Hey Jealousy

I recently picked K up from a friend’s house, practically had to drag her from the premises.

“Her house is so fun. I wish I lived at her house,” announced K.

“I know,” I said evenly. It’s not the first time she’s said something like this, and I don’t blame her. Other people’s houses always seem like more fun: new toys, new snacks, no clean up, no homework. I bet even I’m fun like that to their friends–I know, maybe sadly, that I’m on my best no cranky, no temper behavior when their friends are over.

But then she continued: “I wish she was my mom.”

My heart ripped in two, and despite all those logical reasons listed above, a jealousy rose in the gap. How could she want someone else? Hadn’t I given up everything to be there for her and her brother? Hadn’t I offered them all that they needed, and most of what they wanted? Hadn’t it been I who took her over there in the first place?

I spent the rest of the night in a miserable depression, unsure of where I’d gone wrong. Slowly the pain passed. I accepted her feelings, and she made a remarkable effort to understand mine. I also considered the other mom (of course, it had to be that mom) and how present she was for her kids, and it spurred me to be extra present for my kids. Good things rose from the incident.

But several weeks later, I’m finally understanding the best thing about it: in that moment, I had a glimpse of God.

“Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” (Exodus 34:14)

God has given us everything–including grace, the Holy Spirit, and His only son–and yet how often are we enticed by the world? How often do we wonder what it would be like to live another’s life? When I think of how my heart broke, I understand in a very small sense, what God must feel when we put other things before Him. The jealous nature of God suddenly doesn’t seem so menacing, but rather so full of love for us, as I am for my daughter. No matter the excuses for her feelings and my reactions, at the very base of them lies a love so unspeakably strong that anything in the middle of it feels like a rending of my soul.

This is the love of Christ for us.

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