Love – BIG and small
A few blogs ago, I shared about what I dubbed, “Freedom Day”. During the many conversations I shared with my new friends, we kept coming back to a central thought. Sometimes, it is the little stuff that matters the most. T and I shared how we wonder if the ways we serve are enough. (Trust me, those thoughts are ours and definitely not God’s who has equipped each of us with unique gifts and talents.)
However, it is easy to get caught up in thinking that the ways we serve God and others is small beans. Comparison is the thief of joy. T shared about an event where she loved on single young moms in her community. The evening was not fancy, but it was love-filled. She was blown away by how much it meant to those women, tears forming in the corners of her eyes as she shared their words.
I have been doing a lot of searching and praying in my family’s yearlong quest to make “JOY” our theme word. I am discovering that God has a lot to teach me about that subject.
Recently I was asked some pretty heartfelt questions about grief. I really pondered one inquiry. “What did you personally do to begin to heal?” Since the answer was about me and not what I did to help my family, I first shared about my sense of helplessness of not being able to serve in any area outside of my family’s day-to-day needs for a long time. I professed that I also had a deep awareness of several things. First, I wanted our home to be a place of sanctuary, not a shrine to sadness. Second, I never wanted my surviving children to feel they didn’t matter when compared to their brother. Lastly, as bad as our family’s darkness was, I never lost sight of the fact that I had NOT lost everything I could lose, and there are millions of people in situations much worse than mine.
Perspective has a way of focusing your priorities. Reed’s death brought that to my life.
Walking through my worst nightmare (and on days continuing to do so) has brought a new clarity to my heart’s vision. Looking back now, the reformation of my life created a gentler and kinder me.
My new calling may not be fancy. It may not be earth shattering. It may not be record worthy, but it is where God has stirred my soul. While I might have had visions of grandeur before that fateful day, now, I just want to do what God has laid on my heart.
That desire is how I finally answered the question about healing. I combined my passion for serving with my realization of how blessed I was (and still truly am), and I learned how love with abandon. Loving in the small ways. Loving the hurt, the wounded, the forgotten, the grieving, the disappointed. Loving by doing, by writing, but mostly by listening. And in the way that most surprised me, loving without any strings attached. Simply showing up and loving without any need for recognition or any return. It is how people loved us (and still love us).
And for the most part, it has been loving in the small ways.
A year ago, some anonymous family did exactly that for my family. They loved in a small way. With the tug-o-war pull between a bunny with baskets and the cross, it is easy to forget how far acts of love go. The picture below is of a note that we received coming home from Easter service last year. Hidden all over our front yard were eggs. All, but one, were filled. The empty one reminded us of God who loved us all in the BIGGEST way, by leaving an empty tomb and the friends whose small act of love reminded us that even small acts of love go a long way.
May you be blessed in the small moments of joy this Easter season!
May God stir in your heart to love with abandon every day of your life!
May you always know that no matter how small it seems to you that loving like God would is always BIG!