Give room to love 8

IMG_2271A word in the deluge

Went for a long walk in the rain on Sunday. This was not one of those sweet little spring mists that land dewy-like on budding trees and flowers, leaving as quietly as it arrives. No, this was one of those pounding storms where delicate blossoms shake in fright. On walks like this, you know that the outrageously oversized golf umbrella you’ve borrowed from your husband is not going to prevent your pants from being soaked through by the time you return. If you return.

It was kind of peaceful, though, as the staccato assault of raindrops overhead played lively counter-rhythms to the march of my splash-cymbal steps. For that one hour, I felt safely sheltered under the soft red glow of my canopy, just my Shepherd and me.

I’d been needing a conversation with Him. This transition from writing a book to promoting it had already taken more of an emotional toll than I’d expected. As we walked, I asked Him, “Lord, is there something I need to hear from You right now?” He was silent for awhile, but then He spoke. Not audibly, but unmistakably. One word.


I wasn’t expecting this word. I thought He might give me some advice about prioritizing or compartmentalizing. Maybe an admonition to trust.

Then He went on: It’s all about love, all that you do. Nothing matters more. In this next season, you need to make space to love others. Space in your heart. Space in your days.

IMG_3997A word on a bench

Two days later, Greg and I set out on a drive through some of God’s most spectacular creation. Before we set out, Greg asked how he could pray for me. I answered, “Just pray that I would remember to make space to love others as I enter this new season.”

About an hour into our drive, we noticed a roadside area for viewing mountain goats. Though we’d driven this road many times through the years, we’d never seen the turnoff. This day, we were not in a hurry, so we pulled to the side of the road and walked the few yards to the viewing station. We spent a few minutes looking intently for these elusive animals, but to no avail.

Finally, we turned around to walk back to the car. It was then that we saw the bench, with this sign:

IMG_3999 - Version 2

I do not know what was in the heart of this 48-year-old dying woman that led her to speak these beautiful words. But I do know why our Shepherd stopped us here, on this day, to notice them: He was answering the prayer I’d asked Greg to pray, that prayer about remembering to make space to love.

A word driven home

As if a word in the rain, or a sign on a bench, weren’t enough, God simultaneously gave me opportunities to practice this love He was calling me to remember: carving out time to meet with the three young women who approached me Sunday about hanging out with them for encouragement; responding kindly to the beleaguered and irritable hotel desk clerk; paying special attention to the shy middle-aged man behind the counter at the movie theater; being fully present to my one-year-old grandson in the middle of my busy day; coming alongside my dad as we took my mom to the doctor; helping the frazzled doctor when my mom’s appointment turned out to be a little more involved than any of us had counted on.

I hope I remember this word, love. I could lose sight of it this next hour as I email the Worship Leader Magazine people about promotional opportunities. It could slip my mind as I practice music for tonight’s worship team rehearsal. I could forget to love with the next phone call, or text, or random encounter with a neighbor on the street.

But somehow I have a feeling my Shepherd will keep reminding me.

He’s persistent that way.

How about you?

Friends, has your Shepherd reminded you recently about the importance of loving others? What an encouragement to me and to other readers it would be if you would “comment” below and tell us about it!

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8 thoughts on “Give room to love

  • Brittney Heller

    Jeanelle, this is beautiful. It’s such a reminder to me with my little ones. I want to be intentionally showing them love through all we do, even when we need to discipline. I also really loved how God so deliberately spoke to you. It’s a reminder to me when I speak to Him that I need to be listening and watching for His response! Thank you for this today friend! :)

    • Jeanelle Reider Post author

      Brittney, your comment blessed me so much. I see you living life exactly this way–loving those precious little ones; taking time to sit at Jesus’ feet, listening for His response in the moment and throughout the day. I’m glad it encouraged you, my friend.

  • Judy

    “…staccato assault of raindrops overhead played lively counter-rhythms to the march of my splash-cymbal steps. …safely sheltered under the soft red glow of my canopy, just my Shepherd and me.” Your way with words, thoughts, emotions, descriptions never ceases to touch me. As I read your opening paragraphs, I was right there under that umbrella with you, wet pants and all, feeling quite cozy with God. Your gift is a blessing to me, as is (and will be) your book to many. HIS truth and LOVE resound throughout your words, a reflection of your heart.

    Thank you for the beautiful word-picture of experiencing ‘shelter’ with our Lord. What a sweet time with HIm. I am vividly reminded that it is our alone times with HIS love that allow us to make space to love others well, for love truly does surround us.

    • Jeanelle Reider Post author

      Judy, that is so profoundly true: “Our alone times with His love allow us to make space to love others well…” Thank YOU for being one who loves others well, including me! Your sweet encouragement about my writing buoys my courage just now. Thank you, my dear friend!

  • Cleo A. Lampos

    What a beautiful blog. I really needed those words as I, too, amy promoting books. Your use of language is so fresh and original. It hit some chords in my heart. Thanks for the encouragement to love. Just love.

    • Jeanelle Reider Post author

      Cleo, I will be praying for you in this season we share—to remember to love, and also to believe that God will bless others through what He’s given you to write! I have been eager to begin reading your book! It’s been waiting patiently on the bedroom nightstand for me… I know I will love it. Thank you for your kind words, which truly encouraged my heart just now.

  • Theresa

    Finding joy and contentment where I currently am and in what I am doing. This means when my husband asks if I can make popcorn as I am settling down to start reading that new book. Listening to my son when I am in the middle of making an already late dinner. Fining joy and contentment when I am doing the mundane necessary tasks of life, like cleaning the toilet and picking up groceries. Finding Joy and contentment when my plans are changed and my day isn’t going as planned. Just taking a deep breath, relaxing my facial muscles into a little smile, and knowing God has me just where I need to be for this time and place and that I can serve and glorify Him and help others even if I am not completing the fourth item off my to-do list.

    • Jeanelle Reider Post author

      Theresa, that’s exactly what I’m talking about. Your examples are just the sort of situations where I could forget to love (and take joy, and be content). Your family is blessed to have a wife and mom who loves them so intentionally, in the most ordinary acts of servanthood. Thank you for sharing and inspiring me to do the same. Colossians 3:17!