The Helper

People say to look for the helpers.

I guess this originated from Mr. Rogers: “When I was a boy and would see scary things on the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’…”

Mr. Rogers was a wise man. A wise man who – it appears – was raised by a wise woman.

Find the helpers. Because we can’t let fear of one rob us of our faith in others.

There are so many helpers, supporters, sympathetic mourners.

Because people care. They grieve. They are there… to support, help, sacrifice. They are near to the broken-hearted, to comfort. They redeem this tragedy by bringing good from it, by restoring hope, joy, peace.

They LOVE.

 

And isn’t that just like our God? Just exactly what the Bible says about Him?

He cares.

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” ~ 1 Peter 5:7

He grieves.

“In all their suffering he also suffered…” ~ Isaiah 63:9 NLT.

Because a Father grieves for the pain his child feels.

He is there.

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God is with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” ~Deuteronomy 31:6

He is near to the broken-hearted. He comforts.

“The Lord is near to the broken-hearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” ~ Psalm 34:18

He redeems and restores.

“Israel, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption.” ~ Psalm 130:7 

He is the God of hope, who can fill you with all hope, peace, and joy… if you just trust in Him! (Romans 15:13)

And He loves. Oh, how He loves!

“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” ~ Romans 8:38-39.

“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness…” ~ Jeremiah 31:3

 

And we were made in His image. (Genesis 1:27)

These people, the helpers. Look for them. In Boston, and all over. They are giving us a glimpse of our God, our Helper. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble.” ~ Psalm 46:1

Look for the helpers… And see an image of a living God, full of love.

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The words he reads

He held up the game from the cupboard to show me. An old Mastermind game I used to school Matt at while we laid in bed on winter evenings a few years back. “Look, Mommy!” he said, pointing to the top of the game, excitement and surprise on his face. “Look what it says!” I read the word to myself, Mastermind.

“Yes, Jacob. I see. That’s a game Mommy and Daddy used to play.”

“But Mommy! LOOK! Look at what it says!” His big brown eyes were open even wider, eyebrows raised. A broad smile pushed his chubby cheeks up, revealing his beautifully straight teeth. His expression was one of delightful surprise. Oh, how I love the perfectly expressive faces that boy makes.

“What’s it say, Bud?” From where I stood, I could see it. But I didn’t think he knew what it said.

“It says, ‘Jesus Loves Me.’ See?” He pointed to the game name and cocked his head towards me with a pleased look. Then he put the game away and continued playing with the cars he had previously lined up for an important meeting.

I sat there, contemplating our brief conversation. Sweet boy, I thought. My sweet boy, always stopping to pray when someone says they don’t feel well, or anytime I say,  “Ouch!” Always remembering to pray for our pastor, his family, and anyone we’ve encountered that day, and reminding us to do the same. Reminding me now that Jesus loves me by pretending he read those words on the top of a silly game. …And yet he looked so convinced that’s what they said. Like he wasn’t pretending at all.

Conversation now tucked away in my mind somewhere, all but forgotten, I continued with my own task of folding the mound of laundry while watching the kids work on puzzles and host car meetings.

It wasn’t until the next day when I thought of that conversation again. The sun streamed through the blinds and landed on the same spot the kids had been playing the day before. This time, he sat stacking blocks. I said something to him – although I don’t remember what – causing him to look up my direction.

I was greeted with another look of surprise. “Mommy! Look! I never saw dat before!” He hopped up and ran to the piano, a huge grin spreading across his face.

“What’s that, Buddy?” I tried to see what he was pointing to. All I saw was the piano.

“Wight dere, Mommy! Look! Look what it says!” He pointed just above Middle C, at the word across the front of the blonde spinet, Kimball. “Mommy! I can’t believe I never saw it before! It says, ‘Jesus loves me!’ Do you see it?”

I smiled. “I see it, Buddy. I see it. You’re right, Jacob. Jesus loves you. Very much.

Pleased with his new discovery, he headed back to his tower of blocks mumbling to himself with a smile, “I can’t believe I never saw dat before. It’s wight dere.

And it got me thinking…

Where am I missing the signs. The signs that are right there all along. The places Jesus is telling me that HE loves ME, but I never stop to notice?

Then last night. The evening of Palm Sunday. The start of Holy Week. He said it again.

