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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

I Love You Too Much

Photo Credit:  mensatic from
“I love you too much to let you act that way.”  This is something that I’ve been telling my children recently.  Like most siblings, they fight.  They pick on each other incessantly.  They aggravate.  They take each other’s things.  They find that certain “button” on their brother or sister and they keep pushing it over and over.  They get in each other’s personal space.  They say negative things to each other.  Does any of this sound remotely familiar?

On Sunday, we sat down at the table to enjoy lunch together at home as a family.  Before I even sat down to join them, the cut-downs were already flying across the table.  This time, my husband and I did something different.  Instead of saying, “Don’t do this…don’t do that…stop saying that…apologize to your sister/brother,” we decided it was time to start a compliment circle.

What’s a compliment circle?  Well, we went around the table right that second and each of us had to share a compliment with every single person.  It had to be genuine, sincere, and meaningful.

At first, there were lots of giggles and long pauses.  Then, when they realized we were serious and that none of us would be leaving the table without participating; the wheels starting turning in their heads.

An element of shyness crept into the dining room that afternoon.  They found that it was much easier to dish out the nasty stuff than the nice stuff.  They became humble and a bit bashful.  Like my sister-in-law shared with me, “Every now and then, people need a slice of humble pie.” (Love it, Steph!)

Anyway, we went round and round the table several times.  Honestly, it became quite fun.  We were all anxious to listen closely for what would be said next.  It felt so good to hear the compliments and kind words.  The kids were smiling and “thank you” was certainly the phrase of the day.  We finished that meal on a much more joyful note than when we’d started it.  Why?  Because of the beautiful gift of words.  I know my children love each other dearly, but sometimes they have a funny way of showing it. 

Oftentimes, I feel that God looks at us and shakes His head as He says, “I love you too much to let you act that way.”  It’s so easy to lose sight of all the positive in our lives and focus on the negative.  We much more readily dish out the nasty instead of the nice.  We aggravate each other (many times, on purpose).  We push each other’s buttons.  We fight.  We cut each other down.

As a child, I remember having a small statue of a little troll that had his arms stretched out as wide as they would go.  On the statue were the words, “I love you THIS much!”  I remember looking at that statue and thinking that that was how much my parents loved me and how much God loved me.  I treasured that feeling.

In reflecting on God’s great love, I ran across a sweet story from Mikey and wanted to share it with you, too:

What is the deal with lightning bugs?  I mean, here is this rather ordinary looking flying insect, but wait ... it has a glow-in-the-dark rear end!  What was God thinking?

I'm sure science has all kinds of explanations about how this fluorescent fanny is useful for mating and other stuff, but why did God choose to make the lightning bug glow?  I wonder if, when God was creating all the animals and everything around us, He came up with the idea of the lightning bug and said, "The kids are gonna love this!"

We know that God loves us enough to create all the things we need to survive, but does God love us so much that He created some things just to make us smile?

Just seeing lightning bugs takes me back to those warm summer nights of my youth.  I'd be running around the back yard with my empty Mason jar, racing toward the flashing lights all around me.  I can still feel the joy and hear the laughter echoing through my memories.
Lightning bugs were as much a part of summer as fireworks, fresh tomatoes, and big ice-cold slabs of juicy watermelon.

God created so much diversity in this world, much more than is needed for mere survival. He made all of this for us, and He wants us to enjoy it.  We can get so busy surrounding ourselves with man-made goods that we don't notice the living tapestry God has laid out all around us.

I guess lightning bugs do have a purpose after all.  They are a reminder of a creative God who loves us so much that He'd even paint the rear end of a bug ... just to see us smile!

I grew up chasing lightning bugs, so this story really resonated with me!  Such fun memories.

Some say that too much of anything can be bad.  Too much exercise.  Too much food.  Too much relaxing.  Too much money.  Too right.  Too wrong.  Too agreeable.  Too assertive.  Too happy.  Too sad.  Surely, each of us has an opinion on this…”too much” of an opinion, quite possibly – ha!

However, I do feel that there just might be something that can never be too much and that is God’s love for us.  I love that He loves us…too much.  Don’t you?

Have a wonderful week, Sunshines!

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