Today, I remember the message that my late mother-in-law, Kandy, shared with those around her: the Father's love.
I grew up with an angry father and an angry God. I can show you years' worth of journals filled with prayers of self-deprecation. I hated myself. I hated my unworthiness. I hated my wretchedness, my sinfulness. Jesus' sacrifice did not comfort me. It made me feel worse. The idea that a good man had to die so that an angry God would not punish me was horrifying. So, for a long time, my faith was a life of terror.
The gospel according to Kandy was very different. She was the first person to tell me that God's wrath is a lie. She told me that the Father does not hate me, he does not think I'm wretched, and he loves me. She said that the enemy wants us to believe that God hates us. She said Jesus came to show us that God is not angry. Jesus came to show us that the Father wants to draw near to us, that he wants his kingdom here with us.
Today, in response to Easter, I remember that Jesus drew near to the imperfect and the Father was in him. I remember that Jesus served all people, despite their beliefs or lifestyles. I remember that the love Jesus gave was the love that the Father has for all of us. I remember that Jesus rescued me from the lie that God is angry with us.
God didn't send his "only begotten Son" because he was angry. The verse says he sent him because he loved us so much.
Because when God sent Adam and Eve out of the garden, the story should have ended. But it didn't because God didn't banish them.
He went with them.
I love you, Kandy. I miss you so much.