For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
It was the most beautiful moment of my life.
My daughter, Eliana Drew Peterson, was born on August 20, 2013. Ellie was a brown-haired, brown-eyed, content, beautiful baby girl. My wife and I were absolutely ecstatic to have her.
In order to commemorate the moment, my wife scheduled the three of us to get professional pictures done within the first ten days of her being born. They were going to be her newborn pictures.
What I failed to realize was babies are often naked in their newborn pictures. Which wasn’t a big deal…
We were set to take a family picture together while I held Ellie. I guess my daughter was just relaxed in the hands of her daddy. So she proceeded to “relieve” herself all over my nice shirt.
And it wasn’t #1.
Not a good start to the picture day.
After some serious scrubbing and cleaning to get the brown tinge out of my black shirt, we were set to take some more pictures. My wife took Ellie and did a few shots of just the two of them. The two of them together is too much beauty to handle!
Then the photographer says, “Daddy, you’re up next!”
By this point, I was sure that Ellie and I were good to go. Intestines were cleared. No more relieving herself on daddy like she had 15 minutes ago.
I was wrong.
As soon as Ellie was placed in my arms, she proceeded to relax herself in daddy’s presence by clearing her bowels again all over my arm and recently cleaned shirt.
Now, if anyone else’s child had done this to me, I probably wouldn’t be the first in line to hold them a third time. Human excrement on me isn’t my favorite thing in life.
But, even though we had two uncomfortable scenes together, I picked her up again.
Not because I like to live on the “wild-side,” but because I am so in love with my daughter.
It’s a strange feeling. She doesn’t offer anything to my wife and me. She doesn’t bring in any income, or wash the dishes, or pick up her room, or do any chores.
But, I am so in love with her.
In the same way that I am absolutely in love with my daughter, regardless of her abilities, inabilities, achievements, or even when she makes my life stinkier (literally), God’s love for us is infinitely more than that kind of love that I have for Ellie.
God is so in love with YOU. Not because of your abilities, not because of your achievements, not because of what you offer Him, but because you are HIS CHILD. You are HIS.
When we realize that God’s love for us isn’t based on our performance, or how many times we have crapped on God (I’ve done my share), we are free to receive his free gift of unearned love and grace that brings joy and freedom.
Not because of anything we’ve done, but based on the simple fact that we are His.
Stop living in condemnation because of what you can and can’t do. We can never measure up to the holiness of God.
But take HOPE because of what Jesus did on the cross for you.
When we place our hope in Jesus, we are now adopted into the family of a God who is SO in love with us.
God so loves you because you are His.