As defined via Wikipedia:
Unconditional love is known as affection without any limitations. This term is sometimes associated with other terms such as true altruism, complete love, or “mother’s/father’s love.” Each area of expertise has a certain way of describing unconditional love, but most will agree that it is that type of love which has no bounds and is unchanging. It is a concept comparable to true love, a term which is more frequently used to describe love between lovers. By contrast, unconditional love is frequently used to describe love between family members, comrades in arms and between others in highly committed relationships. An example of this is a parent’s love for their child; no matter a test score, a life changing decision, an argument, or a strong belief, the amount of love that remains between this bond is seen as unchanging and unconditional.
So many times we throw out the word “love” and I don’t doubt that we mean it. I mean I def LOVE Zaxby’s. I LOVE my friends. I LOVE to travel. I understand that type of love. I “get it.” The type of love, for me, that is harder to understand is unconditional love.
I have had to learn some harsh truths and come to learn that just because someone is “supposed” to love you unconditionally doesn’t mean that they are going to. Unconditional love is such a special gift. It’s much deeper, much greater than the “love” word we toss around so easily. If I had never become a parent I’m not sure if I would have ever had the deep understanding of what unconditional love truly is.
It isn’t a love that you have to earn. It isn’t a love that you can buy. It’s not a love that you can break. It’s unwavering. It’s constant. It’s going to be there for your entire life no matter what. Isn’t that so awesome??? When we lack a source of unconditional love in our lives it is very hurtful and painful. A deep type pain, a void in our hearts that can’t be filled. It’s something that no one can really replace as the regular “love” can’t compare to that of the unconditional form.
I am so blessed to be a mother and to be able to provide this type of love to my children. What I lack in receiving of unconditional love I feel I make up for in pouring that type of love into them. It doesn’t mean that I spoil them. It doesn’t mean that I smother them. It doesn’t mean that our roles are reversed and they “wear the pants” in our home. Loving them unconditionally, like the definition says, simply means that I WILL forever be a constant in their lives. Forever.
While, yes, a mother unconditionally loving her children should be a given. It shouldn’t shock anyone that I love my children in this way. And it also probably is unlikely that anyone reading this who has children is thinking that they struggle in this area. But people do. There are people who, for whatever reason, are unable to love others in an unconditional way. While it is very sad for those who aren’t receiving that love, it’s even more sad for those who are unable to give it.
I am not only blessing my children by loving them unconditionally, but they are also blessing me by allowing me to love them. Through my tougher times lately my love for them has grown immensely. I have blogged before about how I’m not the most natural mother and how even my undying love for my children wasn’t an instant emotion when they were born. I truly grow in love with them more each day and, through my pains, I have loved them in ways I never thought possible. My love for them has not only continued to be unconditional but it is now a selfless kind of love as well. I KNOW, without a single doubt, that I will do anything for them. And I’ve already had to prove that by making some of the most difficult choices of my life. But I make ALL of my decisions with my CHILDREN’S best interest at heart. While such decision making is very tolling on me, I know it’s best for them and it has given me a new confidence as a mother that I didn’t quite have before.
I know that many parents differ in the “small things” in raising our children. Schedules, sleeping methods, feeding methods, discipline, etc. And I’m still totally passionate about why I do what I do as a mom. But I also realize now, more than I did before, that in the end ALL that matters is LOVE. If we unconditionally love our children then we will naturally do what is best for them and we shouldn’t question ourselves or worry that we aren’t “good enough.” Because love is enough! It’s always enough!
I not only have grown as a parent but also in my relationship with God. Knowing what it feels like not to have someone who you love so much (in that unconditional way) not love you in return makes me think a lot about God and how much HE loves us. His love is that unconditional love. For everyone. And think about how heartbroken HE must be all the time when those He loves that deeply choose not to love Him in return. Choose to hurt Him. Choose to turn their backs on Him.
I know that even though I may be missing out on receiving that type of love here on Earth, that I AM receiving it from God. He loves me more than I even can fathom. I think about how much I LOVE my children and how I would do anything for them. He loves me more. I can never repay His love. I do not have to do anything to earn it. It is constant and unwavering. What a blessing it is to have that unconditional love!!!
When we are loved unconditionally, we naturally want to return that love. I think often times Christians get caught up in the “dos and don’ts” of Christianity and don’t focus enough just on that relationship with God. Same with raising kids. We get caught up in the day to day stuff and don’t focus enough on building a strong foundation in our bonds with them. I personally believe that the more we focus just on that love, the more our children will naturally want to obey us. Make us proud. Do what is right. Just as we will with God. When we KNOW God and truly experience His love firsthand and accept His love as ours then we will obey Him. We will walk the path of righteousness. We will take the necessary steps to salvation.
I am a strong believer that everything happens for a reason. In times of trial, there is an opportunity for growth. I am so, so thankful that I am able to love my children unconditionally. They they will ALWAYS have a mother who will put their needs before my own. That they will know I will ALWAYS have their backs. Nothing will cause me to stop loving them. Nothing. I could never, ever cause them pain or hurt. I will always protect them and do the best I can as their mother. Even though I may have some personal pain to deal with, I’m already thankful for it. I’m already able to see the blessings in this time of hardship. I see how I appreciate God’s love in such a new way and how I love my children deeper than I ever thought possible.
So love your babies. Kiss them. Hug them. Hold them tight. You can never love them too much. I want my unconditional love for my children to be a lesson to them in how to love others and for them to want to love their children someday the same way they have known love from me.
Emily, I could have wrote so much of what you did, too. Not having ever spoke to you on a personal level but having read your blog for several years, I have a gut feeling that we share similar backgrounds especially regarding unconditional love.Motherhood didn't come naturally to me. It's work, too. Sometimes I feel like the biggest failure of a mom. I pray so much that my children just know that I love them though there are so many ways that you show me that they do. I know that until they are parents they will never fully understand my love for them. I didn't understand "love" until I became a mom, and it grows every single day. It's a deep love that takes me down to the bones, and it's not changed when they say or do something that hurts me, etc. I am so so so blessed to have them in my life. I think I'm a more loving and nuturing person because of them. I know that I don't take relationships for granted, don't care to have "fake relationships, and have hurt a lot due to relationships that I have in my life that should be different. I have blamed myself and questioned what I have done wrong to cause people that should love me to not love me. I've cried a thousand (maybe a million) tears over these things. I've been consumed with frustration and anger, too. But I have grown, because those relationships so remind me of what I want for my children. What I strive for. They have drawn me closer to the Lord and I value my relationship with Him more than any other one, because I just know it makes my love of others more real and full. I hope that makes sense. It's really kind of nice to be able to share this with somebody who I think gets it. I see so many of my friends have relationships that I have dreamt about having…and I feel lonely. It's been a hard few months. My birthday is always a very hard time for me because of this, too. How about for you?Of course, I have to write that I see other relationships so differently. My relationship with my in laws is not perfect, and I guess I never felt as true family…because of things have happened and sometimes I feel like are happening…but some how I just know (most of the time) that their love for me is like that of what they have for their children. When I loose sight of that I have to force myself back to that truth. Man it's hard. I admire their relationship together, too. There's not a lot of I love yous but when it's spoke it's meant. Anyhow, I'm here if you ever want to chat or vent. Just know that you are an amazing woman and momma. Your love for your family shows in every word that you write. I'm sorry that you've had to endure the path you have but thankful that you have such loving people to lift you up when you're feeling down.
I understand love so much more since I have children. I do not understand how parents struggle with this or just plain do not care to be there for their children. My children are the most important people in my life. I feel so blessed. Thank you, Lord!