Here are Riley (5) and Joel (3)
And my sweet little Hannah Joy (almost 1)
Aren't they adorable?! I can hardly stand it! It is so hard living so far away from my babies, but I am blessed to get to see them every summer and Christmas.
I remember one particular night two years ago at Christmastime when our whole family was together, and my parents had a house full of family and friends over for dinner. At one point during the evening, I was lying on the couch just observing everyone so happy with their spouses next to them and my heart began to hurt for what I so longed for but did not yet have.
I suddenly became very aware of my feelings of loneliness in this crowded room and although I was surrounded by people who loved me, I began to feel insignificant. No one knew about the internal pity party I was having for myself, and I continued to watch as everyone carried on in laughter.
After awhile, I watched as my nephew, Riley - who was 3 at the time - started walking my direction with a candy cane in his mouth and a big grin on his face. He walked right up to where I was lying down, turned his head to the side so that he was looking at me square in the eye, and with candy cane still in his mouth, he mumbled, "I love you Aunt Jeny!" My eyes started tearing up as I said, "I love you too baby."
He then proceeded to do something that he has NEVER done before to this day. It is important to note that at the time he was a very independant little boy and wasn't one who liked to snuggle much. He has since become a whole lot more affectionate, but I want you to know that this was NOT something that happened all the time - what he did next was EXTREMELY out of the norm for him.
With everyone still talking and unaware of what was going on, he proceeded to hop up on the couch and positioned himself in between my back and the couch cushions. He then took that candy cane out of his mouth, and with his sticky little peppermint lips began to kiss my cheek over and over again. Every few kisses, he would stop, look at me and say, "I love you Aunt Jeny" and then would begin kissing me again. Tears started streaming down my face when all of a sudden I caught a glimpse of my other nephew, Joel (who was just 1 at the time). He had grabbed on to the coffee table, pulled himself up, turned around and looked at me with a smile that would melt anyone's heart. As he stood there looking at me with that big smile on his face, my eyes were drawn to the words on his little onesie he was wearing. In bold letters, it read, "My Daddy Loves Me."
Just then, like a wave - it hit me. My heavenly Daddy had orchestrated that whole thing. He knew what I was feeling in that moment and chose such a precious way to remind me how much He loved me. My feelings may have been hidden from everyone else in that house, but not from Him. It was like He was saying, "Baby Girl - I know your heart is hurting, but I want you to know that you MATTER to Me! You are NEVER alone, and I love you like no one else could ever love you!"
On this Valentine's Day (and every day), God wants you to know how much you are treasured and loved by Him, precious one! No matter if you are single, widowed, divorced, dating or married - know that HIS love is like no other! No human love could ever compare to the love your heavenly Daddy has for you! He LOVES YOU with a perfect love. He doesn't just feel love towards you or even choose to love you - He IS love! (I John 4:8) That is the very essence of who He is!
Listen to just a few of the things He has to say to you straight out of the love letter of His word:
"Don't be afraid, I've redeemed you. I've called your name. You're Mine. When you're in over your head, I'll be there with you. When you're in rough waters, you will not go down. When you're between a rock and a hard place, it won't be a dead end - Because I am God, your personal God, The Holy of Israel, your Savior. I paid a huge price for you...That's how much you mean to Me! That's how much I love You! I'd sell off the whole world to get you back, trade the creation just for you."
Isaiah 43:2-4 MSG
"Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you! See, I have written your name on the palms of My hands." Isaiah 49:15-16a NLT
"I have loved you with an everlasting love. That is why I have continued to be faithful to you."
Jeremiah 31:3b NET
These are just a few of the MANY expressions of love God wrote directly to you from His heart onto the pages of scripture. His biggest display of love was when He gave His life for you on the cross. If you are feeling unloved today, picture His arms stretched out in this beautiful act of love and hear Him saying, "Your Daddy loves you!"
You are loved precious child of God!
Happy Valentine's Day!