By Jessica Chodaczek
Recently a colleague and I were discussing life and faith, and she said, “Jess, you have such peace about you. That is something that I want.” This got me thinking. I’m not going to lie - Deep joy and peace are not strangers in my life.
Because my life is perfect? Not even close.
Because my child is perfect? She’s a sweet kid, but join us for bedtime or trying to get out the door on any given morning – she is anything but angelic!
Because I have no worries/fears/struggles? Please! I am just as anxiety filled as the rest of the world, trust me.
It’s not an absence of difficult things in my life
It’s the awareness of whose I am. I am God’s, and His love for me is without measure, unfailing, and complete. Quite simply, there is nothing that happens in my day or my life that can overshadow or take away God’s love for me. Nothing.
Trust me, though, it has not always been this clear-cut for me. I have grown in my understanding of God’s love for me a lot over the past few years, particularly through my daughter and the years leading up to her birth.
When we got married nearly 10 years ago, my husband and I were were both open to children and naturally assumed we would have at least a few. For me, a house full of 4 or 5 kids was my dream. We were open to life, and have been ever since. But the journey to parenthood was paved with more hardship than we could ever have envisioned back then. As a year or two of trying turned into four and five, the journey of infertility got harder and harder. The only word to sum it up was longing.
I so longed to have a child in my arms, to cuddle and teach and love.
In today’s Gospel reading, I hear that same longing in Jesus’ words. He longed for us to know the Father, and to know how much the Father loves us. God longs for our hearts, fully and completely. I understand that longing a little bit better having gone through the difficult journey of infertility. I am tremendously grateful that I now also understand the love of a parent for a child.
Our greatest dream was fulfilled on August 16th, 2013 when Teresa Claire was born, and suddenly my arms were full. Holding her for the first time was an experience beyond words. Cliché, but true. So true.
She brings so much joy to our life every day, but a particularly touching moment happened last night as I sat “crisscross applesauce” with Teresa curled up in my lap. We were reading “One Day in the Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus Tree” when she turned and threw her arms around my neck and said, “Mom, I’m so happy to be home with you.” She gave me a big kiss on the cheek and let me tell you, my heart melted. And I thought to myself,
“This love I have for her is only a glimmer compared to the love that God has for both of us.”
God’s love for me and his desire for me to know that love is so much more than my desire to have a child, so much more than any earthly desire. And the love that I have for my daughter (which is immense) is tiny compared to the love that God has for me.
So, I rejoice. I find peace and joy in the knowledge that I am loved, no matter what. There is no earthly struggle than can overshadow that love. It is the foundation of my life, and it enables me to (most of the time) keep things in perspective.
And guess what? You are enough.
You are loved. Right here, right now, this very minute. You are loved amidst all of your struggles, worries, fears, and burdens. God longs for your heart more deeply than you can imagine.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jessica is a wife, mom, theology lover, and Realtor. She and her husband Chris have been married for nearly 10 years, and they have a 3-yr-old named Teresa, who continually cracks them up. Jessica works for LoFaso Real Estate, and her prior jobs included teaching Theology at Beaumont School as well as youth ministry. She is a leap year baby and proudly capitalizes on the fact that she's only "8 years old." Her house is overflowing with books, she's a little addicted to Facebook, and she is almost always found laughing.