By Emily Huff:
Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. Candy hearts, red roses and glittery cards fill the stores. However, the image I’d like to share today is not a typical Valentine’s picture. It’s a picture from my favorite children’s bible called The Jesus Storybook Bible:
This came alive to me in a new way through the eyes of my daughter when she was only five years old. On our very last day of an incredible trip to Kenya in 2008, we were on a mountain known as “Prayer Mountain” overlooking the surrounding villages. She was looking through the Jesus Storybook Bible that she had heard me read countless times when she zeroed in on this picture. She told me that she felt she was the little girl who was running toward God the Father in the picture. Not only was this a defining moment in her own faith, but it became a specific marker for the direction I want my focus to be: to turn toward God rather than to be overwhelmed with disappointment, shame or regret.
When I catch myself using a sharp tone of voice or reacting with judgment and anger, this picture has become embedded in my heart reminding me that I have another path I can choose. Rather than responding out of my own pain or failure, I am learning to pray and ask God to bend my heart to help me turn toward God and toward others. This picture captures the way I want to live, no matter what the circumstances are.
Bestselling Brene Brown argues that “love is beautiful when it’s professed, but it’s only meaningful when it’s practiced.” May I keep learning to run from my defensiveness and toward my Father!
So, this Valentine’s Day, our prayer can be for God to give us the grace to run to Him knowing that He is already running to us to fill us with His mercy. And with that love, let us love one another so that those to whom love is a stranger may find in us a generous friend.