The Day I Saw Love as a Verb

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When my oldest son was two years old, our family moved cross-country. My husband drove the U-haul across eight states while my toddler and I took an airplane. I spent the last day or so before the trip preparing the diaper bag and carry-ons for a painless trip. Little did I know that no amount of preparation can brace you for a screaming child in a tightly enclosed space with hundreds of people.

During the last hour of the flight, he decided he’d had enough. No amount of snacks, toys, or binkies could console him.

I was absolutely mortified. I wanted to buy everyone on the airplane a drink, and I would have if we’d had the money to spare. It felt as though the angry stares of everyone on the plane were penetrating into the back of my neck.

When the ride finally ended, I was gathering all of our carry-ons and ready to sprint to the terminal. A man who was sitting behind me the entire time stopped, smiled, and said, “You’re doing a great job. It will get better.” I wanted to give him a bear hug and cry on his shoulder but I restrained myself. I simply said, “Thank you,” and he went on his way.

Each morning we wake up to a world brimming with the possibility to change someone’s day for the better.

Many times, we don’t take advantage of it.

We have a lot more power than we often think we do. We can change someone’s mood with a simple kind word, a gracious gesture, a note of encouragement or a smile. We can choose to see beyond what’s in the peripheral and open our eyes to what’s around us.

Sometimes, it’s difficult for me to tend to my own life, much less worry about those around me. I am consumed with a hundred tedious tasks, a demanding two-year-old, and a busy schedule. I convince myself that I don’t have time to worry about anyone else.

But then I’m reminded how simple it is. I receive a message from a friend congratulating me on a recent accomplishment. A note that probably took her five minutes to write but instantly improves my mood and adds a little spring to my step. I have the extra energy to tackle my next task.

Love is an active word. As Bob Goff puts it, “Love does.” Our words have the power of life and death and our actions the capability to leave others feeling cared for or miserable.

When I think back on that day in the plane, I realize that the man sitting behind me could have complained about the noisy ride or his mind-splitting headache after listening to my son scream. But instead he chose to extend kindness.

Each day, I pray God will reveal little ways that I may do the same.

Spurring each other on in love. Extending the very hands and feet of the One who gave his love to me.

 

“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:21

 

*Photo credit

 

*Linking up with Suzie Eller’s #LiveFreeThursday. Come join us and be inspired.

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23 thoughts on “The Day I Saw Love as a Verb

    • Hugs to you, Bev! Yes, I often don’t realize the power my words and actions have, but God has shown me time and time again how much they can change people. Thank you so much for stopping by this morning! Have a great week.

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  1. This makes me want to commit to a mere 5 minutes a day of “active love”β€”doing something intentionally to brighten someone else’s day. There are days I feel like I don’t have 5 minutes to spare, but in reality that’s not true. And it will certainly make my day brighter as well!

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    • Yes, that’s the great thing I’ve found about encouraging others is that it always encourages me as well. God is amazing that way. πŸ™‚ Loved reading about your son’s b-day today! How fun.

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  2. Abby, I know I haven’t read everything you’ve written, but this ranks as one of the best. The message certainly resonates with me. Being the recipient of a kind word can mean everything. I think of that old song which you probably haven’t heard called “Brighten the corner where you are.” I want to intentionally do that whenever I can. Love, Mom

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  3. Wow, Abby! What a great story! I’ve been there so many times. Travelling across the US, the Atlantic, and then Europe with two toddlers was “hell” as we say in Texas. πŸ™‚ I would just psyche myself out and say, “This whole thing will be over in 25 hours. This whole thing will be over in 25 hours.” I can imagine how you felt encouraged by that fellow passenger. Love your application. I’m praying today that God will show me someone to encourage.

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    • Oh, I can imagine you have same stories to tell, Betsy! Yes, that is a great way to look at it. To know that it will all be over soon. Thank you for words today. Blessed to have you, my friend!

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  4. Abby, I loved this. I have SO been in that Mommy Moment many, many times. It’s like embarrassment rushes through your blood until sweat starts dripping out all over you. But wow- what a gift that sweet man gave to you. I’ve been thinking lately about how much I rush, rush, rush…and stress when I’m off schedule, according to my own agenda. God’s been whispering to me A LOT about my entire purpose in life is to be a vessel of love and grace that points to His awesomeness. Yet if I’m too busy doing my own thing – I will miss the opportunities to BE just that. Thanks for slowing me down with your words!

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    • Yes, this is something God has been trying to instill in me a lot lately, Amy. Ann Voskamp’s book, 1000 Gifts, really prompted me to embrace those little moments instead of constantly rushing ahead. But, it’s a constant battle. πŸ™‚ I so appreciate you, friend! Thank you for your encouragement today.

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  5. This is a great post. We once took our 1-1/2 year old on what was supposed to be a 2-hour direct flight but (because of weather) ended up being 7 flights in 24 hours. When we finally arrived at our destination a day later, a kindly businessman on the plane told us we should get the Parents of the Year Award. So I know just how you feel: it’s such a blessing when you expect criticism and get kindness. May we all remember that at times when we see someone else struggling. Thanks for sharing.

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    • Oh my! I bet that was a trip to remember. πŸ˜‰ Yes, I’m trying to be more aware of those around me but it’s a daily decision, for sure. Thanks so much for stopping here today, Jeannie!

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  6. Uncharitable comments and thoughts and attitudes, they never lift the person they’re aimed at, and they don’t even make US feel good! Your reminder is so gracious and calls us to stop and really BE His love. You’re so right, we never know who might need a smile and a kind word. And one day, it’ll be us for sure πŸ™‚
    Shared over on g+ today, as a reminder to myself.
    Thanks Abby!

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    • Thank you so much for sharing, sweet Christine. Those types of gestures remind me how truly simple it is to reach out. I think we overcomplicate it sometimes. Have a great weekend, friend!

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