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{Luke 10} Loving like Jesus, one life at a time…

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 He answered, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’;

and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

~ Luke 10:27

I sat in the church pew, trying my hardest to focus as the Sunday service began.  But while worship music filled the room, I couldn’t help but stare at the beautiful head of wavy reddish hair seated just a few seats down in the row in front of me.

Could it be her?

I leaned a bit to catch a glimpse of her profile – making my husband question my obvious distraction – and the content sparkle in her eye gave her away.  All these years later, her body had significantly aged.  Her hands, as if they could tell a story all of their own, were wrinkled and worn.  But her posture and resolve still seemed as determined as ever, and the way she worshipped moved me to tears.

I could hardly wait to make my way down to her, but how?  She had known me best when I was a little girl, in a little town in that little church, and at a time when my family was more than a little in need.  Would she even recognize me all these years later?

I whispered an audible “Thanks, God.” as the worship leader invited the congregation to take a moment to greet one another.  Jesus must have known I wouldn’t have been able to wait until the end of the service. Before he could even finish speaking, I was side-stepping my way up and over Bibles and shoes and purses and people, shuffling as fast as I could down to where she stood.  Laying my hand gently on her shoulder, I leaned up into her row and whispered her name.

“I’m not sure if you remember me…”, I began, then introduced myself by my maiden name, followed by whose daughter I was.  Without missing a beat, she stood straight up, wrapped her frail hands around mine, and leaned in closely.  Unlike her body, her voice was strong…

 

“I know who you are.  I have always loved you.” 

 

Oh, and love she did.

____________________

Thirty-three years prior, she had made a decision to love a single mom with four children, ages eight and under.  My parents had just divorced, and though they worked hard to provide for us, times were hard.  She and her husband faithfully attended that little church in that little town, where we too found refuge every week.

Her ways were subtle, but generous.

“The beans in the garden are ready for picking, if you’d like to come by for some this week.”

“I heard you’re needing a new washing machine.  Why don’t you go pick one out, and I’ll take care of the bill.”

There were meaningful moments of prayer and encouragement together, envelopes with money slipped into my mom’s Bible without a word, women’s retreats and church camps mysteriously paid for, and bags of groceries that found their way into the back seat of our car after church.

She didn’t judge.  She didn’t take sides.  She didn’t talk about choices or statistics or social classes or consequences.  She didn’t pass by the need, leaving it for another to meet.  She simply and humbly loved like Jesus.  She gave what she had, and expected nothing in return.

For years this went on, and there was a little girl who took all of this in and tucked it deep down into her heart.  Through the generosity of one, that little girl learned that Jesus was with her family.  That Jesus knew what they needed.  That Jesus was always on time.  And the girl knew that even if you’re poor in the world’s eyes, you can be rich in Jesus.  And the little girl’s love for Jesus grew.

I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.

~ Luke 10:21

That little girl was me.

It’s just.like.God. to remind me of His goodness by crossing my path with this precious saint in that service just a few weeks ago.  Little did my old friend know when she walked through those church doors that Sunday morning that a little girl, from a little church in a little town, would grow up and many, many years later, would kiss her cheek and whisper into her ear…

 

“Your love helped introduce me to the love of Jesus.”

 

One person.  One life of purpose.  One choice to love.  And today, Jesus continues to whisper to me…

 

“I know who you are.  I have always loved you.”

 

Back then, our family was unable to repay her generosity.  But because of Jesus, today, I can love others in return, one life at a time.

 

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” ~ Luke 10:37

At His feet,

 

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Comments

  1. God never ceases to amaze me! Hearing stories like this always encourages me to know that God is always in our mist. He sees all we’re going through and always provides. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Amber kemp says:

    Beautiful and encouraging!

  3. Beautiful! Made me cry! Thank you!!!

  4. Heartfelt and touching. Thank you for sharing your memories with us this morning. You reminded us to be grateful for those special people in our lives that point us to Jesus. I pray that we can pay it forward.

  5. Amen. The photo choice is perfect.

  6. This is precious. Thanks for sharing and for the encouragement of how important it is to love on people and to invest in others.

  7. Thank you for sharing! It is a wonderful story, encouraging and motivational. Thank you for this blessing

  8. Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful story. It brought tears to my eyes as I thought of how much Jesus loves us and how I’ve failed my heavenly Father in so many ways!

  9. gAil hein says:

    Thank you for telling that story. I want to reflect the love of Jesus like that. I just need to boldly do it. I love the to-do list. I’m goi g to start my to- do list like that every day.

  10. catherine says:

    I can relate to being a single mom and being blessed. Almost 3 years ago I had my left diseased kidney removed and spent a month in the hospital. When I came home I had someone give me a couch, buy school clothes for my kids, buy school supplies, register and pay for soccer for my oldest, bring me groceries and my church supplied meals for two weeks for us while I healed at home. Talk about the goodness of GOD it was overflowing.

  11. JaneJane says:

    I had to wait for my tears to dry up before I could write…yes, that that is how we love…yes everyday like you picture shows. Thanks for sharing this memory. Praise God your ending story makes her love for Jesus and you make a difference.

