God's Love Showing Up for You
Article was written for and published in The MOPS Magazine, Winter 2022, www.mops.org
In Scripture, God’s love and presence show up through fire and clouds and in things like caves and boats. And lest we forget, the ultimate expression of God’s love comes in the form of a baby, Jesus!
So maybe, just maybe, God’s love can show up for us in a moment at the playground, while preparing food, while feeding the baby, driving with screaming children in the back seat or stroller walking with a friend.
God’s love is available to you. Right now. Today. But feeling and experiencing God’s love is a grace and a gift. In other words, there is nothing we can do to make it show up. Our job is simply to be on the lookout!
One of the unexpected places God’s love showed up for me when my kids were younger was during story time. Although I was usually exhausted and empty, every now and again there would be a moment of grace, a moment where God’s love would show up and catch me by surprise. In the fullness of this season, perhaps you are looking to encounter God in an everyday moment. If so, consider how God’s love might show up for you through the messages of the children’s books that follow or the ones you already have at home!
THE INCLUSIVITY OF GOD'S LOVE
“The Big Umbrella” by Amy June Bates and Juniper Bates; Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
A story about an umbrella that is broad and wide enough for all to be protected and gathered under.
.... absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us. Romans 8:39 (The Message)
THE EXPANSIVENESS OF GOD'S LOVE
“Guess How Much I Love You” by Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram; Candlewick Publishers
A story about a parent hare and baby hare who compare how wide and tall and long their love is for each other.
... take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Ephesians 3:18-19 (The Message)
THE TRUSTWORTHINESS OF GOD'S LOVE
“He’s Got the Whole World In His Hands” by Kadir Nelson; Dial Books
A beautiful interpretation of this African-American spiritual through the eyes of a child that reminds us how we are all held in God’s love.
For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. Psalm 100:5 (NIV)
THE NEARNESS OF GOD'S LOVE
“Near” by Sally Lloyd Jones; Zonderkidz
A story about a child who experiences God’s nearness and presence on the greatest adventures and in the quietest moments.
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. Psalm 139:7-10 (NIV)
THE CREATIVITY OF GOD'S LOVE
“Colorfull: Celebrating the Colors God Gave Us” by Dorena Williamson; B&H Kids
A story that affirms and celebrates the colorful things in God’s creation like ice cream, flowers, food, animals and our skin color.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:13-14 (NIV)
THE ASSURANCE OF GOD'S LOVE
“Don’t Forget to Remember” by Ellie Holcomb; Lifeway
A story about how the whole earth reminds us that we are never alone, we are dearly loved and we are not forgotten by God.
... I will not forget you! Isaiah 49:15 (NIV)
THE FREEDOM OF GOD'S LOVE
“Different: A Great Thing to Be!” by Heather Avis; Waterbrook
A story affirming our differences and different abilities, which remind us of the freedom and acceptance of God’s love.
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:17 (NIV)
THE GENEROSITY OF GOD'S LOVE
“Thank You, Omu!” by Oge Mora; Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
A story about a grandma who offers her stew to those who come to her door and how her sharing spirit impacts a whole community.
If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care—then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand. Philippians 2:1-4 (The Message)
• How has God’s love showed up to you recently?
• Is there a way you have shown God’s love towards another?
• Which aspect of God’s love above are you most needing today or want to learn about or share?
Child of God, may God’s love and presence show up for you in an unexpected and unconventional way today. Amen.