“But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners” — Romans 5:8 (NLT).

Growing up, I never felt as if I were good enough. My mother expected perfection from her daughters. In retrospect, I’m sure she followed in the footsteps of her own mother. Both meant well.

When you’re raised to seek perfection, you never feel worthy. A feeling of unworthiness leads to insecurity in all your relationships. Striving to earn the love of others leads to internal conflict. Being a people pleaser creates a false identity.

Until I came to know Jesus as my redeemer and Lord, I never understood the meaning of “unconditional” love. I struggled, like others, to understand how God could love me without any conditions attached.

Pastor Charles Stanley says, “. . . maybe we just feel unworthy of His love. Well, I have news for you: No one is worthy. God’s love is based not on whether we are deserving but on His character—we need to understand that love isn’t simply something God does; it’s who He is.”

In 1 John 4:8, the writer penned, “But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”

As I’ve grown in my faith, I’ve found security in the arms of a Heavenly Father who will never leave me nor forsake me.

I embrace His love for me, but still struggle with the bloody sacrifice of His Son on the cross. He did that for me? Yes, but His plan included all of mankind.

It’s easier to understand unconditional love when you become a parent.

British journalist Tony Parsons wrote, “When he was born, I looked at my little boy and felt an unconditional love I never knew was inside me. As he grew, and I watched him stagger about, speak his first words, and turn into a beautiful little boy, that feeling did not change.”

God is like that too. However, He knew us before we were ever born. He formed us in our mother’s womb. He loves us unconditionally. Those feelings never change. His story is our story.

 Some go to extremes to achieve acceptance in His eyes, but fail dismally. Then, they find His love and grace transcend their failures. His mercies are new each morning.

In Kay Bruner’s memoir, “As Soon as I Fell,” she shares her family’s story of going to extremes for spiritual acceptability.

With a marriage and ministry built on high performance and spiritual heroism, the couple eventually experienced burnout and depression.

A radical reinvention of their life, now based on a nourishing intimate connection with God, led to their understanding of unconditional love. You can’t earn it. You can’t buy it. However, you can find hope and healing in His love.

When will you be good enough for love? Gaze upon the cross. Look at the outstretched arms of your Savior. Embrace the love of a Heavenly Father who loves His children so much He gave His one and only Son that we might have life everlasting.

Carol Round is a transplanted Okie, originally from Lake Charles, Louisiana, who now resides in Grove. In addition to writing a weekly faith-based column, “A Matter of Faith,” Round spends time with her grandchildren, shooting photos, hiking, working in her yard, reading and studying the Word, volunteering at her church and going on mission trips. For more information, or to contact Round, persons interested may contact her at carol@carolaround.com.