As a child, teen, and younger adult I often struggled with fearful thoughts about my faith. I never doubted who God was or what Jesus had done, but rather I doubted my own performance. I grew up in a pretty legalistic tradition and had a lot of trouble understanding how I could be a person who claimed to love God and also make mistakes.
God has been healing this part of me for many years, and in recent years Lily has been such a gift of grace to me. Because now I understand--there is nothing she could ever do to change the way I feel about her, because she belongs to me. No matter how "good" she is, no matter how "bad" she is, even if, heaven forbid, she one day chooses to walk away from me for a season, nothing can ever change the fact that she is my child.
I do have to set limits for her and discipline her, because I love her way too much to let her grow up to be a disastrous adult. I also love her too much to rescue her from every hard thing, because I want her to grow into a confident adult who can handle hardships with wisdom. But even in the hard times, nothing can make me love her more or less. And in the hardest times I'm right there watching, ready to pick her up if she falls, even if she doesn't see me.
I knew her before she was born, and I gave her the name Lily. No matter how she grows and changes, I will never struggle with remembering who she is or believing in the good she has inside her.
Before I was pregnant with her I worried I'd be absolutely consumed by anxiety for the rest of my life. But by some miracle, instead she's brought me a great deal of freedom. Because now I understand, on the tiniest human scale, how God feels about His children.
I don't know how you are today, but I do know 2020 has been dang hard. Some schools are starting back today ( Or soon? Or after Labor Day? Or not at all???) and I know it is a VERY hard and scary day for some people. And those feelings are 1000% valid. This feels hard because it is hard. We're not fair to ourselves if we tell ourselves otherwise. There's a lot I don't know about right now, but I do know this--the way God loves his children has not and will not change. And He's right there waiting to pick us up when we fall.
But now, this is what the LORD says--he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: "Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. Isaiah 43:1 NIV