Tuesday, October 1, 2013

What Love Really Means

He cries in the corner where nobody sees.
He's the kid with the story no one would believe.
He prays every night, "Dear God won't you please, could you send someone here who will love me?"
Who will love me for me?
Not for what I have done or what I will become. 
Who will love me for me?
'Cause nobody has shown me what love
What love really means. 

"What Love Really Means"  -JJ Heller

Hit play and keep reading. 

I'm constantly listening to music.  I'm the person in the office that always has my Pandora playing and am constantly changing stations and artists.  I'm the person who gets hung up on one song and I literally hit replay every time it goes off.
Yesterday afternoon I was sitting in my office quietly working when this beautiful song by JJ Heller starts playing softly through my speakers.  I'm the person who gets spoken to through music and when I heard this song I just knew that it was going to be the inspiration for my next post.

What does love really mean?

Sadly, the first verse of this song is what we all face in children's ministry every day.  There are kids all over the world who have stories that many of us sadly wouldn't believe.  Their stories are so heartbreaking that there's no way they could possibly be true.

I want to tell you something.  Those stories, the one's that you think couldn't possibly be true.  Their true.  Don't be unaware of what's going on in the world around you.  Don't be blinded by the darkness of so many things in this world.  The enemy comes in looking for anything and anyone that he can devour.

There are kids all over the world who are asking these questions every day.  Who will love me for me?

What does love really mean in children's ministry?

Love means...

Giving a child an extra snack because you know they might not have eaten all morning.
Giving a hug to a child even though their clothes are dirty and you know that you'll smell like them the rest of the day.
Taking an extra breath and not yelling at a child for the 10th time.
Turning no child away.  No one.
Reaching out into the community to those who no one else is reaching for.
Looking down and asking that seven year old how their day was and caring about the answer.
Pushing a toddler on the swing set because just maybe no one has ever pushed them on the swings before.
Praying over the babies who you hold in your arms in the nursery.
Reading the same book for the fifth time.
Letting a child win whose never won before, because maybe they've never won anything.
Knowing the names of every child who comes in your doors.  We don't know what they get called elsewhere.
Taking those extra five minutes to pray with your pre-teens for courage and strength because of what they face everyday at school.
Providing a safe and nurturing environment full of hope and peace.
Praying for their sick pets, grandmas and grandpas, and imaginary friends.
Holding the hand of a scared 4 year old whose just been dropped off for your kids program.
Dressing up in silly costumes just to get a laugh or smile out of kids who never laugh or smile.
Looking down when you feel that tug on your shirt.
Cleaning up scraped knees and elbows.
Wiping away tears.
Having a smile on your face even though your feeling frustrated and stressed.
Singing 'Jesus Loves Me' for the 4th time to the crying 3 year old that's in your arms.

Love means all of this and so much more...

Love is unconditional.  It's not limited in any way.  It's steady.  It's true.  It's strong.

This is the kind of love that Jesus had for us.  The kind of love that left Him dying a horrific death for you and for me.  Jesus loves us despite everything we are.  He loves us despite all of our mistakes.  He loves us through our heartbreak, through our triumphs, and through our failures.  Jesus loves us for who we are.  He loves us because we are His creation.
The love that He has for us is absolutely unconditional.

It's my job to stand in the gap for the kids who walk in my door.
It's my job to be their anchor in life's storms and to point them to the ultimate anchor of Jesus.
It's my job to be their friend, their encourager, their biggest cheerleader, and their number one fan.
It's my job to love them like Jesus would.  Unconditionally.  Strong.  Absolute.

"We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure."  
Hebrews 6:19

This is what love really means.

Don't forget to enter the October giveaway below!
I'm giving away a copy of the Big Book of Bible Games & the Big Book of Bible Crafts.

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