There are some days when parenting seems like one continuous fail. Other times, we catch glimpses of a job well done.
Our oldest son is on the cusp of adolescence; during these transitional “tween” years my husband and I are learning to take deep breaths and nod empathetically. We lean in for hugs, offer a listening ear, provide space, and sometimes chuckle under our breath. Most days I spend walking a tight line between taking things in stride and putting my foot down.
One night after tucking him into bed (he still lets me do that), I collapsed in a chair, certain I’d failed him. Later when I went up to bed I saw this handwritten note on our dresser:
Reassuring words keep us going. Perhaps they are written in a note from your kid or an encouraging text from your spouse. It could be a handwritten note from a friend that appears in your mailbox. However the message arrives, it’s nice to receive an encouraging word when you’re struggling.
Here are a few love notes our Heavenly Father wants us to remember when times get difficult.
- Jesus walks with you in the storm (Matthew 14: 13-36). One of Jesus first miracles involved five loaves, two fish, and 5,000 hungry people. He fed the crowds with that small lunch. A miracle moment! Then Jesus immediately (verse 22) made His disciples board a boat while He went up to the mountain to pray. Within a short time they move from a miracle moment to stormy weather. Yet when the disciples looked out onto the sea, they saw Jesus walking toward them. The same Jesus who was with them during the miracle was now present with them in the storm. This promise was true for the disciples two thousand years ago, and it’s true for you today.
- Jesus will not leave you alone (Matthew 28:18-20). Jesus’ triumphant rise from the grave was soon followed by His ascent into Heaven. His followers, wondering what life would be like without Him, were quickly comforted. Jesus not only gave them authority to spread the good news but also promised He would be by their side until the end of time. Hebrews 13:5 also reminds us God will “never leave you [or] forsake you.”
- Jesus does not condemn you (John 8:1-11). When the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery to Jesus, they hoped to not only trap him in a moral dilemma, but also stone her for her sinful act. Jesus knew of their plan and instead turned this public shaming into a teachable moment. When Jesus asked all sinless people to step forward with a stone, the crowd dispersed. Jesus didn’t condemn the woman, but loved her enough to give her a proactive command: leave your life of sin. He saved her from the physical and spiritual stoning she deserved, and He did the same for us. This grace allows us to move forward into a life free from sinful behaviors that trip us up.
- Jesus sees you (John 4). The Samaritan woman who visited the well during the hottest part of the day had one goal besides gathering water: avoid being seen. Yet Jesus was waiting for her when she showed up. He saw her, engaged her in conversation, and told her details of her life only her Heavenly Father would have known. He saw her heart and loved her anyway. His patience compelled her to tell others about Him, forever changing her heart.
- Jesus provides rest (John 11:28-30). For those worn out by unattainable standards, Jesus offers grace. To the imprisoned he gives freedom. The broken and weary seeking encouragement will find it. Just as Jesus is the Bread of Life and Living Water, He’s also the feather bed for those who need a good nap. He promises to gently guide and teach us when we feel worn down. After all, the weight of the world should never be on our shoulders, since Jesus carried that burden for us all on the cross.
These are only five love notes out of thousands that God has written to us in His word. May you be encouraged as you continually discover the depth of His love.