I woke up with a headache today. So did Zack. I could see it in his eyes. Other clues that he didn’t feel well? He slept until 8:45 and he’s usually up by 6 a.m., and he didn’t want to eat.

It was 25 degrees outside and big flakes of snow were falling, so I cancelled an appointment an hour away and we stayed inside with the heat up. I even fell asleep for awhile on the couch.

It’s the first day of Zack’s two-week holiday break from school. Jay had to work. What a great big long boring day it has been. But sometimes that’s just what a body needs.

The only time I ventured out was to put some Christmas cards in the mailbox and give cookies and cards to our neighbors.

It was while I was waiting for my neighbor Mandeep to come to her fence so I could hand her cookies and a card that it happened: a moment of tender mercy—a reminder that God sees me and loves me. Something personal that only He could pull off.

God knows I love heart-shaped rocks ridiculously. I look for them whenever I go to the beach. I envy my friend who used to have a place on Whidbey Island and has huge ones (although I don’t want to admit that, so don’t tell her, even though she kind of knows and has given me a few).

What is it? you ask. What happened? And what do heart-shaped rocks have to do with giving Christmas cookies to neighbors on a below-freezing day?

Here’s what happened: I looked down and right there in front of me, as if placed by someone especially interested in telling me that I am loved, was a beautiful, reddish rock in the shape of a heart.

heart-shaped-rockI might have never seen it. I might have chosen not to give that neighbor cookies and a card. They don’t even celebrate Christmas. It was sort of a risk, just like it is whenever we reach out. Or, I might have gone to another part of the fence.

But I happened to go to that particular place and look down in that particular direction and see that particular rock.

At moments like this, you don’t question. You just accept the reminder that even during great big long boring days with a headache and a sick child, you are seen, you are known, you are loved.

PS: This rock didn’t come out of nowhere. I have no illusions that God dropped it from the sky. Though my yard has never produced a red, heart-shaped rock for me to discover before, it must have somehow been there. I just never saw it before.

Isn’t that like our Creator’s love for us? His love has always been there and always will be there for us. But often, we look right past it, searching for the acceptance and love we NEED to survive (not to mention thrive) in other places. Maybe we even look at our life and think there is no way a loving God would do this to me.

I challenge you to take a look around today and soak in all the ways God loves you. He is giving you life today, without you even realizing it. And maybe, even in the midst of whatever is the hardest thing in your life right now, there is a reminder that He sees you, He knows you, He loves you.

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