We were in his bedroom getting on his PJs. He looked up at the sign that hangs above where his crib used to be. “The Prince Sleeps Here.” And on his wall, J-A-C-O-B. “Mommy! See dat? It says it everywhere, Mommy! Jesus Loves Me. Jesus Loves Me. It’s everywhere!” He said it twice, first pointing to the letters of his own name, then to the oval sign.

I stood there, lost in thought as the kids argued about what the sign said. In the distance – although she was right next to me – I could hear Annalise’s voice, “No, Jacob. That says your name. Your name is spelled J-A-C-O-B. It does not say Jesus Loves Me... NO it DOESN’T… NO! NO, Jacob, it DOESN’T… Mah-aaaahhhhhmm! Tell Jacob what it says! He doesn’t believe me!”  I could hear it. And I saw Jacob insisting that Yes, that is exactly what it says. But I was focused on something else.

What he had said just before the argument broke out. It was just a sentence or two…

“It says it everywhere, Mommy! Jesus Loves Me. It’s everywhere!”

I was lost in thought again. Am I missing the signs? Do I see it everywhere? My too-wise-two-year-old sees it. Every word he sees reminds him – reminds me – of the love of Jesus.

Today was a family day. Beautiful sunshine, spring warmth. Jacob got to plan our day. We spent it at the park. Along the water. On a trail walk. Together. I loved every minute. And when we got home, we headed back out for a bike ride, wanting to soak up every last bit of warm sun.

But first, on the porch, something caught my eye. I called my boy over and knelt down next to him. “Look, Bud! Look right there! Do you know what that says?”

Jacob looked at where I pointed, to the Easter garden we planted a few weeks back. The cross we made from the sticks we gathered and the tomb from a little peat pot. There was a sign, too, with a verse, but that isn’t where I pointed. I touched the cross and the tomb and looked in my boy’s big brown eyes. “Do you know what that says, Jacob?”

He looked puzzled at first, there were no words to read.

But then he smiled his big broad smile, and he looked up at me proudly. “Yep! I know what it says. It says, Jesus Loves ME!”

“You’re right, Buddy. That’s exactly what it says.”

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On this Holy Week, this week we remember the last days of Jesus The Messiah, will you too remember what he says?

He whispers it all around us. In the blessings poured out. In the thoughtfulness of a neighbor. In the surprise snow on the first day of spring, then in the spring sun peaking through the blinds, landing on one boy with two big brown eyes and a broad smile. It’s just right there, but sometimes it’s so easy to miss.

A million daily whispers.

And he shouts it from the past. In a life lived divine. In a sacrifice so great. On a cross and in an empty tomb. He says to you still today, “I love YOU.

 

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” ~ John 3:16

“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” ~ Romans 5:8

“But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” ~ Psalm 86:15

Parenting Ain’t for Sissies

People always say parenting is hard.

Mom always said, “Parenting ain’t for sissies, Baby.”

There never were truer statements. But I don’t think they mean the same thing…

Hard: Raising teens (I’m sure.) Watching your child hurt. Watching your child fail. All the excruciating times you have to step back and let go. Loving unconditionally. Yes, fully and unconditionally. Hearts full of that much love leave room for lots of heartache. It just does. Hard.

Then there are the times that aren’t necessarily hard, but they require you to step-up. To buck-up. To actually parent when you feel like not. It’s not for sissies… Right, Mom?

There are the obvious times… Most of which stem from the selfishness of kids that are 2 (and 5/6) and 5 (and 1/3). There’s the fighting over toys, who gets to do what first, not wanting to obey because they’d rather be doing anything else. These daily trials can be challenging, but mainly because it requires tons of patience to deal with the same issue 17 million times a day while still remaining calm. It’s seriously exhausting. If I have to referee another battle over which toothbrush someone may or may not have just touched, or if I have to hear one. more. argument. over who gets to pray first, I might just lose it. 

Do you have these same parenting frustrations? Do you also feel like not parenting, but instead snapping, “Seriously? SERIOUSLY?? You’re going to fight over praying??? Do you not see the irony, children???” I’m making myself buck-up here. I’m doing my best to not lose it. But I’m feeling a bit sissy-ish. You, too? How ’bout let’s all pray about it? K? Just ME FIRST.

Parenting is also hard because of the tricky life-balances we parents try to manage. Independence vs. protection. Doing things that have to get done (or we want to get done) vs. doing things with them that help them grow/learn. Teaching/helping vs. letting them figure it out on their own. Finding the right balance is hard. Making the choices you feel are best and not carrying guilt is hard. And definitely not for sissies.

