Made with Love

Such light, such joy flows out from this house. It affects all who come here. Do not feel that you have to try and help them. Just love them, welcome them, shower little courtesies and love-signs on them, and they must be helped.
-God Calling, by A.J. Russell

“I can’t tell you what this means to me.” Misty eyed, my octogenarian-friend Pat pulled one hand from her walker and lifted it over me in a gesture of thanks. “The Lord wasn’t one bit surprised by this virus. Oh, no. He’s got plans for it. And us.” 

“Well His plan for us today definitely involves pea soup, some chicken soup, and a bit of rosemary bread fresh out of the oven for you, my dear.” I hoped she saw me smile through my mask as I offered her my bag of homecooked goods as we stood in the vestibule of her quarantined senior center. 

“No sir-ree, our God was not surprised by this business and He reigns over us, even now. And you have no idea what this means to me. And to Him.” As Pat started backing through the door, signifying the end to this week’s visit, I assured her there was more to come. 

I love knowing I’m making someone’s day, and I also love to cook and experiment in the kitchen—so this is a win-win for me. The last thing I need to be surrounded by during a mandatory stay at home order—that has just been extended through May 26 in Wisconsin—is the result of my baking benders! Enter Catherine’s COVID Kitchen—problem solved. 

Cooking meals for yourself and others is a great way to extend your heart and home right now. Preparing, serving, and delivering warm, tasty meals are a great way to share God’s love with others. I prepared my traditional Easter meal—slow roasted leg of lamb—even though it was “just” for my brother and me. The requisite lamb and lentil stew I threw together with the leftovers was delivered with little happy notes to the porches of friends and a few dear seniors from church who are living in quarantine. I wish I could have bottled up the warmth flowing from Pat’s eyes as I stood in her vestibule, gloved and masked, with an unexpected basket of love—taking the form of homemade soups, breads, and mini cakes.

Sometimes love doesn’t have to be complicated. Love can be the extra few minutes you offer a stranger at a chance encounter as they pour out their frustrations of living in a fallen world. Love can be the simple gift of a genuine smile shared with a hurting soul. Love can be a daily text check-in with those in your life who live alone. Love can be an online game of Words with Friends expanded to include someone you don’t know very well. Love can be sharing a book with someone, reading at the same pace, and chatting about it online. Love can be a walk in the sunshine at a distance of six feet from your neighbors and their children, listing the things you will do together once the ban of being closer together is lifted.

How’s your home love life? This unpredicted time at home ringing round the world is the perfect opportunity to up our game in our hearts and homes. I like to think of my home as a place of love—as an extension of the love of the Father. I believe we all need a sense of home, of being grounded, of knowing that there is someone there preparing a place for us around their table. We can still embrace our concept of home, and of welcoming others into our home, during—and more importantly after—this challenging time of COVID. 

To jumpstart your home love life, ask God to show you people in your life and on the edges of your life in need of a word or an expression of love today. You don’t have to cook and deliver meals—handwritten notes, daily phone calls, or texts also communicate value to others. Simply walking around your neighborhood if you are able to get out is a nice way to share a glimpse of life and life-to-come with those around you. A lot of people live most of their lives in fear—and that fear is on steroids right now. Remind them that perfect love casts out fear—simply by living your love out loud.

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