Who loves ya’ baby?

Your child. Your sweetie. Your little one. A parent’s love for their children is almost indescribable. We love with nurturing kindness. We encourage with heartfelt enthusiasm. We comfort with a gentle touch. Our kisses heal boo-boos. Our songs bring on sleep. Although we are gentle at times, we also protect with the ferocity and strength of a lion and provide with everything we have.

Isn’t it amazing how much you can know about your children? When they are babies we know their smell (clean and otherwise)! As toddlers, we truly understand their jibber-jabber, or at least we make a grand attempt at deciphering. “Did he say poo-poo or boo-tiful?” We recognize backwards E’s and wobbly writing as our youngster’s handwriting develops. We can spot our own child’s call in a crowded park. We take pride in their smeary finger painting and hang their artwork on the fridge. Their smooches melt our hearts. We understand the looks on their faces. Their love fills us with joy. We can’t imagine anyone loving our sweetie more than we do.

Wrap your mind around this: there is someone. Our Heavenly Father, the Ultimate Father, loves your child more than you do.

When I first tried to fathom and understand this, I was worrying about a visit my children were having away from home. A dear friend reminded me that God protects our sweeties more than we ever possibly could. “Do you think you can worry more than God can handle?” she asked me. Now I don’t know about you, but I can worry with the best of them. I worry about finances. I worry about food, (too much and too little). I worry about weight and hair. I worry about educating my children. I worry about their safety and their spirituality. Any of these sound familiar? But worry is fear. Worried fear is not from God. It isn’t. He wants us to trust Him, especially in situations where we are separated from our children. God loves them and promises their protection. In faith, trust Him. Pray to Him when it gets hard. He knows. He understands our hearts when we drop off our children somewhere. He dropped off His child too.

God loves your children and guess what? You are His child too. Just like you know and love your kids, He knows and loves you! “And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” (Matthew 10:30) He understands your wants and needs. He recognizes your work, just like the wobbly lettering. He hears your calls just like in the crowded park. He takes pride in your accomplishments and your love also fills Him with joy.

Isn’t it cool to think about what a fabulous parent God is? God comforts us with warm sunshine on our face. He heals with grace and the promise of a fresh day. His songs bring peaceful slumber. “He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul.” (Psalm 23:2-3) He protects us and provides for us. Who loves ya’ baby? Rejoice! God does! ❤

The Kindness Rocks Project

When I was a kid, I remember my mom setting up scavenger hunts for my brother and me. Little clues hidden in one spot that led us to another location for another clue, and so on. She’d send us all over the house searching for the next note. We’d run from the kitchen cupboards to the backyard swingset to the space under the bed. At the end there would be some little reward for finishing. It was a blast for us, although I’m sure it was a lot of work for her. I seem to recall these were reserved for rainy days or times where everyone was so bored and ‘needed something to do’. These scavenger hunts go down as one of my favorite memories.

Another favorite thing of mine is the trend of ‘Random Acts of Kindness’. I’m sure you’ve heard of small, sometimes anonymous, little gestures that are simply nice things to do for someone else. Sometimes it’s picking up the tab for someone at a restaurant; leaving a note of appreciation for your mail carrier; or maybe shoveling snow for a neighbor before they notice. Even though these seem like ‘little’ things, in actuality, they are ‘big’ things.

Recently I found a rock at our church. I was walking into the building and saw a painted rock with a note taped to it. Of course I snapped a photo then picked it up for a closer look. The note referenced a facebook page for Michigan rocks and a date. The instructions were to post a photo and re-hide the rock someplace else. How fun! Kind of like a scavenger hunt. That afternoon, I hid the rock at a local outdoor mall and I hope someone else finds it and has fun posting their own photo and hiding it again.

That got me thinking and browsing around for other rock-hiders. After all, decorating rocks, writing little messages on them and tucking them into hiding places could be fun! Google brought me to “TheKindnessRocksProject”. Wait a minute – kindness rocks? I was intrigued.

Come to find out, the project is simply about using rocks to provide encouraging words to folks in hopes that they find them when needed. I could do that. Easy peasy! I read on. The instructions were simple and being the crafty soul that I am, I set out to make some kindness rocks. I already had a can of spray paint and a bag of rocks, (anyone think of ‘It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown’ and poor Charlie Brown right now? Yep. Me too.)

I made a quick stop at my favorite craft store, Hobby Lobby, (twist my arm!), and picked up a couple oil-based paint pens. Then I jotted down a few inspiring phrases and quotes and got started. Knowing that I could perhaps give a little bit of encouragement to someone was a good feeling. I thought about what would be nice to read in a random situation, starting with simple ones like “Be kind” and “You are loved”. Then as I thought about where I would hide the rocks, different types of messages came to mind. At our local community college, I could tuck little rocks with supportive phrases: “You got this” and “Don’t stop believing”. Hmm… what if I was feeling bummed out, what would I like to hear? “Every little thing is gonna be alright” and “You are enough” came to mind. I was on a roll. Library, park, grocery store, hiking trails…where else could I go?

Looking for a fun little project? Have a few rocks lying around? Grab some paint or sharpie and a jar of modge podge and make a few kindness rocks of your own. For quick and very easy notes on how I made them, click here. Have fun hiding little rocks of encouragement around your neighborhood. Oh yeah, and if you happen to find one of the rocks I hid, I’d love to see a photo! Snap a pic and post to Instagram or facebook with the tag @prayerstew. Feel free to re-hide or keep it for yourself. Let the hunt begin!

Giving credit where it is due: Thank you to #TheKindnessRocksProject for your simple, inspiring story and the ‘OK’ to mention your site on my blog.