Then there are the once-in-a-while situations that come up that I’d never thought of before. The things that suddenly smack you in the face and make you think, “Oh, crap. How am I supposed to handle this? WHERE IS MY PARENTING HANDBOOK???” These are the things that may or may not be hard, but they are the reasons “sissies” can’t exist in parenting.

I don’t know about your kids, but my kids are good at coming up with these situations. It’s like they enjoy testing my parenting creativity. I wonder if mom can keep her cool when we do this. She’ll never expect it! Or, I can’t wait to see mom’s face when she hears what we’re saying! I bet she’ll have no clue what to do! They’re testing my level of sissy-ness…

I’m certain that last one is what my two cherubs were saying just the other morning. It started when they asked permission to get out the watercolor paint brushes to play with, without the paint. There were 14 brushes, so they divided them up evenly. Each of their 7 brushes then received a made-up name so they could play as though the brushes were people. I heard the naming begin, “This one’s Bumble. This is Mxtrah. That one will be Peetose…” and headed out of the room to blow-dry my hair.

Several minutes went by, the sounds of their playing with the paintbrush people drowned out by the hum of the hairdryer.

And then I turned the dryer off.

What I heard next was bad. I can’t even write it, it’s that bad. But in order to tell the story, I have to sorta-kinda write it. What I heard next was my darling female child say something I’ve never said, Matt’s never said, and I’m absolutely certain her babysitters and Bible class teachers have never said. She said the inappropriate phrase – appropriately – with a tone of anger and frustration. Directed to whom, I was not sure. When I turned the dryer off, what I heard my darling say was, “Come HERE, Witch!” Only not witch. Only she said that same word but with a different beginning letter.

That’s right. My sweet girl just called someone – and I was not sure who – the “B word.” And she had said it with attitude.

Yeah. I was shocked, too. So much so that I was certain she couldn’t have actually said it. I didn’t move. But then I heard it again.“I said, COME HERE, WITCH!” Oh no. she. didn’t.

I headed to where they were playing. Wanting to run, but actually going much slower because I wasn’t sure what I was going to say once I got there. It was one of those tricky parenting moments not made for sissies. There is not handbook for these. My goal was to 1) Stop the use of the word. Immediately. 2) Figure out where she learned it. 3) Not draw too much attention to it so as to increase curiosity of said bad word, causing it to be used when mom is not around. You know, to inform other kids that “Witch” is a never-to-be-said-bad-word .

My brain snapped to attention when I heard it again. “Witch! You’re not listening to me! Go to time out, Witch!”

“Annalise! What are you saying???” I gasped. Probably not the right approach, because it brought out the word again.

“I was telling Witch to come here. She didn’t listen, so I sent her to time out.”

“Stop saying that word!”

“What word? Witch?”

“Yes! That word! That is very bad word! Where did you hear it?”

“Witch is not a bad word! I didn’t hear it anywhere. I just made it up! (Pointing to the brushes.) This is Bumble. This is Peetose. This is WITCH!”

“Annalise, PLEASE stop saying that word! It is very naughty!”

“Why? What does Witch mean? And how can it be naughty when I just made it up?”

Cringing every time it slips off her tongue. “Oh dear. STOP saying it. It doesn’t matter what it means. It’s naughty. And you maybe just made it up, but it’s a real word. A very naughty word.” Not doing so good at goal #3. Lots of attention to the word here. LOTS.

“Mommy, I didn’t know Witch was naughty. I just made it up. I didn’t know I was making up a naughty word.  So I can’t say Witch even though I just made it up?”

Goal #1 FAIL. It’s now been said WAY too many times. “NO. I already said not to. STOP. NOW. Don’t say it again. Ever.”

“Ok. I won’t. I just didn’t know it was bad. I just made it up. I promise.”

“I know. You didn’t know. Just stop.”

“Ok, Mom. What can I name it then. Is Pitch a bad word? Can I call it Pitch?”

“No. Pitch isn’t bad. Call it that. It’s a real word, but it’s not bad.”

I headed back to the bathroom, thinking about the odd chances here. 14 paint brushes named random made-up names. And the one that is being naughty and getting talked to sternly just happened to be named “Witch.” Nope, they don’t make a handbook for moments like these.

