‘Reckless Love’ by Cory Asbury is a song that seems to serendipitously surprise me at the right moment, randomly playing on the radio like an anthem I desperately need. It began about a year ago, and I immediately had this overwhelming confidence that God wanted me to pay attention to this song and its meaning.
Like I’m sure many of you do, I struggle with the weight of God’s “overwhelming, neverending, reckless love.” I don’t doubt it, but it’s difficult for me to accept this vast kind of love that I cannot earn and definitely don’t deserve. Surely my mistakes and misgivings chip away at this supposed unconditional love, right? Despite my uncertainty there was this nudge to breathe in the song each time it played. In conversation with my husband I referred to it as ‘my song.’ But what was the purpose?
The purpose wasn’t clear to me until last week. It was a Thursday morning, a tough Thursday morning. We hadn’t left the house in two days, and I was beginning to feel like a failure. The house was a mess, we had been staying in our pajamas, and I was feeling run down from a week of accruing sleep debt.
I was desperate to get the kids and myself out of the house, but inclement winter weather and a semi-rigid baby nap schedule made our opportunities slim to seize. I began to brainstorm. What was something quick and easy we could manage this manic morning, bonus points if we could all stay in our pajamas? The Dunkin’ Donuts drive thru! The possibility of an extra dose of caffeine was just icing on the sprinkle donut. My two year old would be ecstatic, we rarely ever indulge in such a treat.
He refused. What?! Like who refuses a donut? He insisted he wanted to stay home, again. While I was flattered we’ve managed to make our home such a sanctuary to him, it was starting to feel to me more like house arrest. But I wasn’t about to fight him on behalf of a guilty pleasure, so we stayed home and did art instead.
Later, during that impossibly tight window between lunch and nap I tried my hand at fate once more. I felt like Anna trying to persuade Elsa, “Do you wanna get a donuttttttt?” “Um, sure. Let’s do it,” he replied nonchalantly. Great. Let’s get the baby in his carseat and bust outta here.
My toddler began whining for a snack before we left the garage.
“Buddy, it’s a two minute drive to Dunkin’ Donuts.”
“I want a snaaaaaaaack!”
“Um, okay, here’s some goldfish.”
I lost my patience. Did I mention we hadn’t backed out the garage yet? “If you keep whining I’m going to buy myself a donut and you won’t get anything!” I didn’t-quite-but-basically-yelled. The SUV was quiet, but it was far from peace and quiet. I’ve never been one to use threats, and the wave of guilt knocked me down immediately.
Wanting a musical escape, I turned on the radio for our quick commute. My song. I couldn’t believe it. I turned it up a little louder. After a morning of feeling like a total loser I needed that message with incredible urgency. More than that, my precious little boy needed the message that unconditional love “chases (him) down, fights ‘til (he’s) found, leaves the ninety-nine.”
“Don’t deserve it,” I heard my two year old repeat. Hmmm…he doesn’t usually pay attention to song lyrics. He said something else that I couldn’t hear.
“What was that, honey?”
“I was sad and this song made me feel better.” His voice was sweet and pensive.
“I like this song too.”
“I love it.”
There was the nudge. Have I ever talked to my son about God’s love? Did he fully know about my unconditional love for him?
“You know hun, this song is about how God loves us no matter what, even if we’re angry or sad or tired or cranky. He still loves us. And even though I might get frustrated sometimes, I love you no matter what. I’m sorry you were feeling sad. I love you so much.”
And my beautiful boy, so wise beyond his two years, nodded his head and smiled.
“We’re at the donut place!”
And we were. In the two minutes it took to reach our destination, I was able to disciple to my child in a meaningful way. It was one of the most precious, fulfilling, purpose-driven moments of my life.
It turned out it wasn’t coffee and a donut we needed to turn that day around (though don’t get me wrong, they certainly helped), it was Reckless Love.