My mind is jumbled. As I am typing this, my dear PawPaw is lying in a hospice bed, awaiting his
time to join the company of heaven. PawPaw has never been a churchy guy or a religious man.
He loves Jesus though. You know how I can tell? He loved me well. The fruit of his faith was that
he fiercely loved his people. PawPaw was the best at telling you and showing you he loved you.
Now, maybe he wasn’t the best at that during his younger years. I am certain that his
daughters, one of which is my mother, would tell you that he was a bit of a teaser and they
moved a lot and that didn’t feel loving. He wasn’t the best at expressing feelings or affection in
so many ways, but if you were sick, you got the top of the line treatment. If you had a bad day,
he wanted to make it all better. They moved so often so he could make the money he dreamed
of making to provide the best for his family. Flawed or not, his intentions were to provide and
be better, do better.
Growing up with a PawPaw has been more than I can express. I have always known that I had
something special in him, but watching my own girls receive his precious love has been the
cherry on top. I was telling my husband this evening after we got home from spending time
with PawPaw, that he has always been so intentional about showing his love for us. He has
always been so very vocal about his love for my girls and they know it. Ana is only 13 months
and you can tell she thinks he is something special. Ava is 5 and a half and is wiser than her
years. She was only 19 months old when her little brother died, but she has experienced grief in
her own ways since. Tonight though, I saw a side of her I hadn’t seen yet. She served her
PawPaw with all her heart. She made sure he ate some food, got drinks of water and was loved
on. She was certain that he needed to eat dinner so his tummy wouldn’t growl and wake him
up at night. (Smart one she is and a lover of food too) 🙂 She was right next to him the majority
of the time we were there. Even though he was mostly in deep sleep, she hugged, kissed, talked
to and encouraged her PawPaw. You know where she learned to love like that? Him. He is
always giving her his undivided attention. He forces her, in his own sweet pawpaw way, to learn
a new silly song or hear his joke or watch him draw her a silly stick man picture. He always
listens to her, (even though he can’t hear) and he never misses an opportunity to tell her that
she is precious and loved. I tell you this because it reminded me of how I want to be with Jesus.
He is so intentional, almost forceful in his own sweet way, of making sure I know I am loved,
provided for and seen. He shows me in all the ways; sunrises, birds singing, fresh air, my kids’
giggles, friend’s sweet note in the mail, husband’s embrace, etc. God shows his precious love
for me in ways that I don’t even know sometimes. He is fierce at loving me and wanting me to
know it. So how does my response look? I hope and pray that my response is one like my
daughter’s. I hope that I serve him well. I hope that I sit beside him, at length, to hear his words
for me, to just gaze upon him and be near. I hope that I am willing and brave enough to say,
“What do you need from me, Lord?” “How can I serve you well?” “How can I share this love you
have given me?”
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, you
also are to love one another. By this, all people will know you are my disciples, if you have love
for one another.”
Pretty simple huh. (Yet so very hard so many times)
God is asking us to love others as he loves us. Love God’s people well. Love hard. Love long.
Love deeply. Love when it isn’t easy. Love when it hurts. Love when it isn’t popular. This is a
hard concept. Loving doesn’t cancel out truth bearing. Loving embraces and encourages truth
at all costs, because sharing TRUTH is loving others.
Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of
him who is the head, that is, Christ.
When we love, in truth, we also mature into who God is calling us to be, while intentionally
loving those around us. Extending grace upon grace, we see how much we are loved by a God
who doesn’t have to love us and we extend that grace, love and affection to those God has
placed in our life.
May we ever so carefully, see people the way God does. May we start in our homes, by loving
well, those God has entrusted to us. May we fervently and zealously love our spouses. I cannot
imagine what God could do if every day, we asked ourselves how we could love them better.
What if we actually stopped, listened and responded in a respectful way to our children instead
of pushing aside, looking at the phone, etc. I imagine they would begin to trust us more and
believes us when we speak into them. When they know they have our attention, they know we
care. Let us love the cashier at the store and the waitress at our favorite eatery. May we love
well and live richly in his love.
I pray that you may stop for just a moment and think of someone in your life who intentionally
loved you fiercely. Maybe it was a grandmother or parent? A sibling or a friend? A school
teacher or a coach? Think of them and send them a note. Maybe they have passed away and
that isn’t an option. Do something, for someone, to encourage and edify them, in that person’s
memory or honor. Share the love. Spread the joy. Every time I think of my PawPaw I will be
reminded to not go a day without telling my people I love them and I will remember to be kind
and make others smile, just because I can.
Blessings and love to you all!
1 Thessalonians 5:11
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as you are doing.”