Thursday, February 28, 2008

Showing Love

Four-year-old Mary Ashley is my most affectionate child. Quick to offer hugs and kisses, she delights in finding new ways to show love to our family. Even when scolded, her anger quickly fades and she is eager to snuggle. "I love you" comes easily, and words of encouragement flow freely.

Mary Ashley's desire to give and receive love colors her day. On her way to preschool, she tells her daddy the ups and downs of life on the playground. Her enthusiasm for school rises and falls based on who held her hand that day. When I picked her up recently, she told me, "Mommy, I only got two hugs today, and that is just not enough!"

Even at her tender age, Mary Ashley recognizes her need for affection. She is not alone. We all need love to thrive, but our paths cross daily with many who are barely surviving. John 13:35 reminds us, "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another" (NASB). As Christians, our acts of kindness can help people of the world feel embraced by the love of God. A sincere compliment might be the first word of praise a co-worker has heard all day. A hug can remind a widow that she is not alone. Even something as simple as removing shopping carts from a handicapped parking space shows love to people we do not even know.

I hope Mary Ashley's heart will always be so full. As she matures in her understanding of God's love for her, her love for others will grow as she sees His heart for the world. After all, Jesus loved us enough to spread His arms on the cross. And that is a hug that will always be enough.

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