And then… yes the story doesn’t end there… I was snapped to attention once again as I heard my two littles singing a song to one of the paint brushes I hadn’t yet met. This one named “Axs.” (When spoken by Jacob, this word is remarkably similar to a word that means “butt.”) And no, I’m not even joking. You just can’t make this stuff up. The song they were singing, sung to the tune of Jingle Bells, caused the paintbrush’s name to slur together, sounding like a string of swear words. “Axs-axs-axs. Axs-axs-axs. Axs-axs-axs-axs-aaaxss….” And so I headed back in to tell them again. Axs’ name must change. It doesn’t matter what it means. Yes, I know you just made it up. Yes, Max is more appropriate. Thank you.

14 made-up names. 2 swear words. 58 times I cringed hearing my angels swear. What are the chances?

Yes. Parenting ain’t for sissies. Because there is just no way you can plan for moments like this. Moments where you’re caught completely off guard, trying to figure out how to handle any given situation the best way. And most of the time, the best way doesn’t even seem to exist.

Another tricky parenting moment: Jacob sat on the toilet for five minutes the other day. Refusing to let me wipe his bum because… he didn’t like the softness of the toilet paper. Um, yeah. 2 years old. Only been using a toilet for about two months. And he has opinions about the toilet paper.

“Not for sissies” parenting moment because: 1) You are TWO and don’t get that much control. 2) The fact that you have such strong opinions about your toilet paper’s softness – after just two months of using it – is highly concerning to me and our future. So what happens next in this conversation needs to be thought-through and planned out carefully. 3) And this is the biggest reason this was a tricky moment… This is just. plain. sad. You have no idea how easy you have it. Some kids don’t get choices of toilet paper. Or have toilet paper at all. Or toilets. Or baths. Or food. Or love. And how do you teach a 2 year old to appreciate how blessed we are without making their little innocent minds aware of the injustices and cruelty of this world?

You don’t. You can’t. He is innocent. Innocent with a spoiled little American “axs.” But he is too young to know the pain of this world.

And so he sat. For five minutes. After I calmly told him that in this house, we are thankful for what we have. Even if we don’t like the too-soft-TP, we are thankful. And when he was ready to be thankful and have a happy heart, I would wipe his dirty little bum with the t00-soft-TP. His stubborn heart held out for 5 minutes before he was willing to give in to the fluffy softness.

Those innocent little hearts. But they so make mine melt.

Mom is right. It ain’t for sissies. Heart-pounding. Heart-racing. Heart-breaking. Heart-wrenching.

And heart-meltingly-wonderful.

Mother of the year? I think not…

I’m a terrible mother. I’m fairly certain of this because of a number of situations that have transpired these past few days that, instead of reacting the way a “normal” or “good” mother would react, my reactions were more, well, um… terrible.

Example #1.  A few days ago while getting ready, I heard uproarious laughter coming from the kids’ bedroom. That morning, they had struggled with getting along. I had sent them to their room to get dressed. Now, suddenly, there were gut laughs and squeals of delight, followed by even more gut laughs. I knew immediately: something must be up.

A Good Mom’s Reaction: Drop everything and go quickly to their room to find out what bad thing is happening and put a stop to it!

My Reaction: Pray they aren’t going to end up seriously injured while doing what is undoubtedly a very bad idea. Let the laughter and giggles and squeals continue. Because frankly, I just can’t handle one more stupid argument. And because there is really nothing that makes me laugh as much as hearing those two gut laugh so hard.

 

Example #2. After I had finished getting ready – a good 5 minutes into the giggles – I finally decided to see what was so hilarious. I discovered my 2 darling angels, completely buck naked, each with their own undies around their ankles, both feet in just one leg hole. Ever try to walk with your undies around your ankles, both feet in just one leg hole? You fall immediately. Apparently, this is utter hilarity for a 5 and 2 year old. One would get up, the other would fall, sending both into wild fits of laughter.

A Good Mom’s Reaction: Make the kids get dressed. Talk about appropriate behavior. Maybe even give consequences since they should know better and were supposed to be dressed by now.

My Reaction: Laugh. Hard. Then give them a few challenges, such as: Both of you get up. See who can make it across the room first. Laugh hysterically with them when they both crash to the ground. Give them a 3 more minutes of play time before they’ll need their clean undies pulled up, with clean clothes on, too.

