I tend to make a joke at times about having five children, although in reality it is not always a joke. With each child, I have become a little better with how I parent; now that we are prayerfully down to the last one, I think God has really helped me hone in on my parenting ability.

Although there are many days I feel like Joshua could possibly be the spawn of the enemy, I know he is such a blessing. Psalm 127:3 is such a reminder “Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.” Our children range from eighteen years old to about two years old. Each child is unique in personality and diverse in their needs, making parenting each of them a different experience. However, what they all have in common from the time each was little is their lack of ability to always want to be transparent. Truth be told, how can I blame them, when in my own nature, it is a struggle for me to be transparent, and that includes with my own spouse and even more with God.

It really didn’t start sinking in until the Lord had taken my wife and me on this journey to deepen our relationship with a Gospel-centered marriage. The idea of how to be transparent is something that is not easy to always be. When I think about the concept, it deepens my thinking, wondering if transparency is something that I just struggle with or is it an area that the Lord helps strengthen us in.

Genesis 3 demonstrates how our nature is to run and hide “And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you.” God knew where they were, but it speaks volumes to how our human nature is to run and hide instead of being transparent. Rather than in many circumstances giving it to the Lord. For me, the idea in my mind that I can hide from God is even more mind blowing. Hebrews 4:13 says, “And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” How beautiful is it to know that I do not have to be like my two-year-old child and try to hide behind my hand or under a blanket when I committed a sin. Rather than try to run and hide, which is a false reality, I can be grounded with truth and understand that the Father knowingly sees me and still loves me unconditionally and is waiting for me to be transparent enough with Him to seek forgiveness.

Applying this knowledge to my spouse seems so much more difficult at times. I heard something that was so eye-opening, it was along the lines of “if you only are 99% known, then you can never be 100% loved.” That took some time to digest and understand what the Lord was speaking to me about. What does that mean, being only 99% known and being 100% loved? Truth be told many times due to my fear of failure and shame, I believe the lie that I can run and hide from things allowing me only to reveal 99% of things to people including my spouse. It merely comes down to many times having a fear of being transparent in my relationships and failure to be transparent in my mind with the Lord; that exposure from the Holy Spirit has shown to be an eye-opening conviction. Can I really have darkness in parts of my life and claim to walk in light, well that is more rhetorical than a question I am looking to answer. God’s work is so faithful in bringing clarity, 1 John 6-7 “ If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

Understandably, the Holy Spirit often prompts us when and where to be transparent to our brothers, sisters, and even our children. It is such a lesson that I have learned that needs to be modeled as a parent. If I am not transparent in many ways with my spouse and even my children, how will they ever learn to be transparent with me. For our marriage is the gospel they see lived out each day. As I think about it, I often wonder if they think they are hiding from me what I already know, only hoping they come to me and open up so I can comfort them and embrace them with grace and love. What a conflicting thought when knowing God has the same outlook on me, yet I fail to go to Him. It is so overwhelming and joyful to know that God, our father is always ready with open arms waiting for us to come running to Him any time of the day, willingly wanting to pour 100% of his unconditional love into us.

So I ask, are you 99% known lately or 100% loved?

– Frank D.