Most of you know that my grandma died last month. It's been a roller coaster ride of emotion for the past month and that surprised me. You see, my grandma had dementia. She didn't really recognize me when I visited. I had already done a lot of mourning for her by the time she died. The woman in that nursing home bed wasn't the grandma I remembered. I really thought when she died I would simply be a little sad but relieved that she was finally at peace, enjoying life with Jesus.
That turned out not to be the case. I was blindsided by the amount of grief involved in mourning her passing, and just the other day, I realized why that was. It was because she loved me -- unconditionally and without reservation. We never saw my grandma very often. We never lived in the same town or even the same state. Once or twice a year visits were all we got. But I knew she loved me. I knew every time she saw me her eyes would light up, she'd smile real big and call me "Sugar."
The older I get, the fewer people there are in this world who love me no matter what, who love me with their whole hearts just because I'm important to them. And when we lose one of those people, even if they haven't been able to recognize you for a year, it matters.
As parents or grandparents or even just close friends, our love matters to the children in our lives. If you have kids in your sphere of influence, whether they are your own or someone else's, your love matters. Your unconditional, without reservation love bolsters that child. It gives them confidence. It lets them know that there are people in this world who love them no matter what.
Kids who know that kind of love can more easily understand God's love because they have experienced the earthly version. John 13:34-35 says:"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Those kids who experience the love of God through you will then know how to lavish that love on others because it has been lavished upon them.
Don't ever underestimate the power of your love in the life of a child. Even if you don't see that child often, even if that child doesn't belong to you, don't be afraid to pour your love into a child. Your words of love and encouragement, your hug or pat on the head may be the only encouragement that child receives that day. Your love may be the only unconditional acceptance that child receives.
No matter the distance, no matter the frequency with which you see a child in your life, never forget that love matters and when it is given it is never wasted.