from Rachel: The Importance of Loving Parents

Would you describe yourself as having been filled with the knowledge of God’s love for you? Why or why not?

“Yes, I’m sure largely this is easier for me than for some because I grew up with parents who were so grateful to have me and so proud of me and so open about how much they loved me. I am very blessed!”

They [mess] you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

Philip Larkin, This Be The Verse

And yet, it doesn’t have to be, Mr. Larkin.

We were both blessed, weren’t we, dearest? So many folks have so much trouble with understanding and recognizing God’s love, especially when they have gone lacking in their home situation. After all, what’s the first thing in the Lord’s Prayer but “Our Father…”? We are driven to put our earthly fathers in that template when trying to understand what God is like, and how He relates to us. Without a properly loving, caring earthly father to serve as an example, how does that color how we see God Himself?

Your parents, of course, married late in life, and were both in their forties when you were born. Of course they were grateful, as they were trying hard to have a child before the window closed on them. And they made sure you knew how much you were wanted. So you were always aware that you were loved. All of which allowed you to understand God’s love for you so much more easily.

It was almost that much more obvious in my case. As an adoptee, I was (well, still am) a living, breathing allegory of what God does for each of us. Mom and Dad made it abundantly clear right from the start how I came to them, and that there was nothing wrong with that. As I grew older, I was always amazed at how certain cultures stigmatized adoption, as though the child was unwanted by the birth parents. The focus should have been – as it was in my parents’ case – about the opposite side of the story, how Mom and Dad wanted me. Indeed, their bedtime story book for me and my sister was one called “The Chosen Baby,” about a couple essentially picking out their child for adoption (It was how they learned I could read, as I realized they were reading my name, but I pointed out that the book had a different name for the baby boy).

We both had wonderful parents who loved each other and loved us. And it made it so easy for us to understand the love our heavenly Father has for us.

Now, I’m not going to try to pat either of us on the back, but while we were not trying to have Daniel – and really didn’t start out with any expectations of having children at all – we tried our best to let him know how much he was loved in turn. And I really think we did fairly well, especially once he started to make friends at Harper College, and discovered what his friends’ home lives were like (and they, in turn, discovered ours). Logan, in particular, has described our home as ‘welcoming,’ both while you were around and in the days since, and I hope to continue that going forward.

After all, we need to ensure that Daniel knows he is loved, too. Both by us, and by his Father in heaven.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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