A Glimpse of Eternal Love in Earthly Ways
BY: PEYTON JADE GOTTSCHALK
To be honest, over the past month I have started up this piece and deleted literally every word of it more than three times.
I pondered the thought, “What relationship in my life is worth sharing?”
And to be honest I was more so stumped because every relationship I have ever had in my life is vital to the transformation I have gone through to get me to where I am today. Friendships have turned into sisterhood. Enemies have taught me how to love even the tough people. Family members have encouraged me through all the steps of this life. My boyfriend has shown me pure, tangible love.
So where do I begin? How do I pinpoint a single relationship that has shaped me when they all have?
Then my attention was brought to a worship night two years ago when a girl, who was a stranger at the time, (now she is my best friend’s sister-in-law) prayed this statement over me:
“God is both a mother and a father to you.”
This statement had so much weight to it but I couldn’t figure out why it hit me so hard at the time. I remember feeling what seemed like a literal tug on my heart when these words were spoken over me, specifically, out of a crowded house of about 50 people.
Looking back now, I see this statement reminds me of what I have always thought of my mom as being.
I have known my dad my whole life and love him dearly, but I have never lived under his roof or even in the same state as him in my whole 22 years of existence.
Looking all the way back to my first memories, I see my mom filling both roles.
She was the provider. She sacrificed everything and moved away from her whole family to create the best life for her and me. She took me to softball tryouts and played catch in the park and made me work on my swing by pitching a ball to me in the dead heat of summer.
She would cheer me on. She would encourage me to play my best game — even if my best game was picking grass in the outfield. I was not good at softball but I went out there and did it because my mom believed in me. My mom told me I could do it — that I deserved to be on that team.
In the same way, God is sitting there cheering me on and going to all of my games. He went to every cross-country race. He has been through every milestone with me and He still says, “You can do it. You are on my team.”
My mom is also loving. She is nurturing and caring and attentive. She braided my hair and sat through 99% of my dance practices, recitals and competitions. She would sing along to Pink songs on karaoke and dance to Lee Ann Womack or Michael Bublé in the living room with me. She has always been that nurturing mother who let me cuddle up next to her when I was afraid of the dark.
She was setting an example for me to better understand how God was there for me in the dark. Whenever I have been fearful, letting lies creep into my mind, He has been right there beside me to tell me I am beautiful — pointing out who He has made me to be.
I’m pretty sure my mom and the Father discuss points they want to drill into me because they both tell me something along the lines of:
Look how I made you Peyton. Look who I have made you to be. Look at these strong characteristics you have inherited from me. Through how I have equipped you and through the reality of who you are, you can do ANYTHING. I am so proud of who you are and who you are becoming.
My mom has never given up on me. She has never left my side. Not even in those weird angsty teen years where I practiced maximum rebellion and pushed every button I knew she had.
She has been both a mother and a father to me. Always present and always loving.
The craziest part about all of this is that I cannot even begin to wrap my head around the unconditional love my mother has for me. AND to think she is imperfect in this world and cannot measure up to the way the Lord loves me is incomprehensible. There is a God up there who has witnessed literally every single sin and has heard every lie, a God who knows every detail that makes me inadequate… and He still calls me His daughter!!
I am so thankful for a God who gives us relationships that paint pictures of His goodness.
Thank you, God, for being both a Mother and a Father — and for allowing me to catch a glimpse of what Your love for me is really like through my mother.
Peyton is a freelance journalist who strides through every day with a little coffee and a lot of Jesus. If she’s not scribbling away in a journal at a corner café she is probably watercolor painting, baking pastries or exploring new hobbies.