It’s my pleasure to welcome Christina Hubbard to the blog today. Christina is a member of the Five Minute Friday community, and she recently released a new e-book, called Five Ways to Love Like You Mean It.
There’s a limit to my love.
I always see it in the lack of gummy worms on my frozen yogurt at our local self-serve dessert dive. My kids, on the other hand, do their dishes up right with piles of waffle cone bits, whipped cream, and cherries.
They seize the moment to fill up on every sweet thing, as kids will do because they know how good a little extra on top makes us feel. They understand something wonderful about the limitless way God wants us to experience life, a secret I often forget.
On a recent afternoon, I found myself standing between the terrific choice of sweet cream and strawberry yogurt. The kids heaped their cups full of Heath bar chunks, goji berries, and sprinkles at the all-you-can-eat candy smorgasbord.
“Look, Mom! I’m getting strawberries! That’s healthy.” Kyle proudly showed me his creation. He saw how my shoulders slumped and my eyes flashed, “Too much.”
The cashier measured ounces of chocolate, cinnamon, cupcake, and raspberry swirls. Dollops of Hershey bar, Heath bar chunks, peanut butter cup, and gummy worms practically fell onto the silver scale.
“That’ll be $19.09,” the cashier said. I picked my jaw up off the floor and paid up. I looked at my bowl, so conservative and neat with just enough berries for a bird.
The difference of a few dollars shouldn’t have mattered so much, but I saw how the family behind us paid $11 for three cups. I couldn’t let it go.
I peered at the other family’s half-filled cups and back at the kids’ dishes exploding with color. I sighed heavily.
“Guys, you can’t eat that much.” The scolding exited my lips before I could repent.
“Sorry, Mom,” my daughter said sheepishly. “We promise we won’t do it again.” She couldn’t hide her grin, the joy gleaming behind her apology. Oh, how a limitless gift of sugar can thrill a little girl’s soul.
For days, I wondered why I had such a hard time letting go of a few bucks for my kids. Maybe I was a sugar control freak or a tyrant of food waste.
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.” -1 John 3:1 NIV
I had failed to remember the two best reasons in the world a mother has to splurge. How it is a privilege to show my kids they are loved beyond comparison with an extravagant treat. Later I apologized to the kids and resolved to look for more opportunities to share the limitless affection of the Father, whose love breaks the scale every time.
What this world needs more than limits is the excessive sharing of God’s love. Unexpected, extravagant, and abundantly sweet. I’m talking about a lavish love so over-the-top, it makes people wonder, “Why are you doing this for me?” That’s the secret to the kind of love that captures the very heart of God: like the richest chocolate or a dish of frozen yogurt with the works.
Here are three practices that help me love without bounds:
Doing what the other person chooses. I always gain a lesson in selflessness with this one.
Sharing something I hold dear.
Giving out of the ordinary. (Ice cream after school, an unexpected gift, a surprise phone call.)
It’s always worth the cost to lavish others with the Father’s love. Even if it means paying for a few extra gummy worms.
How did you feel the last time someone loved you with a little extra on top?
Check out my new e-book for more great ideas to love people better: 5 Ways To Love Like You Mean It.
Christina Hubbard is a writer and poet who shares about identity, worth, and the creative process to help others find God’s imagination in their own lives. She loves her motley tribe by reading great books together, making wonderful messes, and giving them plenty of space to run free on the suburban prairie of Kansas. Connect with her at http://www.creativeandfree.com.