The Treasure Chest of Love

The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”   Matthew 25:40

top of cake

Some people dread getting older. For me, another birthday has not only been fun, but a desirable outcome.

I  was especially excited as the morning dawned on my milestone birthday. I read Psalm 139, and thanked God for making me, fearfully and wonderfully. I thanked Him for giving me each of the  preordained days that He wrote into His book before my substance was formed (Psalm 139:13-16).

That morning, Gracie and I began our daily routine of going to the dog park. The dog park has afforded me the opportunity to make friends with more of God’s wonderfully and fearfully made people (and yes, dogs too). People who need a listening ear, people who share their expertise, people who need to have a loving Presence in their life. These friends gave their love in a birthday card and with hugs.

Side of cake

That night after work, our son-in-law cooked a special birthday dinner. Our daughter presented the cake that she baked and decorated.

Then our oBirthday Cardther daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren joined us on webcam. This daughter’s love gift was a darling handmade birthday card.

My family gave me tickets to attend an upcoming Sound of Music play together: memory making at its finest.

However, the celebration was not over. A few days later, due to a shipping glitch, a dozen chocolateRoses-covered strawberries and two dozen gorgeous roses were delivered. Since my siblings and I don’t exchange presents on our birthdays, this was their huge, loving surprise.

Thank you all for the refill of my love bucket!

Reflecting on my celebration, I am humbled. Despite their busy schedules or limited funds, each of my family gave, as unto God, to the least of His. They did it just for me.

This past week, I’ve meditated on Matthew 25:40. (Interestingly, my friend, Vickie Henderson, had this verse on her heart too.) My reflections have made me question my own motives. Do I give my time to others, even when I’m exhausted? Do I judge peoples’ choices and give to those who seem worthy? Do I care about filling others’ love buckets? Do I give to others to receive something? Or, do I give to God’s fearfully and wonderfully made creations, simply because it’s a request from the God of unconditional love?

This meditation has altered my thinking. Instead of looking at someone critically, I now think: God made them fearfully and wonderfully. He perfectly molded them through their life’s experiences. No judging, just loving!

Yesterday’s love gifts are now stuffed into my heart’s treasure chest to be remembered over again, especially on life’s cold days. I’m grateful for the reminder to give forever love gifts to the least of these.

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He Doesn’t Bring Me Flowers

Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They’re really doing themselves a favor—since they’re already “one” in marriage.     Ephesians 5:25-28 (MSG)

HeartHe says he doesn’t bring me flowers because “they just die.” But I say those sweet smelling petals folded into perfect rose buds are the traditional way to say, “I love you.” But, he still doesn’t bring me flowers.

Instead, each morning I’m awakened to a shower of kisses rather than the annoying buzz of an alarm clock. I drag my half-asleep self to the shower. There are no flowers on the bathroom counter. Instead, there’s a steaming cup of coffee to help me pry my eyelids open.

In the middle of my workday, when the stress level is building and I just don’t think I can handle anymore, the phone rings. It’s not the florist with a delivery. Instead, it’s my husband’s comforting voice, “I love you. How are you doing?” My heart melts to think that he cares so much for me that he stopped his busy day to call me. No, he doesn’t bring me flowers.

Driving home, my heart is heavy with the burdens of the day’s problems. Then, I think of the tasks that must be completed before bed tonight. Throw in a load of wash. Make dinner. Unload the dishwasher. The list is long.

Fatigued, I change and head to the kitchen to begin the evening’s chores. No, I don’t find any flowers on the counter. Instead, I find an empty dishwasher and cabinets full of clean dishes—evidence of his lunch hour handiwork.

In the evening, despite his own business challenges, he asks, “What can I do to help?” We pack lunches for the next day, make dinner, fold the wash, and make coffee for the morning—together. Oh, how light the load is together!

Exhausted, we fall into our bed. There are no flowers on the dresser, but he takes my hand in his and whispers, “You know what? I sure do love you.”

I breathe a prayer, Thank you, Father, for creating this adoring husband just for me.

I’m glad he doesn’t bring me flowers that fade like yesterday. I much prefer his forever gift: his love.