Driving through carpool line, Andrew held his bag of Valentine’s treats in his lap. I felt awful knowing that what he had to give to his classmates wasn’t nearly as cute and fun as what he would receive.
But as we inched closer to the front of the school, Andrew asked when they’d be passing out candy in class. He didn’t care that his treats weren’t decorated with cartoon characters and hearts or any indications of Valentine’s Day at all. But I did!
Andrew had reminded me the night before that he needed treats to share with his classmates the next day, and I had none. What kind of mom forgets Valentine’s treats for her third-grade son?
After I got the boys to bed, I ran to Target where the Valentine’s aisle looked like a bomb had exploded. Mismatched candy and gifts were everywhere but no appropriate elementary school cards or treats were to be found.
With no other option in site, 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 Valentine’s Day surprise when Andrew got home from school. Before it was his turn to get out of the car, I tried to think of a question that might help me figure out what to buy him.
“Andrew, what makes you feel loved?” I asked.
He thought for a minute and 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. 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 won’t forget him, even when I forget important things for him?
This is love? Even though I was grouchy the day before, so much so that Andrew asked if I was mad about something, more than once?
It’s been a over decade since that day, but I’ll never forget the words that spilled out of my little boy’s heart so effortlessly — words that changed the way I pressured myself into believing I had to be the perfect mom, words that helped me see God’s love for me.
As I drove home that morning, I wondered what I would say if God asked me what makes me feel loved.
Andrew’s words rang true for me too. This is love:
- A promise that is kept.
- A place that is certain.
- Someone who is there for me again and again.
“Lord, this is love: You asking and caring. You being there. You keeping Your promises like You said you would. This is love. ”
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 (NIV)
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 — present and listening, certain 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.
No matter what we are going through today, we can live and love from the overflow of being loved. -@reneeswope: Click To Tweet