"Mmm hmm!" she says, nodding enthusiastically.
I scoop her up and she lays on my shoulder, relaxing completely. I tell her all the things she is to me and all the things I love about her and, usually, she agrees with each statement.
"I love your heart."
"I love your smile."
"I love your hugs."
We go on like this for awhile and then she lays down peacefully. But last night, something changed. I said a few things then she shot up and looked at me. "Mama!" She said, pointing at me. She laid back down and started rubbing my back. "Mama, nice. mmm hmm! Mama, love. mmm hmm! Mama, fun!" she said as she fell into giggles. I soaked in the moment, so incredibly grateful for the love that she was giving back to me.
As a mom, I give so much of myself. More than I even knew that I had to give. In those sweet moments when I get to receive, it fills me up completely. It shows me that they are secure in my love for them and, because of that, will be able to share their love with the world. Christ said, "This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.” (John 13:35 MSG) If other people will understand God's love because of the way my children love others, I will have fulfilled my purpose.
How do your children show love to the world? As we enter into the Thanksgiving season, look for the ways they are already giving love back to you, their friends and the community. You might be surprised how much you have already taught them about how to love.