My daughter Lucy is a classic middle child. She feels that the other kids get more love, attention and stuff.
Her older brother, Jack, has a cellphone. Why can’t she have one? Her younger sister, Iris, has to eat only three bites of broccoli. Why does she have to eat all of her broccoli, stalks included?
Lucy struggles to understand that her dad and I always try to be fair toward our children, but that does not mean everything will always be equal. Sometimes I fear that Lucy sees the inequalities between herself and her siblings as an inequality of love. Little does she know or yet understand how deeply I have loved, cared and prayed for her.
Around the age of 2, Lucy developed chronic allergies and congestion. She snored so ferociously at night that she was fatigued all day. The pediatrician hoped she would grow out of it, but by age 5 Lucy was still battling this chronic illness.
Eventually our little daughter was scheduled to have her adenoids and tonsils removed. On the day of her surgery, my husband and I were nervous wrecks. We played it cool to keep Lucy calm, but when the pre-op nurses wheeled my tiny girl away, I cried.
I could not help worrying that she would be one of the very few children with complications from anesthesia, or the surgeon would make a terrible mistake during the operation.
I have never loved one of my children so deeply. I longed for her care and well-being. I had to face the reality that although rare, something could go wrong and there was nothing I could do about it.
Thanks be to God the surgery was a success. We took our little daughter home from the hospital and showered her with love and attention. During her recovery, she ate nothing but slushies, ice cream and ice pops. I wrapped her in a blanket and pushed her in a baby stroller for long walks, so she could get some sun. To aid her convalescence, we lavished her with love.
I believe God loves us in the same way. He loves us most in the moments of our suffering. He is right by our side, holding us in his presence, pouring out care and compassion, fearing he might lose us to despair. We might not receive God’s love the way we want it.
We may not receive God’s love the way we see others receiving love. But his love is always present, pure, strong and true.
I love all three of my beautiful children; they are the greatest gifts God has ever given me. Yet my love is strongest in their suffering when it is all I have to give.
Sonya Salazar is one of The Star’s Faith Walk writers. To reach her, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.