How Can You REALLY Learn About God?
I think I've learned more about God by being a parent more than anything else in my life. I was born to an alcoholic mother and a workaholic father both of whom died before I was 21. Having to practically raise myself, and then finally having children at 27, I've learned a lot about the subject of parenting.
As a child, I only have a few good memories of my mother rocking me in the mornings before the liquor took over her body since she drank as soon as she awoke. I remember snuggling up to her on the couch, first thing in the morning as I got older during my weekend visits. I knew I only had a short period of time before the 'drunk mother' took over and I couldn't talk or reason with her any longer. I cherished every moment I could get with her when she was sober. As far as my father, I became a 'daddy's girl' very early in life. I remember plopping myself down on his foot and sitting on it, grabbing onto his calf as tightly as I could before he left the house for work. I figured that if I sat there and held on hard enough, he couldn't leave me. It never worked of course. He would walk a few steps with my holding on with everything I had and it would always make me laugh. He always left for work and he always came home late. They divorced when I was 7 and he instantly remarried a horrible, vindictive woman who verbally abused me throughout their nine years of marriage. I grew up longing for both of my parents love, only to find that both of them loved something or someone else and I was an 'afterthought'. I would sit at my mother's feet and look up at her and beg her to stop drinking. I would tell her of the stories of my stepmother and how she treated me. My mothers' only reply was that she couldn't stop drinking and she would drink until the day she died. And she did exactly that. She died at the age of 52 from liver failure. I never knew what it was like to have a mother to go shopping with or take advice from or cook together. I never had a mother - period.
As far as my father, I remember the few times we did have together were warm and loving. I cherished the times he would let me sit in his lap and hold me. Nothing in life felt better than the security of his arms around me. Those were the times I cherished more than anything else in life. Then, there were times he would put me on his shoulders and walk around the house with me. I would have to 'duck' to get through the doorways and that was always fun. But, like my mother, when I would tell him how miserable I was with his marriage to my stepmother, he would just assure me that things would change and I would be okay. I grew up feeling that I was an 'accident' and no one really cared.
When I became a parent at the age of 27, I was surprised to learn that I could actually be a 'good' mother and somehow I knew what it took to be a parent. I had lived a very 'wild' life and people who knew me figured I would never have children because that just wasn't the type of person I was. However,from the moment they were born, I had an 'unconditional' love for my children and a 'protective' sense in me that was instinctive. I learned that I would give my life for them without a second thought. I would fight anyone to the death for them and take up for them at any cost. I didn't even know I had that quality in me until they were born. I had a son at the age of 27 and a set of twin girls at the age of 31. One twin daughter was stillborn and my heart aches for her every day of my life.
As I write this, my children are now 25 and 21 and no longer live at home. Over the years, as they have grown up, I've learned that when I have a question about God and Who He is, I can look within myself for the answers. I've learned that God gave us the ability to have children so that we could understand Him and His love for us. I've learned that the 'unconditional love' that is in my heart instinctively was put there by Him because He IS that love.
If you are reading this and you are a parent, you understand what I am talking about when I speak of this 'unconditional love'. When you have children, it changes you from the inside out. You learn to love in a way you never knew you could love before. As your children grow and learn the word 'no' you don't like disciplining them and seeing them cry, but you know that they will learn from their mistakes. If your toddler insists on touching a hot stove after you have screamed 'no' at them, you finally allow them to touch it, even though you know it will burn them. You know once they touch it, they will never do it twice. It may hurt and there will be a scar left behind, but they have learned what NOT to do by experience. As they grow and become teenagers and have a mind of their own, and refuse to obey, they learn lessons as we watch the reprocussions of their choices, all the while wishing they would have just listened to us in the first place so they wouldn't have to suffer. And even though they might make decisions that shock us and disappoint us to our very core, we love them despite their actions and will always come to their defense and assure them of our love.
Your parents created your physical body, but God in Heaven, is your REAL 'parent'. When your body dies and decays into the ground, your spirit will live forever. Your body is simply the 'car' in which God gave you to get around with on this earth as we go through the 'school of hard knocks', as they say. But just as your children, as they grow, ask you about life and you give them advice, we only need to ask God on a minute by minute basis, of how to get through these hard times. We can choose to take His advice or choose our own way and learn through experience and sometimes suffer the consequences of those decisions. Rest assured, that even though you might make the wrong decision time after time, God doesn't stop loving you just as you don't stop loving your own children. He will always be there for you, taking you back and holding you and healing you and setting you on the right path again. His love is permanent and unconditional just as your love is for your children. When you wonder about the character of God, look within yourself and within that...you will find faith and know you ARE loved!