<<< THIS. It's my favorite part of the day.
There's this moment each morning when our children emerge from their bedroom (yes, all four of them share one room) and slide into bed with their daddy and I. Whether it's one minute or twenty minutes at the start of the day, all snuggled up together, head to heart, heart to heart, wrapped in our arms, eye to eye, bad breath to bad breath... The connection we begin the day with is priceless. It's felt. There's a deep knowing of one another that is unspoken and needed.
One morning, I was staring at Sammy as he lay there glassy-eyed and groggy. My mind wandered to the fact that I have no expectations of him to perform for me or to say anything to me in that moment in my arms to validate me as his mother. I just love holding him. Connecting with him. Being with him. Looking at him. Hearing him breathe. Smelling his sweaty matted hair. I whispered to him... "I'm so glad daddy and I have you. God must really love us to let us be your mommy and daddy."
When he whispered back confidently and sweetly, "Yeah, you can keep me" as he turned in to snuggle even closer, as if there was still space between us.
Paul and I have a little saying to all of our children that bubbles up out of us when we think our hearts may burst with love for them and we simply say, "Oooooh I love you so much... Can I please keep you?" fully knowing it's our job to let them go and release them into their destiny and calling as they grow. BUT we know this statement communicates our love and the undying connection that we will have all the days of our lives no matter our geographic location.
We deeply LOVE them. We purposefully CONNECT with them.
I was hanging out with God a couple of weeks ago when I heard these words in my spirit, as if a great multitude were shouting out from the depths of their souls and I could hear their cry...
And LOVE me. Like truly LOVE all of me even after you've SEEN all of me and KNOW who I really am."
Every life is seeking out LOVE and CONNECTING in a world STARVING for ATTENTION.
What does a baby need when they are born? Connection to a mother and father bursting with a love that would do anything to provide for their every need. That true love, brings a deep connection.
Maybe you're lonely, totally depressed. Maybe you never had a deep connection to your mother and father. Maybe a deep sadness seems to be hovering over you that you just can't seem to shake. Maybe you're seeking connection through touch and sex with uncommitted partners that leave you feeling more alone. This moment of grasping for a feeling of intimacy and love that passes in a moment and leaves you more empty than before. Maybe you medicate in various ways so you don't have to feel the pain of your loneliness. Maybe you're surrounded by a crowd of people, yet still feel so alone.
Oh, how this momma's heart wants to hug you, and squeeze you and tell you - you're not alone.
There is a heartbeat, a love and affection that you seek in the touch of another that can only be found in the arms of the One who thought your life was worth rescuing and dying for. You need only still yourself in His presence. Weep if you must weep. Tell Him all your thoughts and fears. Scream out the deep loneliness and let be absorbed in His all consuming presence. Let the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit envelope your being. Surrender your all, even if you think it won't work. Turn up the music so loud that it wraps around you to warm your soul like a thick, soft blanket on a freezing night. Stop thinking and feel for a moment... yes, feel all of it. Then let Him hold you like I hold my children in the morning. Connect. Know. Breathe. Your head on His heartbeat.
It's here that the attention and affection you seek, is met with pure LOVE in the arms of the One that created you and KNOWS you. You are deeply known. You are deeply loved.
I believe prophetically that this is the year of LOVE and CONNECTION.
Connection to a God that sees us, knows us and LOVES us anyway. And Connection to one another. I believe that the light of God longs to illuminate the darkness in our hearts, so that who He is, can clean out the cobwebs and cause us to connect deeply with Him and in turn, love one another.
"9 Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. 10 Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. 11 But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them." - 1 John 2:9-11 NIV
When we are connected to Him, His light is in us illuminating our hearts and our way. We can't help but love one another (even when we disagree, are mad, or offended) and be connected in true and loving community. BECAUSE HIS LIGHT AND LOVE IS IN US! We need each other.
Loved people love people and make the love of God known.
Being known and still loved after we're truly known is pretty scary. But being alone - that's devastating and detrimental to the human heart. When we isolate ourselves from God and loving (imperfect) community, we rage against all wise judgment. (Proverbs 18:1 NKJV)
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” - John 13:34-35 NIV
I want the world to look at the church and be blown away at our love for one another. Not just a spoken love, but one that is seen in action. I want them to see that we're following Jesus and His life, not some religious list of rules. I want them to see what they have been seeking and not yet finding. I want them to find true LOVE and CONNECTION in a world starving for attention and I don't just want them to see it looking from the outside in. I want them encounter it when they encounter me - when they encounter us. I want them to taste and see that God is oh so good. I want my neighbors, the parents in the schoolyard, the cashier, the guy on the subway, the girl weeping on the street, the person who walks into church scared for the first time afraid they'll be rejected... I want them to encounter the LOVE OF GOD by the words that come out of my mouth, the hands I've been given to serve and heal, and the life that I live in love and connection.
Love and connection to a God that sees me, knows me and loves me... And connection to a community who's love for one another can be seen and actually change the world.
We were never meant to do life alone.