“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort.” 2 Corintnthians 1:3
February is the unofficial month of love for our nation. When we turn on the TV, when we walk in the grocery store, when we take a drive we are immediately confronted with the reminder of romance and love.
Everywhere we turn we encounter heart shaped candies, boxed chocolates, and pre-made character themed Valentine notes.
Surrounded by so much consumerism many have disdained the holiday of Valentines and dread this time of the year.
But what if instead of focusing on caloric treats and cute yet surface confessions of affection we spent this month truly celebrating the beauty and many facets of giving and receiving love?
That is exactly what we’re committing to do this month at JLO.
Do you know there are at least ten different ways you can show love to another?
Dr. David Ferguson, founder of The Great Commandment Network (www.greatcommandment.net) has found there are 10 relational needs that every human being has, namely:
We not only have physical needs, but relational ones as well.
When we allow this truth to set in we realize we can show love to others in a deep, meaningful way by meeting their innermost needs.
Realizing that we and all of humanity have a true need for relationship and the emotional blessings that come with it, helps tenderize our hearts to this season of love (however commercialized some may believe it to be).
Rather than only see February as a time for couples to flaunt their romance or singles to be acutely aware of their relationship status, let’s commit to making this a time of first allowing God to fill our relational needs and then pour out that love to others.
The good news is God’s love is unconditional and unending for us.
God is more than capable of meeting our relational needs. When God says He loves us, He means it. It isn’t an abstract fluffy word, He means that:
1. He wants to comfort you when you mourn
2. He has tender affections towards you
3. He pays attention to you and your life
4. He approves of you and chooses you specifically
5. He respects and honors you
6. He is there to support you
7. He is a secure foundation you can depend on
8. He accepts you
9. He is there to encourage you
10. He appreciates you!
The most beautiful part of all is these categories of God’s love doesn’t alter with our behavior. Whether we are “dead in our trespasses” or “alive in Christ” His love is constant and sure (Ephesians 2:4-5).
When we allow ourselves to meditate on the reality and practicality of God’s love for us we find ourselves suddenly overflowing with love for others.
I know as a mom of one beautiful rambunctious one year old boy, I’ve come to the humbling realization I can’t truly love my child in my own strength.
As innate as a mothers love may seem, my own love is frail and fickle. One moment my heart is melting at his adorable antics and I’ll even be tempted to wake him up early just to see him laugh again…and the next I’m ready to go on a two-week Caribbean vacation and bring him to my nearest relative.
It is only when I take the time to intentionally receive God’s love, I find myself able to love my son more wholly and consistently.
Although all ten relational needs are immeasurably important, comfort is arguably one of the most important relational needs for a child.
Comfort is defined as “the easing or alleviation of a person’s feelings of grief or distress” and “a state of physical ease and freedom from pain or constraint”.
Comfort comes into play when there is pain, distress, and grief.
I don’t know why but when Elijah is in any kind of pain, distress, or grief he usually wants his “mama”.
He loves playing with daddy, watching videos and dancing together. But when he is hurting something inside him yearns to be soothed by me.
As women, I believe there is a undeniable gift to nurture and relieve emotional and even physical pain, even if we haven’t fully tapped into it.
If Elijah stubs his toe or bumps his head his dad may pick him up and offer words of comfort or playfully tell him he’s alright. But his cries only begin to subside when he is held by his mother.
As mothers, aunts, grandmothers, cousins, sisters we have a unique ability to meet the need of comfort in the lives of the children all around us.
But maybe you have never seen yourself as a comforter or “good with kids”. You may be wondering how do I comfort my children when they are in physical or emotional pain.
Be encouraged by this guide to meeting the need of comfort in our children’s lives:
Fact: GOD wants to use you in the ministry of comforting your children
Feelings: I feel inadequate or unable to enter into my child’s heart and life in a way that truly brings comfort. How do I do it?
Fall Out: I’ve failed in bringing comfort before, sometimes I feel like I have failed as a mother
Forgiveness: As you are equipped with the resources needed to bring comfort, you will find yourself overcoming in this area and emotional connections being restored.
Forward Thinking: I can do this, GOD will help me and give me the wisdom I am asking for- He made me a mom for a reason, because He believes in me!
Be confident in this: as you open up to receive God’s love and comfort for you, you will see yourself blossoming into a gentle, nurturing affectionate woman who alleviates the emotional pain of children and other loved ones around her!
It doesn’t begin with our love, but receiving His for us. Let’s go into this month with open arms to our Heavenly Father, The God of all Comfort.
Have you been encouraged to receive and give comfort to your children or loved ones today? Feel free to share your experiences or testimonies below we love hearing from you!