 

Example #3: I discovered a new word of Jacob’s: titch. The first sentence he said with the word: I don’t like titch. After probing for clarification, he says, “I don’t like it when it’s titch. I don’t like the titch dark.”

A Good Mom’s Reaction: Correct his pronunciation. Make for darn sure he never says “I don’t like titch” again.

My Reaction: Laugh. Hard. While hiding my face. And then think of every opportunity to get him to say it again. Because it is so. darn. hysterical.

 

Example #4: The kids got silly puddy in their stockings. My sister told me a horror story of a friend’s child who got it stuck in her hair, and they had to cut it out. I stole the silly puddy and put it in a drawer for a rainy day. Yesterday, I was cleaning out that drawer with the kids’ “help,” and they found the stolen silly puddy. They asked me how it got in there.

A Good Mom’s Reaction: Tell the truth. Let them know that they’re just not quite old enough to play with it.

My Reaction: Change the subject and tell them they can play with it tomorrow.

 

Example #5: The kids are excited to play with their silly puddy, but they can’t remember the name of it. They do know it starts with an s and a p. So, every single time they mention it, the words are different. “Mommy, when do we get to play with the smooshy piddle?” “MOMMY! Look what I can do with my squishy pedal?” “Mommy, can we play with the stoley pud tomorrow?” “Mommy! I love my squooshed puggle so much!”

A Good Mom’s Reaction: I don’t know. Maybe correct their pronunciation? Maybe not? I’m not sure what a good mom would do. Just probably not what I did.

My Reaction: Laugh. Hard. While hiding my face. (I’m noticing a pattern here.) Tell Matt. Laugh with him. Hard. While hiding our faces. Enough that they figure it out and have hurt feelings. But still don’t tell them the real words.

 

Example #6: The kids love Play-Doh. I hate Play-Doh. It sits in a box on the top shelf in their closet. I think I’ve gotten it out once in the last year and a half. (Probably a lot less than a good mom would.) Something came over me today (maybe a smidge of goodness) and I got it down for them. The whole lot of it. We set up a massive play-doh station at the table. I was reminded how much I hate the horrible stuff. It’s all over the table, floor, and chairs in 0.2 milliseconds. Both kids need my help simultaneously and for every. single. second. of their play time (which is supposed to be my folding laundry time.)

A Good Mom’s Reaction: Play! Lovingly. With smiles and giggles and warm fuzzies. Then clean it all up together in a way that is reminiscent of Mrs. June Cleaver, while looking forward to the next time you’ll all have this much fun with Play-Doh again… next week.

My Reaction: Play. Hate every second. Complain about it on Facebook. Think of every possible excuse, no bribe, to get them to want to quit. Finally win with a trip to pizza for dinner. Yes, I bought them out. And with unhealthy food. Then, while we all clean up, quickly put lids on the containers so the big chunks still on the table would have to be thrown in the garbage. Less Play-Doh next time = Less headache next time. Decide that’s a genius idea, and throw away two of the containers when they aren’t looking. Plan on not getting the stuff out for another year and a half, so they’ll likely never notice the missing containers. Pray that by then, the stuff will be all dried out anyway… Right now this moment, considering opening the container lids… just a smidge. To help with the whole drying out biz…

 

Example #7: While vacuuming up the remaining Play-Doh mess, send the kids to get shoes on so we can head-out to pizza. (I’m a mom of my word.) They come back, ready to go. But Annalise has made a serious fashion faux-pas and has put neon green Christmas socks on over – yes over her white tights with adorable jumper.

A Good Mom’s Reaction: Another one I’m not sure about. What do you good moms do in this situation? Let her wear it? Make her take it off? Or would you do what I did?…

My Reaction: Gently question her choice in attire. “Are you sure you want to wear Christmas socks?” (As thought that is the biggest problem here.) When she confirms that yes, this is exactly what she wants to wear, go with it. Again laughing. Hard. While hiding my face. When she asks about playing with her “squishy puddle” tomorrow and you laugh, and she gets upset because “you’re laughing at how I said that!” Do everything in your power to not reply, “Yes, I’m laughing at your squishy puddle. And your outfit.” Because that might be crushing to a 5-year old. Who really is about the cutest thing despite the strange choice in clothing.

Then, when at the pizza parlor, take a picture. And post it on your blog for all to see…

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Love-with-a-capital-L

Admittedly, I’m not a big fan of Valentine’s Day.

