I loved her, not because of the way she looked or because of something she could do for me, but just for who she was. Nothing she could do could make me love her any more, and nothing she could do could make me love her any less—not even her projectile spit-ups or her diaper blowouts (which she did seem to time precisely for when I was holding her). For the first time I got it: this is the way God loves me. Or a tiny fraction of it, anyway.

As I rocked my niece in her pastel pink room one night, I thought back to the unconditional love I've received—and at times failed to fully appreciate. Like the time my friend Sarah came to visit shortly after Jason made his abrupt exit. Not once did she say, "I told you so"—she just listened to me and loved me and gave me space to heal. And that summer after my freshman year of college, my mom and dad pumped me full of love and acceptance for three months, reminding me who I was and refusing to let me waste away, in body or soul. Looking back, I'm beginning to recognize these as glimpses of God's unconditional love.

I recently came across Psalm 136, and I guess I'm not the only one who needs to be reminded that his love is forever, unconditional. This refrain is repeated not just once or twice but 26 times in that chapter: "His faithful love endures forever." Now there are some lyrics that surpass even Alanis's.

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