Who can understand the human heart? Just about the time you think your heart is full of all the love one life can hold, along comes a little blue-eyed blond boy with freckles sprinkled across his nose. And one of the most phenomenal things happens. Your heart stretches and you love more than you had ever imagined.
I use to hear grandparents say that having grandchildren was one of the most rewarding experiences of a lifetime. Yet nothing prepared me for the feelings I would experience when that little voice would say, "Dee Dee, I love you."
Early in my relationship with my grandson Ian, I sought to establish that special thing that would be "ours." Somehow our little game came about quite by accident. As one does with most infants, we went through the pattern of waving bye-bye and blowing kisses. Then came the day those magic words were spoken and my heart started a new adventure of growth. Ian said, "I love you."
Although I must admit that Ian most likely didn't understand the feeling behind his words, it didn't matter to Dee Dee. The warm, prideful feelings that followed were well worth every moment I had experienced as a mother of three. Long forgotten were the sleepless nights, the diaper routine, and the hours of carpools.
Many times the human lessons of love are but pictures of the love relationship we are to experience with our Lord Jesus Christ. When I was young in my faith, I voiced the words, "Lord, I love you." But as the days and years have passed, the experiences of life have given new meaning to those words. As an adult I more fully understand what love means and what a price that love cost my Savior when he gave his life for me.
The declaration of love between the little "Ninja Turtle Ian" (as of this past Christmas season) and his Dee Dee has grown. This love is now expanded and has become "our thing." Not to be outdone in our ability to express our feelings admist giggles and smiles, we began to add on one important little word: MORE!
Ian says, "I love you Dee Dee," and I respond, "I love you more." What follows is a string of declarations with each attempting to out due each other. And even recently Ian (who has become adept in math) has begun to say, "I love you 1,000 times more!!"
Every time those precious words are spoken, my heart grows. Sometimes I feel that it is going to burst right open! And yet, I know that we have yet to even reach the depths of love that are possible. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about little Ian or ways I can express to him how much I love him.
Loving Ian has helped me to love Jesus more. My freedom to express my love has led me to feel more alive and to appreciate more of everything in my life. If ever I feel down or discouraged, I think of all I am grateful for. I seek to constantly be reminded of what God has done in my life and what things are possible in the future. I tell the Lord I love him more often and he responds as always that he loves me more. Only now I am becoming to more fully understand what "more" means.
This past holiday season, Ian and I started a new game. Because he's a normal five-year-old boy, he always wipes kisses off after I kiss him. So now we have a contest to see who can wipe the kisses off the fastest. (Don't tell Ian, but I only pretend to wipe his kisses off!)
Loving Ian is one of the most wonderful blessings God has brought to my life. I look forward with hope and excitement that as I love Ian more, the Lord will continue to expand my heart. May we all learn to love freely and extravagantly even as God has loved us.
P.S. Ian, "I love you 10,000 times more!"