It’s been a decade since Andrew told me, but I’ll never forget the words that spilled out of my little boys heart so effortlessly. Words that changed the way I pressured myself into believing I had to be the perfect mom.
Driving through carpool line, Andrew held his bag of Valentine treats and asked when they’d be passing them out in class. Code for: Do I have to I wait ALL DAY to stuff excessive amounts of candy in my mouth or will the teacher let us eat all the chocolate we want during morning snack time?
He didn’t care that his treats weren’t decorated with cool cartoon characters and hearts, or any Valentine Day indications at all. But I did!
The night before, Andrew reminded me he needed treats to give his classmates the next day, and I had none. After I got our boys to bed, I ran to Target where the Valentines aisle looked like a bomb had exploded. Mismatched candy and gifts everywhere. No appropriate elementary school cards or treats to be found.
Humiliated, I grabbed a few packs of mini Kit-Kat bars and decided my poor child could write, “From Andrew” with a Sharpie on the back of each treat. I would apologize profusely and promise to never forget again.
The next morning as we drove to school, I wondered if I could make up my for my mom-fail with a big Valentines Day surprise when Andrew got home from school. I knew it could mean another trip back to Target, but instead of assuming I knew what he’d want, I asked “Andrew, what makes you feel loved?”
He thought for a minute and then he said, “THIS.”
“This?” I asked.
“Yeah. This. You being with me. You driving me to school and talking to me about my day. You telling me you’ll be there when I get home. That makes me feel loved and secure. Thanks mom. I love you, bye!”
And he hopped out of the car.
This is love?
You mean, I don’t have to work myself into a tizzy shopping for a toy that will convince my child I don’t forget him, even when I forget important things to him?
I can just be here for him and that will be love. Even though I was a grouchy mom the day before, so much that Andrew asked if I was mad about something, more than once.
This is still love?
I stopped to wonder if God were to ask me what makes me feel loved, what would I say? I thought how true Andrew’s words are:
This is love.
- A promise that is kept.
- A place that is certain.
- Someone being there
- Love being present again and again
Because of my son’s simple child-like heart, I saw what love is.
“Lord, this is love. You asking and caring. You being there. You keeping Your promises like You said you would. This is love. This makes me feel secure.”
And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them . . . . There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect [complete] in love. We love because he first loved us. (1 John 4:16-19)
We are loved. We don’t have to wait for God to show it. He already has.
He promised He’d always be there for us and He is. He is present and listening. Asking and caring.
No matter what we are going through today, we can live and love from the overflow of being loved. We can know and rely on God’s promises and presence and be made complete in Him.
This is love.