Loving in the little

Last year, Matt and I stood in the rain together and prayed for our country at the Missouri Capitol. Him being there with me was a beautiful act of love. Love is so much more than one day a year!

Valentine’s Day is made for grand gestures, thoughtful gifts and lovey-dovey profile pictures. Flower shops and even Wal-Mart stores are clogged with people grabbing a token of their affection to proclaim their love. Though we don’t really need a day like this to express our adoration, this holiday serves as a reminder to appreciate those we love.

Tomorrow, it all goes on clearance.

The chocolate gets eaten, the flowers die and the stuffed animals get thrown in a closet.

The grand gestures mean nothing if not backed up by the day-in-day-out loving in the little ways no one else sees. Filling the coffee pot, early morning snuggles, supporting them in their work and ministry, staying up late to help with homework, folding the laundry, giving each other a kiss before heading off for the day, always speaking well of each other in public, praying for God’s favor in their life, backing them up, doing dishes, watching TV together, making breakfast, giving compliments, showing up, being honest when it’s hard, putting their needs above yours, sending an “I love you” text just because you do, giving them space to process and not heading straight for the argument. True love is validated in the everyday.

Jesus personally showed us this truth:

  • Jesus helped people out in a jam (John 2:1-10)
  • Jesus touched a leper who needed Him (Matthew 8:3, Mark 1:40-41)
  • Jesus took time to answer the questions of those seeking (John 3:1-20)
  • Jesus stood in the gap to rescue and forgive those who didn’t deserve it (John 8:3-11)
  • Jesus was willing to be interrupted (Mark 1:35-37)
  • Jesus fiercely defended His Father (Luke 19:45-46, John 2:13-17)
  • Jesus saw Peter’s mother-in-law and healed her without being asked (Matthew 8:14-15)
  • Jesus had dinner with Matthew and his friends and didn’t care what anyone else thought about it (Matthew 9:10-13, Luke 5:29-32)
  • Jesus shared His ministry with His friends (Matthew 10:1, Mark 6:7-12, Luke 9:1-2, 10:1)
  • Jesus sent the disciples ahead and cleaned up Himself (Mark 6:45)
  • Jesus was patient and took the time to have deep conversation (Matthew 13:36-37)
  • Jesus challenged his friends to dig deeper in their faith (Matthew 14:28-33)
  • Jesus had great compassion and entered into other’s grief (Luke 7:12-15)
  • Jesus sailed through storms with His friends (Luke 8:22-25)
  • Jesus was patient when Martha was stressed (Luke 10:40-42)
  • Jesus got His hands dirty to help and heal (Mark 7:33, 8:23, John 9:6)
  • Jesus saw people no one else did (Luke 19:5, 21:1-2, John 4:6-7, 5:5-8)
  • Jesus showed his friends who He really was (Matthew 17:2, Mark 9:2-3, Luke 9:29)
  • Jesus grieved with His friends (John 11:33-35)
  • Jesus loved his disciples despite petty arguments (Mark 9:33-37)
  • Jesus told the truth even when it wasn’t what a young man wanted to hear (Matthew 19:21-22, Mark 10:21-22, Luke 18:22-23)
  • Jesus wept over the lostness of people He loved (Luke 19:41)
  • Jesus stood up and defended those who loved Him (Matthew 26:10-13, Mark 14:6-9)
  • Jesus washed His disciples feet (13:4-5)
  • Jesus prayed for His disciples and for us (John 17:6-26)
  • Jesus loved Peter enough to tell him the truth (Matthew 26:33-34)
  • Jesus shared His sorrow (Matthew 26:38, Mark 14:34)
  • Jesus took care of His mom (John 19:25-27)
  • Jesus forgave (Luke 23:36)

Jesus loved. Scripture is seeped in His love. And when the time came for the Greatest Act of Love, when Jesus sacrificed His life on the cross, His disciples could believe and we can believe it now because every moment of His life was a testament to His amazing love for us.

The cross is the proof of a lifetime and eternity of God’s love. In a similar way, Valentine’s Day shouldn’t be just a one-shot love deal. Today, let’s celebrate the culmination of the 365 days before, and the promise of future days, full of loving in the little.

God never loses you

Crowds shuffled by as my daughter and I sat and waited for the rest of our family to return from a ride at Silver Dollar City. Lauren finished her snack, so I sent her the 10 steps across the path to throw away her trash. She jumped down, to do what I asked.

My eyes never left her as she skipped across, threw her trash right in the pocket, and turned to skip back.

Then, she hesitated. Her eyes focused on the crowd, and though I could see her, she couldn’t see me. Panic flashed across her face and her eyes darted back and forth trying to find me, and I got up to go to her. As I moved she saw me, ran back and gave me a big hug of relief.

I squeezed her extra tight. “Did you not know where I was?”

She shook her head, and snuggled in for a tighter hug.

I gently reassured her. “You may have lost me, but I never lost you!”

The same is true of our loving Heavenly Father. He tells us in Galatians 3:26 that we are God’s children through faith in Jesus. Just as a parent attends to his child, God watches over us because He loves us. He knows us, He knows where we are, and He cares about the situations we find ourselves in today. We may feel utterly lost, frustrated, off-balance and unsure. But God sees us. We are not forgotten. He didn’t leave us.

Despite our feelings and even sight-lines, God never loses us. Psalm 121:8 says, “The LORD keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.” There may even be times that we believe God is leading us to step out in faith on mission, and suddenly we turn and can’t find our bearings. Look toward heaven and cry out to Him. We can find peace when our sight fails us by standing firmly on God’s always-kept promises.

For it is the Lord your God who goes with you; He will not leave you or forsake you.
– Deuteronomy 31:6b

Me and my girl, together

Me and my girl, together