“You coming back”, is the normal response from our youngest daughter when I leave the house – or sometimes just the room. There is a very real fear in our girls that people will leave for good. They survived much of their lives connecting to people and having those people leave them. It’s a normal cycle of connecting and disconnecting and at this point they are understandably afraid that my wife Kelly and I will leave. This is one of the places where we established a kind of mantra in our house.
“I’m heading off to work, love ya.”
“You coming back?”
“Of course I am. Why will I come back?”
With a shrugged shoulder and smile, “Because you love me.”
“Because you love me.” This phrase has been said more than any other in our house in the first four months of our forever family. At first, the girls didn’t like it or believe it, but now there are moments that I think they say it just to hear me say that I love them and want to be with them. There is power in knowing we are loved and our father wants to be with us.
I find myself asking the same questions of people around me. “Will you leave and return?”, “Is it worth connecting to you if this is going to end?”, or just a sense that I’m sick of being alone in a crowd. What a good God we have who sent Christ so that we can be restored to a relationship with our Heavenly Father who is forever with us because he loves us.
As Jesus speaks the words of the Great Commission, I feel overwhelmed and get a sense that “you can’t leave us here to do this impossible task of loving God and people, by making disciples.” But then Jesus ends with these words as he leaves us and ascends to heaven.
“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20
And we know how the story continues. The Holy Spirit arrives and the church is born. Our God is with his broken children to empower them to help the world know what they were created for. And one day our King Jesus returns to restore the world.
Our family mantra, “because I love you,” is just a reflection of the deep love our Father has for us. I’m thankful for a three-year old girl who asks the right question every time I leave, which reminds me of our Immanuel (God with us).