August 1, 2019
Some Encouragement Just For You
“Long ago the Lord said to Israel: ‘I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.’” (Jeremiah 31:3, NLT)
Friend to Friend
When our kids were younger, we had gathered as a family around the pull up bar in the upstairs hall to see our oldest son, Preston, display his thirteen year old man-cub strength. Like a chimpanzee, he pulled his lanky frame up and down with ease, impressing us all. When he tired to exhaustion, Preston dropped down and met our enthusiastic applause with a satisfied grin.
As the clapping and praise died down, my then nine-year old daughter, Kennedy, decided to give the pull up bar a try. Lifted to the high metal pole by her strong daddy, she gave her best effort but fell short of her desired goal. With a slightly disappointed – but not defeated – expression, she dropped to the floor, seemingly understanding that it would be a while until her upper body strength could support numerous pull up attempts.
Then my middle child man-cub jumped up to join the pull up party. At two years younger than Preston, Hunter struggled to raise and lower his youthful, tween body on the bar. After a few minor successes – and even more fumbled attempts – Hunter dropped to his feet with a scowl and stomped away angrily.
Before he got too far, my husband and I spoke words of encouragement to him.
They rolled off his wilted shoulders.
He was frustrated to the point of anger.
In his eleven-year old mind, he thought that he should be able to do what his older brother could do. He wanted the spontaneous, enthusiastic applause of an impressed gathering – not the parental encouragement to “keep working on it.”
So he grumbled and stewed.
After a few cool-down moments, my husband called Hunter over to have a private daddy chat. Brad gently confronted Hunter on the negative behavior he displayed. Then, he spoke words of life to Hunter’s little boy heart.
With eyes that communicated understanding and remorse, Hunter looked at my husband and vulnerably confessed, “I’m sorry, Dad, I just really like attention…especially from you and mom.”
A beautiful love moment followed.
Our days are filled with teachable moments.
Sometimes we teach children.
Sometimes they teach us.
Hunter’s voice echoed across the globe as he spoke on behalf of all the children of the world. Every child wants attention. Every child wants love.
But that longing doesn’t stop at childhood. His words ring true in the heart of you and me too. Don’t they? Each of uswants to be loved. We all wear invisible signs that say things like, “Please notice me!” “Tell me I’m special.” “Tell me I matter… that I’m valuable… that you appreciate me.” “Show me that you love me...and really mean it!”
“Long ago the Lord said to Israel: “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.” (Jeremiah 31:3, NLT)
In spite of God’s love at times our hearts ache an unfulfilled longing, a perceived inadequacy, a devastating loss, or a gaping heart wound. Might I encourage each of you today? Whether you are a mother, a grandmother, a sister or a daughter. Whether you are single, married, widowed or divorced. Whether your loved ones value and cherish you or wound you with broken behavior, you are perfectly loved, known and cherished by God.
Just as He spoke those words to His children, the Israelites, long ago, God speaks across the universe today to each invisible sign...to each daughter’s heart: “I notice you!” “You are special to me.” “You matter, are valuable and are made beautifully in My image.” “I love you...perfectly...eternally...completely, and I really mean it.”
He showed us through the death and resurrection of His son, Jesus.
He speaks it through His Word.
His Spirit whispers it to the hearts of His children continuously.
Are you listening? Can you hear the whispers?
Dear God, You are always worthy of my attention, my affection, my adoration, and my love. To think that You would choose to love me, listen to me, and draw me to Your heart is simply mind-boggling. You are so good! Could You please speak those words of love to my heart again today, Lord?
In Jesus’ Name I pray,
Now It’s Your Turn
Do you believe that God notices you? What do you base that on?
Insert your name into this verse: “Long ago the Lord said to ________________ “I have loved you, _______________, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself, ___________________.” (Jeremiah 31:3, NLT)
Believe it, friend. It’s true.
More from the Girlfriends
Did you ever start a Bible Study and not finish?Yeah, me too.It’s normal and it happens to all of us. But studying the Bible is important to helps us know God more, and to equip us with His power, perspective and peace.
Don’t let the unfinished studies in your desk keep you from going after what you truly know your heart and soul needs. JOIN Girlfriends in God cofounder Gwen Smith for an inductive online Bible study that can be done in the comfort of your home and in a timeframe that fits with your personal schedule. Her next 4-week Psalm Adventure begins on September 8, 2019.
Click here to SIGN UP for the FREE online study.
Originally published Thursday, 01 August 2019.