It was my mom's birthday on Sept. 30th. She died 6 months after my wife and I got married in 2005. I miss her a lot :-(. This morning I overheard my wife talking to one of her friends about how well my mom loved me when I was using drugs and alcohol on a regular basis (the full story is in our book, "Purity by Design"). My mom invited me to have dinner with her every Wed. night at Conrad's in Glendale, Ca. She just wanted to connect with me and didn't care if I was high or had been drinking. At that time, I thought, "hey, it's a free dinner." Now I know that she was showing me unconditional love: The Father's Heart.
My parents did an excellent job in raising me. They did the best they could. Parents raise their children the way that they were raised. Nobody gets an instruction manual before your children are born. You just do your best. :-) My mother was no different. I'm proud to say that as my mom received God's love and grew, she began to display The Father's Heart to me after I had moved out of the house---which is what she was doing when she offered me dinner once a week. (She would have spent more time with me but I didn't want it--I was too busy "partying").
So many times we think God loves us the way our parents loved us (sometimes parents abuse us and we think God will do the same if we do anything wrong, at least that's what I thought growing up). But God really does love us unconditionally. Because my mom modeled this, I said "yes" when she invited me to church in La Cresenta, Ca. for an Easter service. Soon after that I got baptized and started to help out at The Victors Circle (a drug and alcohol group) at 'Church On The Way.' This was all because my mother let the Holy Spirit be in charge of "bringing me back" to church and showing me The Father's Heart (and how much He loves us even when we are doing wrong things).
Parents....please don't ever give up on those very precious little ones…even if they are 24 like I was :-)