  12. Amen and amen!

  13. This was such a beautifully written and inspiring post! Thank you so much!

  14. That was absolutely beautiful and timely today. The past few days I have been struggling with generosity in a particular circumstance and this post was very convicting. Thank you for sharing.

  15. Katie T says:

    I’m crying! What an inspiration! Thank you Jesus for this testimony!

  16. I love, love, love this! Thanks 4 sharing!

  17. Jennifer says:

    Thank you so much, Whitney for sharing this beautiful story. My face is saturated with tears. It reminded me of the family who introduced me to Jesus at the age of 6. Because of this family, I have been seeking Him ever since. I’ve never shared my story with them, but plan to do so today. May God’s grace always be upon you <3

  18. Crying puddles over here. I loved this and what a great example on how to love others. Thank you for sharing

  19. Jaime Mcleod says:

    Thanks so much for this post! It reminded me of an old lady in a Church I used to go to that out of the blue used to help me and my family financially as well. I remember the first time she gave us some money, I couldn’t understand why she did it. I didn’t grow up in a Christian home and I never experienced someone showing love like that before. She said she felt the Lord telling her to do it and I also didn’t understand that because I wasn’t a Christian yet. But now that I am a Christian, I understand. I want to be like that and love like Jesus.

  20. Thank you Whitney, your story brought tears to my eyes. I can’t wait to meet this woman one day! :)

  21. Thank you Whitney, your story brought tears to my eyes. What an awesome example for us all!

  22. Thanks for sharing Whitney, that was such a heartwarming view of God’s love for us. So glad that there was someone willing to pour out into the lives of a mom and her children.

  23. Keysha Kyle says:

    This made me cry to at my desk at work while I was reading it!!! Of course no one noticed and no one cared but I was able to enjoy god touch in your story and thank you for sharing.

  24. Christina says:

    WOW! Your story had me bawling! What an amazing gift! It motivates me to step out of my own little world to find people that I can bless! Thank you for sharing!

  25. Amanda Cross says:

    Whitney, what a precious story. Reminds me a lot of my own story. I experienced seeing God provide in many of these ways too while I lived at home and He has since provided for my own family. Thank you for being so vulnerable to share a little of your background. I never would have thought your parents were divorced. What a testimony of how through the Lord we can be whole though our circumstances would set us up not to be.

  26. This is so, so, so great. It made me cry! I want to be like that woman, who is so like her Jesus! Thank you so much for sharing such a personal story.

  27. Ohhh sweet friend! I read your post this morning and was crying like a baby as I went to order breakfast for Dirk and me! Wasn’t expecting to have that reaction! Ha! So thankful for that sweet woman! Your story flooded my mind with memories of how YOUR family……your mom, helped My family…..my mom as she became a single parent, too. So thankful for this sweet woman’s service to your mom…….because my own mom benefited from it too! I love how Jesus puts just the right people into our lives right when we are needing it. Sometimes it’s when we are the most broken that we can Jesus the clearest! I love how God has worked through ALL of your brothers and sisters….especially my sweet Steph! What a blessing your family has been to me all these years! Thanks for sharing this story today! Sounds like I have a sweet little red-head I need to say a special prayer of thanks today! :)

  28. What a wonderful testimony of Jesus’ love for all. Thank you so much for sharing. As I read this post, I was reminded of many people who impacted my way as a child. These memories are cherished.

  29. Phyllis says:

    Oh…this was SO touching. I can barely swallow around the huge lump in my throat. Thank you for sharing this wonderful, love-filled story and causing me to pause and remember all the sweet spirits that touched my life as a child.

  30. Diana L says:

    Brought tears of joy to my eyes…I am sure you touched her heart, and she thanked Jesus too.

  31. I reread this post several times today: your story filled my heart and brought tears to my eyes. lovely!

  32. Kate Wilson says:

    This brought tears to my eyes! What a wonderful story of love and charity! Praise God for putting people like that red-headed gal in our lives!

  33. That is such a beautiful story! Thank you for sharing it. What a wonderful example of Christlike love and charity this woman was and is to you and your family.

  34. BernieTuffs says:

    that’s a beautiful post. Thank you xoxo

  35. Oh my goodness. This gave me chills as I read it this morning…this was my life exactly. I’ve never really shared the story publicly. Thank you for sharing that. That is exactly how I was introduced to the love of Jesus.
    Thanks. Such a blessing.

  36. Christina A. says:

    This brought tears to my eyes. Just beautiful and Wonderful! Thanks so much for sharing.

  37. Miranda says:

    Thanks so much for sharing, my eyes are wet! I also can relate to that childhood! HE is so good.

  38. Deborah Starr says:

    So So Beautiful!!! Thank You for sharing & encouraging us that when giving & blessing others nothing is too little. Sometimes we allow the enemy to lie to us that our giving is not enough to really matter. God knows when he whispers to us to do something that it is needed!!!

  39. Jeannette says:

    I’m a little behind on my studies, but I just had to tell you this really touched me. Thank you so much for sharing Jesus with me.

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