I am loved! It’s not that I did not know it, it’s just that sometimes it feels good to acknowledge it out loud for myself as well as others. I soaked in a bunch of extra loving this weekend as I celebrated my birthday. My friends and family all made this a special time. As I basked in the glow of kindness, I kept thinking, not only of how incredibly blessed I am, but just how much I love these wonderful people God has placed in my life. Kind words, thought filled gifts, hugs, time spent together, and good food all filled my “birthday weekend.” At one point, when I prepared to blow out a few candles on a cake, I actually thought my heart would burst it was so filled with love for those who had orchestrated that moment and joined me in celebration.
It is easy to love those in my life, especially when they are pouring extravagant love out on me. This kind of love oozes grace.
I think of my dog Hughie, our porky little Yorkie with an attitude. He is not a “good” dog by most standards. He has no reservations about going potty in my house. He barks each morning around 6 am and is less than welcoming to those who enter our home, rightfully earning his nickname “Hughcifer!” But even with all these strikes against him, I love him tremendously. WHY? Because this little guy LOVES ME. Yep, no other pet I have ever owned has displayed such affection for me. When he sees me, whether I have been gone for the day or for a mere few minutes, his entire body wags in excitement. When I sit down, he hurries to fill my lap. When I am not sitting holding him, he is constantly watching my every move, anticipating a chance to be next to me. He thinks I am the bee’s knees! He LOVES ME, so I cannot help but love him.
I love all the young mothers in our church I have gotten to know over these years, but most of all I LOVE their little ones. Why? They love me. Of course, this is due to a few calculated efforts on my part. I’m the lady whose pool they played in. I get to be the non-disciplinarian who plays games and give treats. This has resulted in a sweet out pouring of love from these precious kiddos. They call out my name, tell me they love me, give me hugs and kisses and smile when they see me. This thrills my soul! I can’t help but love them beyond words!
I love my friends and family. They are quick to laugh with me, not just at me. They let me be imperfect and still be acceptable. They give me the gift of their time and share their talents with me. They celebrate with me. They grieve with me. They lift me up in prayer. They challenge and encourage me. They think of me. They smile when they see me (usually). They love me, so I can’t help but LOVE THEM.
This last Sunday as I considered all the love I have around me I could not help thinking of a children’s song from long ago….
Oh how I love Jesus, oh how I love Jesus, oh how I love Jesus…because He first loved me.
We are recipients of such grace filled extravagant love from our Lord and Savior…how could we help but LOVE Him!