When I was younger I always wanted to know just how much my parents loved me. The best re-assurance of my father's love for me was his statement that he would die for me. I would then push him further with different scenarios. Growing up in a Christian home meant denying Christ as your Savior was a straight path to hell. So this was the area I would test my father to find out just how much he actually loved me.

The best time to interrogate ask my father how much he loved me was while we were driving on the Riverside freeway coming from or going to church. Depending on what year it was we were either in a blue Nova or in his pick up truck. If in the pick up truck I would be sitting beside him with the gear shift at my knees or on the floorboard under the glove box if my sister happened to win the 'I sit by Daddy' competition we had every Sunday. Regardless of where I was sitting or which vehicle we were in the quest for knowledge that my dad loved me started the same.

"Daddy how much do you love me?"

"So much."

"But how much?"

"I would give up my life for you just like Christ gave his life for all of us."

"If we were all in a prison in China (the Red Army was terrifying for a little girl in the 70's) and they said I was going to be killed what would you do?"

"I would say kill me instead."

"What if they said we had to say we didn't believe in God what would you do Daddy?"

"I would not be able to say that because I believe in God and His Son Jesus Christ."

(The picture in my mind is still the same as it was when I was younger. All five of us are standing in a cellar type room with wet dripping walls wearing Little House on the Prairie dresses and men in navy blue pajamas are standing around us wearing the hats they use to gather rice in.)

And here came the loaded question:
"What if they said they would kill me if you didn't say you don't believe in God?"

"Then I would pray to God that I never would have to make that choice. Did you know they can’t have Bibles in China? They barely have enough rice to eat. We need to pray for the people of China that they will be able to hear the Gospel."

My mom would join in the conversation telling us stories of missionaries and their hardships. My dad would be off the hook.

Jump ahead thirty years to my life now. I feel the same way about my own daughter. I would take a bullet, a train, a car, a sword, a fire, you name it and I would try and save her from it even if I would lose me life in the process. I would have my head whacked off if it would save her life. (the present day equivalent to the Chinese Red Army)

My daughter does not grill me about how much I love her, not like I did my family. I have told her from day one how much I love her and would protect and care for her forever and ever. In fact, I am the one who quizzes her about how much she loves me. Those times when I want her re-assurance of her love for me she puts her arms out as far as they go and says, "this much Mommy" or blows me off with a 'you are bugging me' look. When we hear this song by Mercy Me she laughs that I tear up listening to the lyrics I Would Die for You.

But she has no idea how much I have struggled with accepting love from my father and from God.

My dad once told me that he could have loved me so much more but I wouldn't let him.

It took me years to understand God's grace over the over preached Wrath of God. I still struggle with the concept of loving the person but hating the crap. It has taken having a child that I would lay down my life for to get it through my head and heart the capacity of love God has for me and my parents had for me.

Last night when I was putting my little girl to bed I remembered the times I questioned my dad about how much he loved me. I finally get it, it only took 38 years.
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