Toddler Love

When an old dog needs to learn new tricks, sometimes it’s the puppies who lead the way. 

My Thursdays belong to my 18-month-old granddaughter Callie. She’s at that curious stage when even the smallest crumb left on the kitchen floor either becomes a tasty treat or a play toy. She often imitates barks from her dogs, tweets from visiting birds, and meows from Sophie the cat. She unconsciously sways to the beat of any music. She came equipped with an innate love for “reading” books aloud, which she shares with her floppy-eared stuffed bunny. 

Last Thursday, I had two questions rubbing against one another in my heart, so I felt a nudge to pay attention to the sweet little teacher God had given me for the day. On one hand, I wondered how willingly I adapt my usual expressions of love to meet the needs of others. On the other hand, I wondered if I ever dropped my walls enough to let others know how I receive love best. Whether we admit it or not, (whether we like it or not) we were all made to connect with each other.

Yes, Jesus’ sacrifice was enough to save us, God’s love continually sustains us, and the power of the Holy Spirit indwells us. Yet in the beginning, God said, “It’s not good for man to be alone”, so He gave Adam someone to serve, hold, affirm, spend time with, and share all the wonders of creation. It wasn’t that God couldn’t provide those things Himself. It wasn’t that He lacked anything. God simply wanted Adam and Eve to enjoy the same kind of fellowship He enjoyed with Jesus and the Holy Spirit. 

We were not made to live independent of one other. We were made for relationship and community. We were made to be a group of interdependent people who ultimately rely on God for everything. In learning how to humbly love one another, we submit to Him in the process of pruning us to become more like Jesus.  

Thursday, I learned many love lessons by watching my little Callie girl – one who still interacts honestly and innocently. Fortunately, she’s had no reason to build any walls yet, so these are the unguarded moments I noticed: 

  • When Callie’s hungry, she goes to the pantry and points to what she wants.
  • When she’s hurt, she crawls into my lap for some sympathy.
  • Even though she’s often content to play alone, she still wants someone nearby.
  • When she gets tired and cranky, she wants to be held.
  • She laughs when you chase her and giggles when she’s tickled.
  • She gets a thrill out of feeding me more Cheerios than I want.
  • Spontaneous hugs and kisses flow freely and randomly.
  • If you leave the room, she will come find you.

We were made for love. So, when did we get too old to enjoy the world around us? When did we stop letting people know what we want and need? When did our time become so short, our innocent hugs and kisses become so awkward, and our acts, words, and gifts of kindness cause us to feel indebted rather than loved? 

I want to accept love with a childlike heart. I know you do too. Yet, I need to throw out my pride causing me to act childishly by insisting on my own way. Maybe we could all benefit from having some honest communication with those closest to us. When we don’t know how someone receives love best, we can always ask. If they resist answering, we might pay closer attention to the form they seem to revel in. However, when we’re the ones not feeling the love, perhaps it’s because we cause others to struggle with knowing what makes our love tick.

Here lately, the Spirit won’t let me turn loose of these words from the apostle Paul until I learn them. So, allow me to share them with you, and see if they stick like a handprint on your heart.

“Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.” (Philippians 2:3-5, NLT)

I set out on a mission a couple of years ago to learn how to love others better. I discovered it’s not as hard to learn how to love as it is to find the vast amounts of time, humility, and intentionality it takes to put what I learned into practice. One thing I know for sure, those who love me well have helped God change me for the better for good. I’d like to return that favor.

In the meantime, I’m confident God will use my Thursdays to humble me and change my way of thinking so that this old dog can learn a few new tricks in love and humility. 

Jesus called a little one to his side and said to them, “Learn this well: Unless you dramatically change your way of thinking and become teachable, and learn about heaven’s kingdom realm with the wide-eyed wonder of a child, you will never be able to enter in. Whoever continually humbles himself to become like this gentle child is the greatest one in heaven’s kingdom realm.”
(Matthew 18:2-4, The Passion Translation) 

Posted in
IMG_1230

Leave a Comment





Is There Fire in Your Bones?

By Donna Jackson | April 13, 2021 |

When the Spirit wants to remind you of something, He often causes the oddest verses to jump off the pages of Scripture. I’ve learned the hard way to pay attention whenever the Spirit continually leads me back to the same passage. I know there’s something in those particular words that He either wants to remind…

Dealing With A Slow Someday

By Donna Jackson | April 6, 2021 |

John Fogerty’s song from the 70’s starts out, “First thing I remember was asking Papa, “Why?” For there were many things I didn’t know. And Daddy always smiled, took me by the hand, saying, “Someday, you’ll understand.” Fogerty’s longing for “Someday” continues throughout the song’s verses, but the chorus remains the same:  “Well, I’m here to…

Just for Fun Today

By Donna Jackson | March 30, 2021 |

Three years ago today my mother went to be with Jesus. However, I’m choosing to laugh a little rather than letting myself feel the sting of grief. Goodness knows, Mama and I could get tickled about the smallest things and let out a few snorts while humongous tears rolled down our faces. I’m so glad…

Who Would You Be If You Weren’t You?

By Donna Jackson | March 23, 2021 |

Years ago, our youth minister plastered the youth group’s meeting place with teen photo mashups. Headshots of each member of the group had been cut in horizontal strips so that the eyes, noses/ears, and mouths were separated into three distinct pieces. Then in random order, the pieces were put back together so that each new…

The Best Thing to Teach the Kids in Your Life

By Donna Jackson | March 16, 2021 |

Last Wednesday night, the leaders of our church’s children’s ministry allowed me to present my “Finding More” message. What a blessing these people have been in my life and the lives of our children.  In our “Finding More” blog series here on Perfection Road (https://perfectionroad.com/category/finding-more/), I never revealed the story you are about to hear. Some…

Letting Go of Sameness

By Donna Jackson | March 2, 2021 |

Cooking breakfast used to be so simple. Back when my man went to work at 6:00 in the morning, I could put a full plate on the table with my eyes closed. I would retrieve what I needed from the refrigerator, plop eggs into a skillet, toast the bread, and punch the coffee button. Since…

Significantly Insignificant

By Donna Jackson | February 23, 2021 |

The Samaritan woman didn’t know she was being set up by God. She woke up that morning next to a man she hoped would somehow make her feel significant. The last few years, all she felt was shame for failing at love so many times. That shame led her to the well to draw water in…

Toddler Love

By Donna Jackson | February 16, 2021 |

When an old dog needs to learn new tricks, sometimes it’s the puppies who lead the way.  My Thursdays belong to my 18-month-old granddaughter Callie. She’s at that curious stage when even the smallest crumb left on the kitchen floor either becomes a tasty treat or a play toy. She often imitates barks from her…

The Look of Love

By Donna Jackson | February 9, 2021 |

Valentine’s Day offers the opportunity for tokens of love to slip from even the shyest of hands into the hearts of another. Names on white sacks decorated with swirls of red and pink line classrooms. Hearts dangle from ceilings. It’s understood that best friends always get the best cards, while confirmed and wannabe sweeties often…

It’s a Process

By Donna Jackson | February 2, 2021 |

Today’s post appeared Sunday on Lean into Jesus Ministries’ website. It’s always an honor to write for them. If you are not familiar with this ministry, I hope you’ll take a few minutes to visit their website at www.leanintojesus.com. Since their annual conference, usually held this month, had to be postponed due to the pandemic,…