the universe sees ME the same way.
As I shared from Lamentations 3:22-23 earlier, the Lord gives us new mercies every morning to wipe us clean so that we can live in FREEDOM. And if we live in that mindset we get to live as the author continues to write in verse 24:
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” - Lamentations 3:24
He is enough for us. He is enough for ME. And If I live in that truth then I get to live with HOPE in Him. I get to live with HOPE for a future instead of shame from the past. Instead of trying to hide from Him with all I am carrying, I get to turn to Him. He has given us the access to turn to Him and to hand Him everything. It isn’t too much for Him. YOU aren’t too much for Him. He will remain faithful to you if you simply call on His name.
Our church released a song a couple of years ago called “Constant”. (See here!) When Anniston was a baby this was one of the few songs that would calm her down in the car when she was upset. The lyrics were engraved on my heart during that time of listening to it over and over again (and again and again haha). I love the beginning lines because they speak to God’s character. There is nothing that can shake Him. Did you hear me? There is NOTHING you can do to shake Him. He will remain constant and in return we have the opportunity to trust Him.
You are constant, You won't change
Through the ages You remain
Our foundation never shaken
There's no mountain You can't move
Every word You say is true
In every moment we will trust You
“Constant” - ACC Worship
I pray you know how much your Father loves you today. I pray you know how much He wants to set you free from the shame you’re living in. I pray you know He will love you regardless.
I always tell Anniston that “Mommy always comes back” and that is a truth of the utmost importance in her little world. But just remember our truth is even better. The Father doesn’t have to come back because the Father will never leave. Trust that and find freedom in that today.