Sunday, January 29, 2017

You Just Need a Hug and a Kiss

It was a normal Thursday afternoon at work. I work at a preschool for three- and four-year-old students. Riley Grace is a student at my school, but she’s not in my class. I see her throughout the day, and it’s such a blessing. I love watching her grow, sharing experiences with her, and seeing her develop friendships. On this particular Thursday afternoon, Riley Grace woke up 45 minutes early from her nap. (If students wake up early, they are supposed to stay on their cots until rest time is officially over. However, Riley Grace sometimes has a hard time with this rule because once she wakes up and sees me, she wants to come talk to me…) As usual, as soon as she saw me, she walked over to where I was sitting. Our short conversation was as follows:

Me: “Good morning, sweetheart. Did you have a good rest?”

RG: *sleepy nod*

Me: “You know, you need to go back to your cot until rest time is over? We have a few more minutes until snack, and Mama has to get snack ready for all of our friends.”

RG: “I know, but you just need a kiss and a hug.”

Me: *heart melts / eyes fill with tears* “Oh, ok! Thank you!”

Us: *hug and kiss* :-) 

Then, she walked back to her cot and (amazingly) stayed there until rest time was over. Riley Grace will never know how much that short, sweet interaction meant to me! I pondered our sweet interaction the rest of the day. Her little heart just wanted to come and bless her mama with a hug and a kiss. It blessed my heart so much because:
-       It was unprompted. I did not ask for her affection. I didn’t demand it. I didn’t even mention it. It was her idea. It wouldn’t have seemed as meaningful if I would have asked her to tell me that she loved me or asked her for a kiss and a hug. Of course, if I would have asked and she would have complied, it could have still been meaningful and genuine, but it blessed me all the more because it was her own idea.
-       It was sweet. On her own, she decided that her mama needed some love. What a sweet heart! She delighted in giving me some love! Her heart was in it.
-       It was genuine. She wasn’t trying to get something out of me by offering affection. She knows I adore her hugs and kisses, so she could have offered them in an attempt to get something (like the privilege of staying off of her cot while her friends continued to sleep!). She could have just acted like she wanted to be affectionate so that I would let her stay up. But her affection was genuine, with no strings attached.
-       It revealed her love for me. She wanted to show me that she loves me by a sweet kiss and hug. Of course there are many ways to show our loved ones that we care, and in this moment, she chose to use a hug and a kiss. Her actions showed me how much she loves me.

As usual, when I ponder things that I’m learning about motherhood through the blessing of Riley Grace, the Lord points my heart back to my relationship with Him. In this moment, He reminded me of some things.

He wants me to love Him so much that I spontaneously desire to bless Him with praises, thanksgiving, worship, and service to Him. He wants my love for Him to be so real and rich that praise for Him overflows from my heart consistently.  

He desires for my love for Him to be genuine – no strings attached.

My love for Him can be sweet because His name is the sweetest name I know, and His words are like honey on my lips.

He desires for my commitment and affection to be genuine. He desires for my prayers and obedience to be rooted in love, not in an attempt to gain something from Him or win His favor.

He desires for me to do things that show my love for Him – not because my love for Him should be showy or that by doing so, I’ll earn His favor – but rather because showing my love for Him blesses His heart and brings glory to His name (and He knows that it will bless my own heart, too).  

He desires for me to delight in Him and be satisfied by Him. He knows that He is the only thing that can fulfill, and He longs for us to seek that fulfillment in Him.

Although the Lord does not need us, He can be blessed by our love and obedience, as a Father is blessed by His children.

-       READ/STUDY: Read Psalm 33:18, 35:27, 37:4, 147:11, and 149:7. As I consider a life that is filled with spontaneous and joyful love for the Lord, the word “delight” keeps coming to mind. In a simple example, Riley Grace delighted in me and she delighted in seeing me pleased; therefore, she offered me a hug and a kiss, which she knows I love. J In the same way, the Father delights in His children, and He desires that we delight in Him. What verses come to your mind when you think of delighting in the Lord?
-       EVALUATE: Is your relationship with the Lord characterized by “delight”? Do you delight in Him? What are some ways that you show the Lord you love Him? No, you do not have to complete a certain to-do list each day to check off the things a godly Christian woman should do in order to show God you love Him. In fact, even doing that would not earn you any favor with God. We know that we cannot earn His favor. As children of God, He has already granted us His favor when He chose to allow Jesus’ sacrifice to cover our sinfulness. However, while our love for God can’t earn us any more favor, it can bless His heart immensely, just as Riley Grace’s unprompted and genuine affection blessed my heart. When she hugged and kissed me, I didn’t love her any more, and if she wouldn’t have done it, I wouldn’t have loved her any less, but it did bless my heart and deepen our intimacy. So all that to say, take time to evaluate your own life. What are some ways that you show or tell the Lord about your love for Him? What are some things you can start doing or ways you can start praying that will bless His heart? How can you strive to deepen your intimacy with Him so that loving and blessing Him flow naturally from your heart and life? How can you truly delight in the Lord? What things in your life may need to be removed so that you can focus more intently on your True Delight, Jesus Christ?
-       PRAY: Ask the Lord to deepen your love for Him. Ask Him to give you joy and delight in His presence. Ask Him to fill your lips with praise. Ask Him to fill your mind with testimonies of how He’s been faithful to you. Ask Him to show you how to love Him in deeper ways. And take time to praise Him!

I pray that your relationship with the Lord will be one of deep, rich, and growing love. I pray that He will train your heart and mind to focus on praising and thanking Him, in the midst of pleasant times and trying times. I pray that your love for Him will deepen daily as you seek to please Him, bless His heart, and glorify His name. I pray that your walk with Him won’t be burdensome or dry, but rather it will be something that brings both you and the Father great pleasure and joy. Just as my daughter chose to bless me with her simple, but heartfelt actions, we, too, can bless our heavenly Father with our genuine love and delight in Him! Delight yourself in the Lord, friend! He is sweeter than anything else we could ever know!

Always, Jacquelyn

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