I was visiting my son, a first time father of a delightful little girl and we had gone to a park to let Mom study. My granddaughter was not a good size for the "baby swing" anymore, but far too small to be on a big swing. I watched my son sit down under a big swing and help her grab the chains and, holding her with both hands around her waist, gently swung her back and forth. He was so gentle, so attentive, so kind to meet her were her abilities intersected with her longing, as he sat there on the damp ground with the bugs. She was filled with delight.
It was a tender picture for a mother to see, but I think it clings to my heart these years later because it was a lovely parable of how I have come to understand God's love for me.
God meets me where I am. God seeks to delight me and encourage me to be all I am ready to be today while encouraging me to continue growing so I will be ready for the days to come. God loves me exactly as I am, nurturing my deep trust as God bears with me, has my best interest at heart, loves me even when I'm fussy or resistant to learning skills that I will need, and God never breaks God's covenant of love and redemption.
As human parents we can never be perfect parents, but our longing to love and tend and guide matches the universal human desire of each child to be loved and protected and to experience home. We are not all parents, but we are all the child longing to be accepted, valued, loved and guided and in so being we get a glimpse of God's plan for us and God's amazing love for us.
It takes my breath away.