Back in my first year of college, I did some babysitting to make a few extra bucks. (Being a college kid, you get a little desperate for weekend spending $ every now and then! And I loved kids, so it was easy money! Not a lot it, just easy!)
There was this one place I was at once--I didn't even know the people--but the dad was a pastor at one of the many local churches and the mom was a nurse (I think!). They had great kids, older ones who pretty much took care of themselves and just had me around for the entertainment value. I remember walking into the kitchen and seeing this huge bouquet of flowers. I went over, and being very nosy, read the card. It said, "After Jesus Christ and His gift of salvation, you are the best thing that happened to me. I love you. From, ~"
Don't get me wrong--I FULLY agree with what the husband said to his wife. But it was the first time I had ever seen it or heard it phrased that way. My college-romance notion of real love had just plummeted into. . .reality? Wasn't I supposed to be the centre of my boyfriend's world? Wasn't it me who he thought of non-stop? Isn't that what the world around me had taught me about "true love?" Isn't that what the shows and the books and the magazines and the media had brainwashed me into thinking?
It was a great reality check for me at the time, and stuck--as I am now retelling the story as a humble tidbit of truth that I learned. And then out of the blue. . .it happened again!
My daughter and I were having a conversation after an "ouchie" had left her helplessly in my loving arms. And she was just about completely better, so I uttered the words, "I love you so much, honey." And out came her reply: "I love you too, but I love God way better. I love God the best and you are just second." My first reaction was, Okay, you could have stopped at the end of the first sentence. I got it then. You don't have to rub it in! Maybe we have to work on tact! And then that picture of the card in the midst of all those flower came to mind. The words were as clear as if they had just been written, as if I had just walked in that stranger's kitchen and read them.
And then the warm fuzzies came. I sent up a quick prayer--thanking God that He was living so vividly in her. And also thanking God that we, as parents, and anyone else who has had influence into that short life of hers, had done something right in order for her to say that so quickly and easily.
"I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus." -1 Cor. 1:4 (NIV)
"First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. God, whom I serve with my whole heart in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you in my prayers at all times. . ." -Rom 1:8-10a (NIV)
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” -John 13"34-35 (NIV)