What Is Unconditional Love?
What does it mean to have unconditional love? Jennie Allen discusses the love she's learned through parenting and adoption.
Questions for Discussion and Personal Reflection
- How would it change your behavior if you knew that you'd be loved because of who you are, not what you do?
- How might your perspective on love change if you thought of love as a decision rather than a feeling?
You know, I thought when I had children, um, biologically that now I finally had a glimpse more deeply into God and how he love us unconditionally. And then I think it all changed for me when we adopted our son. And we went over to Rwanda to get him, and I'd never seen him before, but he was already ours. And so when I meet him, I could not believe the commitment that I felt toward that boy. And he did not love me at first. In fact, he pushed me away, and I'll be honest, like, it hurt me that he didn't love me the way that I already loved him. And yet, I was so determined to get that boy, put his eyes right into mine, and, and to make him believe that I loved him so much, and that I was his mother, and he was mine whether he treated me right or not. And so I think I learned something about God in that because we all live in a world where everything is about measuring up, and everything is about how we perform and how we treat each other, and it is so easy to lose favor with people. It is so easy to lose grace, and so it's almost impossible to imagine that I cannot do enough wrong, and cause enough hurt to God, and reject him enough to make him quit loving me. I can't imagine that that's possible and I think I've fought it forever and now that I have this boy that is pushing me away, even physically hurting me at times, and yet I am after him. Like, I am committed that, that I will love him and I will make him mine, and I will wrap him up and he will know I am his mom and that I'm not going anywhere. And so, you know, every day I take him and we go get Fanta slushes because he loves Fanta. He's from Africa, and Fanta's a big deal there. And so we go every day, and we go get Fanta slushes, and I'm doing everything I can to speak this boy's language to make him see that I adore him, and yet he just keeps pushing me away and keeps pushing me away. You know, I think that this idea that love is supposed to feel right, it's an emotion, whatever. It is a commitment, it is a decision that you say, "You know, no matter what you do to me, I am in. You can treat me anyway and I am in, and I'm not going to quit pursuing you, and I'm not going to quit loving you, and I'm not going to quit sacrificing for you." And you know, it's been two years, and I'm still sacrificing for that little boy, and I've never, ever, ever imagined that he would steal my heart the way that he has. I'm in love with him. He is my son. I feel like when I look at him, um, he was built for me. He may as well have come out of me because he's my son, and, and I feel I feel that when I look at him.