Maybe it’s the commercialism… buying gifts to say “I love you” on a day you’re supposed to just doesn’t say “I love you” as much as it says “I’d like to keep myself out of trouble, so I will follow the rules and get you cheap chocolate and expensive flowers.” I’m not saying that’s what every person thinks when they’re buying their significant other a gift. I just find it much more thoughtful on a day when it’s not expected. Plus, I don’t know about your kids, but MY kids certainly don’t need another excuse to get presents.

Or maybe it’s because I’m a teacher… if you also work with kids, there is no need for me to explain further. If you don’t, let me summarize: 27 (or more) 8- and 9- year olds (or some other age) full of too much sugar and emotion and excited bouncing off the walls about the thought of more. Anxious to read cards and savor Sponge Bob’s pre-printed words of love from the current “love of their life.” Hurt feelings. Hyperactivity. Lack of focus. Excess of drama.

Or maybe, just maybe, I get a little irritated about A day to force love and kindness. When shouldn’t we be full of love and kindness EVERY day? Shouldn’t we take time as often as possible to tell those we care how much we care?

Maybe I’m just cynical. If so, then I married the right man. He’s never been a fan of cupid, either. He shows me in a thousand ways that he loves me, and I don’t need a stuffed bear holding a heart on this day to remember. I am reminded daily.

Our typical Valentine’s Day is pretty much like any other day. Except at dinner, we try to do something special with the kids. Last year, we had all pink and red food. Breakfast for dinner: Ham, pink biscuits with raspberry jam, jell-0 and strawberries. This year, we upped the class on our dinner and had a nice meal out with Matt’s family to celebrate his brother’s birthday. Delicious food with people we love. Much better than cheap chocolates.

Yes, definitely cynical. But on this particular Valentine’s Day, there were a few things that cured me of my bad attitude about this day of love-with-a-lower-case-l, and made me remember to keep it a day of Love-with-a-capital-L. Lower-case-l-love is bought in gift shops teeming with pink and red and hearts and stuffed animals. It is the too much sugar and the costlier-than-usual flowers. It’s spending $4.99 on a card that will be thrown away tomorrow and not buying another card until next year, same time. Upper-case-L-Love is 1 Corinthians 13* Love. It’s the Love we need to be celebrating, and not just this day, but every day. It’s not the $4.99 card, but the message it holds that is demonstrated in action.

So… those things I mentioned. The ones that reminded me to keep this day a day of Love, capital L.a

  1. Seeing my kids walk by the fridge where this hangs: photo(40)And each time they do, they say in a deep voice, as though they were Jesus, “Will YOU be MINE?” Followed by an immediate response from themselves (in their own voices), “YES! I’m YOURS!” Annalise made this in her Bible Class, and the conversation was their homework. She does her homework daily and has taught her brother to do the same. I pray that all their lives they will feel the Love of Jesus. Feel him saying to them, “Will you be mine?” And I pray their answer will remain what it is today. May we always answer to Jesus, “YES! I’m YOURS!”  Love. Capital L.
  2. I came home to this: photo(41)Aww. Sweet. (We’ve been boycotting $4.99 cards – or any card – that will just be thrown out, for years now. It’s the message that counts, right?) So I read the message: photo(39)                             That message. Handwritten. Lived out. 1 Corinthians 13 Love. Love-with-a-capital-L.
  3. You might remember this post where I posted the flowers Matt got me “just because.” I died laughing: flowersWell, you may not remember. But he did. So today, next to my bouquet of flowers and beautiful note, there was another note:photo(38)How I Love that man. With the capital L kind of Love.
  4. A friend posted a quote from her 6-year-old daughter about Valentine’s Day. Maybe it is exactly my point. I had to share. (I haven’t asked her permission yet, so no names included):

“Gammy says that Valentines Day has nothing to do with God but Valentines Day is about love and sharing and God is love and sharing and so I think Valentines Day is everything about God.”

Is it just me, or are 6-year-olds full of wisdom? I think we could learn a lot from them. This girl gets it. It’s all about the Love-with-a-capital-L.

A Godly Love, because God is Love. A Love that is humble, patient, and gentle. A Love that Loves at all times. The kind of Love that serves one another.

And sometimes, it might also give really good chocolate. Just because.

*1 Corinthians 13:

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.