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Today’s Truth

Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these’ Matthew 19:14

Matthew 19:14

Friend to Friend

I believe that much of our stress is the result of a constant and innate quest to be loved and to love. As a result, the problems come when we look in the wrong places for love.

For years, I desperately struggled to be a Christian with only head knowledge of who God was and wanted to be in my life. The result was a pitifully shallow existence with stress and frustration as my constant companions.

I grew up in a Christian home, attending church every time the doors were open. It was not until middle school that the spiritual integrity of a dynamic youth pastor made me hunger and thirst for something more. I wanted to know God and experience His unconditional love.

During a special Saturday evening church service, I sat in my usual spot, clutching the back of the pew in front of me while wrestling with God over the condition of my soul and my eternal security. After all, I was a very active church member, a soloist and pianist for our worship services, and even directed a children’s choir. How embarrassing to walk down that aisle, admitting to everyone that I’d been living a lie.

My mind argued that I knew all about God – and then the deeper truth of that argument hit me. Yes, I knew about Him, but I didn’t know Him. His perfect love settles for nothing less than an intimate and loving relationship with his children.

That night I met Jesus! I surrendered all that I knew about myself to all that I knew about Him. I quickly discovered that I still had to deal with life on a daily basis and still had to face stressful situations. The difference was that God’s love now preceded me, surrounded and sustained me as I lived each day. Knowing we are loved fosters contentment and peace in our hearts, and when our hearts are filled with peace, there is little room for stress.

When our grandson was a baby, his mom taught Justus sign language. One of his favorite words to sign was “more.” One night, I was rocking him to sleep, singing all of his favorite songs. When I finished singing and started to get up, Justus stretched out his little hands and signed “more.” Did I sit back down and sing some more? Do birds fly? Do fish swim?

With tears streaming down my face, I sang “Jesus Loves Me” until Justus was sound asleep. I sat in the rocker, just holding him, thinking about how very much I love this baby boy. In that quiet moment, the Holy Spirit whispered to my heart, “Mary, Jesus loves you, too.” As Justus and I rocked a few minutes longer, the stress of the day melted away and I revisited the moment I met Jesus and first experienced His unchanging love. That quiet celebration filled my heart and left no room for anything but the love of God.

Yes, Jesus loves me, and He loves you, too.

Let’s Pray

Father, I come to You, thanking You for the love You have given me through the life and death of Your Son, Jesus Christ. Please help me walk in that love every day with the faith of a child.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

Right now, wherever you are, let the words of this simple song lead you in a quiet celebration of God’s love for you. 

Jesus loves me, this I know.

For the Bible tells me so.

Little ones to Him belong.

They are weak, but He is strong.

Yes, Jesus loves me.

Yes, Jesus loves me.

Yes, Jesus loves me.

The Bible tells me so.

More from the Girlfriends

Join Mary and women across the world each Wednesday beginning September 5 for a free Facebook Live Bible Study, Sandpaper People. Learn how to deal with the difficult people in your life. Perfect for personal or small group study.

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4 Responses to “Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places”

  1. Bonnie says:

    I always look each day for anything written by Mary Southerland.She has a way of touching my soul and brings me hope.Thank you Mary for being who you are.

  2. Sandy says:

    I sing this almost every time I cuddle my 6 month old grandson, Wesley. He is so sweet & smiles so preciously when I sing it. This is so fulfilling for my heart, for my baby boy is in heaven !!

  3. julie says:

    ty for this I need a reminder of this every so often when the good ol devil tries to put lies in my head that aren’t true/puts me down/discourages me. thank the lord that I am saved by His grace through faith.

  4. Jenny says:

    Good morning Mary,
    All I can say is….Thankyou. God’s grace and timing in your message is perfect.
    I sit this morning and look out at the blossoms on our trees in my front yard and thank my beautiful father that He has always loved me and the song takes me back to my childhood and I remember – again to have faith like a child.
    Feeling gratitude and joy! Thankyou Mary!

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"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…" 1 Thessalonians 2:8