The other morning I was rushing around trying to get ready while my four-year-old was standing in my bathroom, asking me questions. He watched me use my eye lash curler, and then he tried it himself. As we were chit-chatting about all my beauty products and what they do, he said out of the blue, “Mama, your eyes are pretty and your ear wax tastes good!” I tried hard not to laugh, because I knew he had just tried to craft his words into a statement of love. “Thanks, buddy, I really appreciate it”.
Lately I’ve noticed his efforts to connect with me. Recently when I got ready to go out with his daddy for a rare date-night, he said I looked “beauuutiful”. My son is very verbal. He has always been unafraid to talk to people when we are out and about. The first question he asks every morning when he wakes up is, “who are we gonna see?” The wirings God infused in him for enjoying people are already evident. He relishes creative conversations with his dad and I, and he longs for restoration with us when we have to correct him.
But the other day he brought tears to my eyes as I recognized something important he was learning, and in turn teaching me. I had been sick for a few days, and he was enjoying the novelty of playing with my cough drops. While I was getting him and his little brother packed up in the car for a grocery trip, he ran back into the house and stuffed a bunch of cough drops into his pocket. I was a little annoyed because I was trying to get us out the door. On the way to the store he must have asked a hundred times if I needed a cough drop. My repeated “no thank you” turned into, “I’m fine. You don’t need to ask me anymore!”
I got them in the cart, into the store, and we were finally making progress. And then I started coughing…..
“Mama, do you need a cough drop?”
I accepted it…..and yet another. And I realized how much I needed his little act of love. In my heart I stopped and thanked God for my son’s display of something God has been impressing upon me. Then I remembered the verse that just days before, I found myself studying in a coffee shop.
1 John 3:18
“Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue,
but with actions and in truth.”
I tell my boys how much I love them all the time. I tell my husband, too. I love connecting with people through meaningful conversations, and reaching out with my words is not a struggle for me. But putting actions behind my love is something I don’t always find easy.
Watching my son move from verbally telling me how he felt about me, to choosing to act on his feelings was one of the most surprising and humbling moments I’ve had as a mom. Active love stopped me in my tracks and it challenged me.
We tend to emphasize loving acts that are big, for all eyes to see. But sometimes the smaller ones are the most meaningful…..like a little hand holding out a cough drop at just the right moment.
By Kristin Gordley, Moments In the Story