How she loves

My Rhema girl has this secret smile.
I don’t know what she’s thinking, but now I know she’s loving.

For so long it seemed that she could take or leave us.

Her only acknowledgement of our existence seemed to be when she wanted something. Never making eye contact, she’d drag me to the refrigerator and thrust my hand toward a food item.

She’s never been the kid to greet me with excitement like most children do when a parent arrives at school. In fact, I’m happy if she looks in my direction.

People come in and out of her life, and there’s never any indication that she misses them or notices their absence.

Nowadays, when she shows affection – she hugs (kind of) or climbs you like a jungle gym – but it’s still rather new and random (and back-breaking.)

She does not vocally express care for us.

I’ve learned to be ok with that. I’ve said before: I don’t need her to say or show that she loves me. My mothering is not validated by how she acknowledges me or appreciates my efforts. I do what I do simply because I love her.  

Still when she demonstrates that we are special to her, when she loves us in her own Rhema way – it’s deep, pure, spontaneous, sweetly shy yet undeniable, beautiful.

The times I glimpse this most is when Brandon returns after a long absence. A local news station captured it when he came home last year after 14 months in Iraq. People even wondered aloud if she’d “remember” him. Well. She never said a word, but her love spoke volumes as she rubbed her face against his, hugged his neck and belly-laughed.

All this time, I did not know. I’d underestimated her capacity for love.

The thing is… not only does she love, she loves so much, more than I even understand.

In the Bible, Paul prayed for us to know the “extravagant dimensions” of the love of Christ. That we would “comprehend what is the breadth, and length, and depth and height” of it. How much do we minimize how He loves us? How often do we live trudging and fighting a way through the day, our best solo act, unaware of the greatest life-giving Love, there all along? If only we’d really open our eyes to see, our hearts to believe….

Has he love? Well, there is not a drop of love in his heart which is not yours; you may dive into the immense ocean of his love, and you may say of it all, “It is mine.” ~Charles Spurgeon

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*Photo credit: my friend, Carrie
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13 thoughts on “How she loves

  1. I know when she hugged me with a tight embrace and not letting go at church one Sunday I was blessed. Years of praying for her in the secret closet I felt as if that day she personally told me thank you and please continue. …God is not done with me yet. In return in the silence of my heart I said, my pleasure to labor with you Rema. More to come to see how God has given her a way to feel and express all and more you will see in the many days to come. Sis Taggart

  2. I’m reminded when you write of those times when she shows no outward love or affection yet still you love, that you don’t NEED those things to be validated, that this is how God loves each one of us. I have never understood that in such a clear way…how “we love because He first loved us,” when He had no specific reason to. Thank you Rhema for teaching me about the true nature of God.

  3. Yes, if we truly knew how much God loves us, we would never feel any sort of lack, ever again.

    I love Rhema’s sweet little curl in that photo. Such a beautiful girl. I love your devotion to your girls.

  4. “I don’t need her to say or show that she loves me. My mothering is not validated by how she acknowledges me or appreciates my efforts. I do what I do simply because I love her”
    you are simply amazing

  5. Your pictures capture your little lady in such a beautiful way. The curls, the eyelashes, the profile. Absolute perfection. Love the video. Still wiping tears.

  6. I am always amazed at what goes through their minds when it looks like they are ignoring us or just not present. I have learned there is a wealth of love in there and they are indeed very aware and capable of just as much as we are. Sometimes even more so.

    Beautiful post.

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