More than a Biscuits and Gravy Kind of Love

I love you more than biscuits and gravy.

That’s what the sign hanging above my kitchen sink reads. I didn’t buy the sign because I love biscuits and gravy – though I do. I bought it because it reminded me of a little thing we used to do with our youngest son.

As we put him to bed each night, we’d say “I love you” and he’d respond, “I love you more.” We’d playfully go back and forth until he’d finally say, “I love you more than Legos,” or “I love you more than the park,” or “I love you more than. . .” — whatever favorite thing popped into his mind.

Sometimes I would stump him by saying “I love you more than coffee.” He’d wrinkle up his tiny three-year-old nose in disgust. But as he grew older and began to realize how much his momma loved coffee, he would smile when I’d say this, knowing it meant he was greatly loved.

Oh, how the years pass quickly! My little guy began to play this game less and less. I knew it wouldn’t be long until this sweet exchange came to an end. So when I found this sign, I simply had to buy it.

Now when I walk through my kitchen or stand at the sink doing dishes, my eyes fall upon this small sign and my heart is reminded of the love existing between these walls. A love that stirs me to keep loving, doing and living my very best for those who call this house their home and for others who feel at home in this house.  To hold tight to all that is here, within these walls; to all that I hold dear. And that’s a good thing.

But I can also get myself into trouble with this love. You see, this love for my people is so full and deep that I sometimes neglect to invite others into the spaces of my heart. And even worse, I allow this same beautiful love to push my love for my Savior into the smaller, leftover crevices when He should be occupying the largest space.

When my red-knuckled grip clings too tightly to what is mine, I sometimes fail to see the bigger picture. I forget there is more to life than the here and now. My view of eternity becomes skewed. I simply want to safeguard my family – and my heart. So I pray away trouble at all cost, failing to consider God has a plan. Even in the midst of calamity.

In those moments, I find myself more in fear of the what-ifs than in awe of God’s far-reaching good plans. All that matters is that my people remain safe and my heart remains intact. But when I step back and finally refocus, my selfishness comes into view. How can I have a heart for others when it’s my own heart I’m bent on protecting? How can I surrender to God’s will when I’m holding so tightly to my own?

My heart is pricked.

What if our suffering leads others to Christ? What if the demonstration of our faith helps to grow another’s?  What if our temporary pain in this life leads to others uniting with God in eternal life?

I know, sweet friend, these are heavy thoughts. I’ve wrestled them time and again. Some days surrender comes more easily, but most days it remains a struggle. I suppose if it were easy, it wouldn’t require surrender.

But with a hopeful heart, I lift my arms toward heaven. I open my hands and release the tight-fisted hold I’ve held over my family and others I love. I give them back to their Creator. I surrender my will, my dreams, my plans, my very heart.

And I trust the One who holds my family in His hands, knowing He loves us more than life itself and certainly more than biscuits and gravy.

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