“I love you,” I told my daughter.
“I love you more,” she giggled.
“I love you most!” I responded wryly.
I’m sure many of you know the game. We have played it repeatedly in our house, always trying to outdo one another with our love.
Until one day…
As we were driving down the road, we began the exchange. When it came to a close, I responded with, “No you don’t.”
With surprise and indignation in her voice, she began to question me about my statement.
“Sweetheart, God loves you more than I ever could,” I said. “And, God loves me more than you ever could.”
“Well, then I love you fourth mostest,” she responded.
“Fourth mostest?” I responded quizzically. “How do you get fourth mostest?”
“God is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—three people,” my eight year old, too smart for her own good daughter responded. “So, I can only love you fourth mostest!”
With a laugh, our game was forever changed. Today, every morning we rush to see who can say, “I love you fourth mostest” first. I find it scrawled across my mirror, written on sticky notes. There are rules surrounding this game—and it seems new rules appear all the time. Text messages don’t count—unless she says they do. You can say it first in the morning, but you can also win by saying it in prayer.
While our little game has become an integral part of our daily lives, this week I have found an even deeper meaning to it. You see, we are facing some challenges right now. Our hearts are breaking as we are forced into a situation none of us wants. A couple of nights ago, I found myself in bed with a child on either side of me. They were pouring out their hearts to me—complete with pain and fear about an upcoming situation. They want to run from it, but we are stuck with no way out.
I have found myself crying out to God, begging Him to change the situation. Maybe He will intervene. Maybe He has a greater plan that I can’t see in my humanity. But, I’ve committed to praying through this situation. As I daily pray a hedge of protection around our home and my children, I beg God to do something amazing. I ask Him to carry us through this time of hurt and pain and use it for our good and His glory.
I have spent more than enough time worrying and fretting. I have spent countless hours praying. Interestingly, just two days ago it hit me: I only love my children fourth mostest!
My love for my children is beyond measure. I don’t think there is a love that can come close to comparing to the love a parent has for a child. But, then I realize that my love for my children—as deep as it may be—does not even begin to compare to the love my Savior has for my children. And with that realization, I must trust Him.
God does not want my children to hurt. He does not want them to experience pain or rejection. He wants them to live the abundant life! He wants them to experience the joy of a relationship with their Savior. He wants them to know the height and depth and width of His love. He wants them to know that nothing can separate them from the love of their Savior.
And because of His love for my children, I must reach a place of releasing my children to Him. I must trust Him as they walk into the unknown without me. I must trust that He sees the future and He knows what He’s up to. I know I certainly don’t!
While I want to protect my children, the safest place for them is in the hands of their Savior—the One who loves them far more than I can even imagine. While I continue to pray for their safety, their healing, their strength, I must allow my Savior to wrap His arms around them and do what is best for them and me. I may not fully understand, but I’m learning that God is never still. He is always at work weaving the moments of our lives into something bigger and better than we can imagine.
I recently purchased a wall hanging. It says, “When you can’t see God’s hand, trust His heart.” I can’t see what God is doing here, but I know His heart.
And it is good.