Some things just help us feel good. Some things make us feel special and loved. It can be little things to some; big things to others. But there's something about the things that make us feel loved. For some it's a bright sunny morning. The breeze that makes trees sway. The chill on a spring morning. The damp feeling on our skin after sitting on the shore for a while. Walks by the sea. Walks in the woods. High mountain peaks. Benches on city parks. Famous paintings. A child's scribbles. Phone conversations with distant loved ones. A brief text with three simple words... I love you. The feeling is the same, but what does it look like for you?
My friend shared with me that her recently adopted daughter woke up this morning with a new found desire to express herself. And so this little one planted big open-mouth wet kisses on her over and over again. I could just imagine her too. She is just a toddler and hasn't even been here in the states one full month yet. So she's transitioning and getting acclimated with what is now her home and family. To say it hasn't been easy is an understatement. So the fact that today she woke up to plant sloppy wet kisses on her mommy's face, makes for a good day!
I got to spend time with my own daughter today doing something that feels special to the both of us. We drove out to one of my favorite places for breakfast and simply sat together and enjoyed what we like to call intricate foods. The background music in the quiet relaxed atmosphere, the large cup of decaf sprinkled with cinnamon served with tasty quiche, the pleasant service, the fresh lavender flowers on the table, the curious paintings on the wall, the vast variety of cookies and pastries inside the glass case, the homey feeling we get every time we go there, just gives us a good feeling inside. I'm not one for comparing material things to heaven on earth, but today I had to reconsider. As I sipped on the coffee and ate off the plate, I felt like God was planting a big wet kiss on my forehead, and I felt special... loved. To top things off, my daughter and I sat beside each other afterwards to do some reading. She read her book, while I read mine; and then, I can't remember who extended her hand first, but as we read, we held hands for a long while. Another wet one from above planted on our heads.
Later I had a conversation with someone I met a while ago. He is now twenty years old, and although he's doing the best he can living life as an adult, he is still very much without the guidance and care of parents. He grew up in an orphanage and is now trying to make it on his own. Then again, that's what he's been doing his entire life. Making it on his own. This guy is amazing. He tells me that he is doing service work to help minority people with things like work, education, and finances. He tells me he is in need of a real job and education, but is thankful that he has a place to call home and food to eat. He tells me that he is not concerned about the future. He lives for today. He says he likes to wake up each new morning and wonder what the day will bring. He lives in the moment. And he is at peace with that. He called himself strong. I reminded him that he is strong because there is a God who has been making him strong. I reminded him about how God has brought people and opportunities into his life to help him be strong simply because He loves him. And he agreed.
And so I wonder... what would make someone like him feel special and loved? Would something as ordinary as a cup of coffee or a plate of tasty food do the trick? Would a homey cafe help? I'm not sure, although I think he would enjoy it. But I have an inkling that he would trade in a cup of coffee for a long walk and conversation. I think simply spending time together would suit him just fine.
Sloppy wet kisses come in a variety of ways. And no matter what they look like, one thing remains.... God loves us.
I'm currently reading a book titled, "No Longer a Slumdog" by K.P. Yohannan, and it's got me thinking very reflectively about things of real value and those who are lacking. The book tells of different real life stories about children who face all sorts of abuse and neglect in foreign countries. It tells of occurrences that we cannot even imagine actually take place. In essence, the book serves as an eye-opener to the reality of suffering in the world. It leaves you wondering how you can make a difference, if at all you can. And so as I read and my heart is breaking into a thousand pieces knowing that there is a little girl tonight, same age as mine, hiding in a room, while the men line up outside her door to get their turn with her. My heart breaks and I cry out where is her sloppy wet kiss from heaven?! Where are the sloppy wet kisses for the children who suffer in this world, while I'm sipping on my cup of coffee? Does God not love them? And if He does, how will they know they're loved?
And then I read about the stories of the children who have found hope and love because of Christians who have sought them out and brought them hope. Children being freed from bondage because someone cared enough. I read that God does love these children. They are not forgotten by God. But if I'm honest, would I dare to say that I'd give up all of these pretty little things that make me feel so special just so that children would no longer suffer? Would I dare enough to give up all the sloppy wet kisses that God allows me just so that one child will be free of pain? And what if I don't dare?
I'm envisioning my future daring... I envision myself walking alongside those children, talking with them and sharing with them. Showering them and loving on them. While God plants lots of wet sloppy kisses on them.
He gave up His own son to set us all free. Because He loves us. ---- I will surely gather them from all the lands where I banish them in my furious anger and great wrath; I will bring them back to this place and let them live in safety. Jeremiah 32:37
*If you'd like to know how you can financially help the young man I mentioned above, please send me a private message on facebook.