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Monday, January 18, 2010

"I Love You...No Matter What"

Almost daily I have to physically restrain my son. It is a physical battle to change his diaper and clean his body. Many times while cleaning and changing him I have been kicked in the face, bitten, smacked, clawed, or hit with flying objects. It is not all that uncommon to come away from a cleanup with a bloody lip or a new scratch.

Jake is the size of a small man now…and stronger than most full sized men. It takes at least two people to bathe him—one to hold him down, the other to scrub. My wife and I (and now my biggest teenage son) have developed a system of strength in numbers as we attempt to get in, get the job done, and get out without too much damage.

I must confess that on many mornings I leave Jake’s room dejected, hurt and emotionally drained. And many nights I find myself restraining the violent resistance of a struggling boy by wrapping him in my arms against his will and gently whispering, “I love you. I love you. I love you…no matter what.”

Most children are relational and have the ability to reciprocate affection. But what happens when the child cannot communicate love? How does the relationship between parent and child grow and thrive when the child is not relational? What bonds parent and child together when the child does not share in the affection? How do you care for someone that resists your care with violence and opposes your very presence even when your presence is for his good?

The only possible way to make any sense of this kind of relationship is to experience it through the truly unconditional love of God the Father. As I reflect on my seemingly one sided relationship with my son, I am forced to see how it is sometimes a portrait of my own relationship with God.

In the defiance of my son to be loved, cared for and washed clean, I am shown a portrait of the cross. The one-sided violence of love reveals a blurred vision of my own redemption, as a bloody, beaten, crucified Savior wraps me in His arms, subdues me with His affection and whispers in my ear, “I love you. I love you. I love you…no matter what.”

14 comments:

  1. We adopted three girls and it seems the older two are throwing away what we have to offer. The oldest one, after attacking two male teachers, was placed in a pediatric psychiatric facility from which she's been AWOL for the last 10 mos. We get an occassional phone call from her and she's got the life style you would suppose a girl on the street would have.

    The second girl vascilates between wanting to run away and join her older sister and calming down and trying to be a member of the family.

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  2. I'm in tears. Thank you for putting such a powerful event into perspective. God bless you and your family!

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  3. Very beautiful.
    Very true.
    God bless you & your family, bro!

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  4. Thank you Greg. I am forwarding this on to my husband.The male perspective is often silent but so valuable as our kids reach puberty. Our son is 15 on the spectrum and it is woe so different than when he was a toddler.Onward and upward though thanks to the Word and our faith.
    Bless you and yours

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  6. Thank you, Greg, for this unforgettable insight into the love of God.

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  7. This is the most beautiful story I have heard in a long time. It works in me a deep thankfulness to my Father.

    Thank you, brother.

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  8. I was asking myself this morning what it means to love your neighbor and I found your post from Justin Taylor. Thank you for sharing this element of your life with us and pointing us toward Christ.

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  9. Greg, thank you for forwarding me this post. It is just what I needed at this moment. I see the Spirit working so clearly in you . . . it takes my breath away. Thank you.

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  10. I use these words often with my children that reject every ounce of love I give. I teach them that love is a choice, and nothing they do can make me change my mind. You have a beautiful outlook. It lifts me up.

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  11. Thank you for sharing what God is doing in your life. I thank Him for this beautiful text that maked me cry a lot remembering of my nephew and of my Savior. My pray is that God may use these words to touch and change lifes around the world for His own glory. Hugs from Brazil.

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