Monday, December 29, 2014

6 Little Words

Years ago, I was helping out at Jack's Christmas party at school. I think it may have been 5th grade. One of the activities was to have the kids write something they could give Jesus for Christmas. I can't remember what they did after that-- perhaps we hung it in a tiny stocking on Christmas Eve. I do remember watching Jack as he sat, pencil in hand, and wondering what he would write. Would he take the assignment seriously, or would he make up something silly? The other kids were writing, and writing, and writing. Were the promising they would be more obedient in the coming year, be better siblings, or give their allowances to the needy? I never knew. But I did see Jack write something on his piece of paper and fold it up into a teeny tiny bundle. At some point later I had a chance to snoop look at it. This is what it said:


I want to love you more
 
6 little words.

I realized in that moment that my heart and my son's hearts were the same. There were many things I could do and could promise to "give" to God in the coming year, but my true desire was to love Him more. And I believed that loving Him more would help me love others better.

But even then, I knew I couldn't WILL myself into more love. I couldn't generate love either, although LOVING ACTIONS can often lead to feelings of love. I knew then, and I know even more now, that as long as I am living in this world with family, friends, neighbors, and strangers, I will need more love than I have. Slights linger. Hurts dull but resist healing. Expectations seem unmet. I don't love God as much as I wish I did (and He's, um, GOD), so how on earth can I love wretched humans like me? Especially me?

Last night Margaret and I finished reading The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. Corrie tells of touring the world speaking of love and hope amidst horrible circumstances, something she learned first-hand while imprisoned in a concentration camp after helping Dutch Jews evade capture during WWII. At one of her speeches after the war, a former SS guard that Corrie recognized stretched out his hand to her. He was full of contrition as he thanked her for her message of God's forgiveness. Corrie couldn't shake it. All of the memories of the camp filled her mind and her heart. She couldn't lift her hand from her side. Despite God's faithfulness and provision, despite all she knew and preached about forgiveness, Corrie could not take his hand. It was simply too much to ask her to do. She prayed, but nothing happened.

"I felt nothing, not the slightest spark of warmth or charity. And so again I breathed a silent prayer. 'Jesus I cannot forgive him. Give your forgiveness.'"

"Into my heart sprang a love for this stranger that almost overwhelmed me. And so I discovered that is its not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world's healing hinges, but on His. When he tells us to love our enemies, He gives, along with the command, the love itself."

This made me think again of Jack's "gift" those years ago. 6 little words. It was nothing, really, that Jack could give on his own. Jack needed the receiver of the gift to do the providing, to be the giver of LOVE.

So perhaps the only gift I can give this year is really a humble, silent prayer. For more love to love God with, and for His love to give me what I so desperately need in order to love others.


More Love.

Love More.

Love.

p.s. If you usually find out about my posts via Facebook. please enter your email address in the box on the blog sidebar. In 2 days Facebook is changing its policies and will no long let "business" pages share links without paying for them. If you subscribe by email, you won't miss a post!

19 comments:

Sybil@PeaceitallTogether said...

What wonderful words! Jack was so wise beyond his years. More of God and more of his love puts everything into perspective, doesn't it? Wishing you a joyful new year, Anna! I had not heard that about FB...good to know :)

Susie - Recovering Church Lady said...

The older I get the more I learn that everything comes back to loving more.

Jen said...

Love this! Thanks Anna!

Pam said...

So powerful. Thank you for sharing.

Kathleen Smith said...

So simple yet so profound - Love this !

Sherri said...

Well said... those little words add upto something big. xo

Jennifer Marshall said...

I want to love Him more, too. Thank you, Jack and Anna, for teaching me. xoxo

Alexandra Rosas said...

He always was an exceptional child. Oh, Jack, you lived and knew a lifetime's worth of wisdom.

My Inner Chick said...

beautiful.
insightful.
tender.
I wonder if Jack met Kay yet?
---Anna, I thank GOD that this is not our home. xx

Lisa Ancona-Roach said...

These words mean a great deal to me. Thank you for them.

Anonymous said...

I love your writing--it is/you are such a gift. Thank you for sharing your wisdom--I am grateful beyond what you will ever know.

IrishRN07 said...

This is officially my favorite post. What an amazing boy. What an amazing mom. What an amazing God.
xoxo
Maureen

Lady Jennie said...

I am storing these words in my heart.

Martha Diener said...

Anen n Amen.we want to love christ more! Your son Jack was a boy with wisdom!!

Debby@Just Breathe said...

I wish I had Jack's wisdom at his age. What a beautiful thing he wrote down. I doubt that any of the other children knew God that well.....

claire plante said...

Anna,

I love this. Thank you so much as always for your beautiful writing.

xoxo
Claire

p.s. I tried to enter my email so that I can get email updates (since Facebook changed its policy) but I'm not sure it went through…..

Jennifer said...

Oh. Our hearts seem to be linked right now. I read this post earlier this week and it fall so in line with what you wrote here (http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/2448.htm). I love when God keeps sending me the same message over and over and over.

Jen said...

This is so beautiful. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. That is my goal in this new year - to love God more, and seek His light. This was perfect timing for me to hear.

Chris Carter said...

Oh my heart. This is just amazingly powerful. I love what Jack wrote and I love how you expanded on this beautiful truth.