Learning Through Love

This morning, Claire climbed up into my chair with me, took my face in her hands, kissed me and said, “I love you, Momma.”

Claire is usually too busy for this sort of nonsense, she has too many things on her agenda to stop for hugs and kisses.  But this morning, she stopped herself and she came to me to share some love.

It got me thinking about love and loving well and I suddenly had an epiphany, which might seem kind of obvious but here it is.

I’m always talking about how we learn most through hardship.  We learn best through those tough times, when we’re vulnerable and reaching for God.  He uses our struggle for our good because He is our Restorer and our Redeemer.   Big Life Things, Hard Things, our struggle…it’s how we’re refined, how He shapes us and I stand by that.

But I think we also learn a lot about God when we are loved well.

Yesterday my sweet husband came into the kitchen with his hands full of a hydrangea bloom and love overflowing.  He said to whatever child was there with me, “Hydrangeas are your momma’s favorite.”  He put it in a glass of water and set it in the kitchen window so I could see it often and feel his love over and over.

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That’s how he is, extending love constantly…to me, to the kids, to his family and friends and to his students.  He is one who loves well.  He is one who lives continually thankful and overflowing because he is so aware of the love lavished on him by Father God.  And I have learned a lot about the favor of God since I met him.

And this morning, I am wanting to dwell not on my struggle but on how I am loved well.  Loved well by my husband, by my children, by friends and by family, loved so well by my heavenly Father.  I am slowly on my way to getting better and this morning I just rest in how loved I am.

I am thinking about the people God has given me along the journey, love found in unexpected places, kindness extended…these ones I will list in my gratitude journal.

*the great aunt who would come for visits and sit and talk with me for hours
*that third grade teacher who singled me out and made me feel special
*the teachers who encouraged me to write
*the high school friend who affirmed me every single day
*the pastor who made me a part of a team and who told me that what I had to offer was a good gift
*the child who told me that I imparted good things to her growing up
*the ones I’ve babysat in the past who come back and say, “ChaCha, I LOVED being with you when I was little.”
*every small one who has every climbed into my lap
*every teen that has ever let me into their life
*the niece who twirled my hair around her fat fists
*the niece who misses me when a few days go by and we haven’t seen each other
*the nephew whose face lights up when I see him
*my own little loves and even my big ones and how we laugh together, how their very existence and who they are has taught me so much about love
*my sister who takes on so much to make my life better, who cracks me up and who loves well
*my brother in law who has spent ten years working on this one song with me, who is better than a real brother
*my parents, my big family, my Paw, my other grandparents, my wonderful aunts and uncles and cousins, my in-laws, all of them good gifts. Family members that I would choose as friends…
*And yes, my friends- the ones who’ve prayed for me, the ones who show up, the ones who tease me out of my funk, the ones who come to help, the ones who call, text, facebook, the one who has stayed with me since seventh grade, the one who laughs at my messes and loves me in spite of how different we are, the ones who have prayed with me for more than a decade, the one who prayed and warred into the night when I almost died, the one who loves so sacrificially that I know God cries proud tears over her beauty, the one who came to my house at 4am to love on my children in the morning…not knowing if I’d live or die, the ones I don’t get to see much and the ones I see all the time, the ones I’ve known for a long time and the ones that are new to me, the ones who live right here and the ones who live far away…all of these beautiful friends. All of that love.
*every reader who has ever told me that they were touched by my blog…words of life to hear that my offerings might move another heart towards Him.

All of these loved ones…all people God has given me to shape me, to make me more whole. He lavishes love.

And so yes, I think it’s true that we learn so much from our struggles. I think it’s also true that we learn so much from being loved. I am grateful to every single one who has shown love to me, to every single one who has made me feel accepted, wanted, who has made me feel like I belong. To every single one who has ever made me feel like I’ve been a good gift to them.

It all bottom lines here.

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22:37-39

It all bottom lines to love. Love God. Love People.

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How will you show love today?  Who are you grateful for?

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